Mixed-race children face unique challenges, but raising biracial children who are happy and healthy is possible if parents teach them to embrace all facets of their racial makeup, settle in diverse communities and choose schools that celebrate multiculturalism, among other measures.
Reject Myths About Mixed-Race Kids
Celebrate Your Child’s Multiethnic Heritage
Choose a School That Celebrates Cultural Diversity
Enrolling your child in Seattle Public Schools means choosing their race and ethnicity from a confounding list of checkboxes.
“This is the first time I’ve seen a form that’s so specific and yet not specific enough,” she criticized, “My reaction at first was amused — as in, ‘Oh, Seattle!’ — and then kind of offended.”
“If we’re going to list separate countries, why not also list Bangladesh and Sri Lanka?” She also questioned “African American/Black” being designated as a single category given that our region represents large communities of Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis.
Then look how choices are grouped. “African-American/Black” (as Gupte observes) but also “White” are weirdly devoid of subcategories.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and yet there are common qualities that consistently make it to magazine covers, Hollywood screens, and win beauty pageants.
There are famous experiments of asking children which doll is ugly and which is beautiful – even though both dolls are equal in everything but color.
I have also witnessed, first hand, adults, teens and children passing judgement on beauty based solely on color or race. I know this because when I ask them to explain what is ugly about the person, they are at a loss for words.
A word which helps to avoid bias, infatuation and fetish.
Here are human features that most people go crazy for.
Width: Not under-nourished / not over-nourished
Stature: Not too tall and lanky / not too short. Some women wear flats to add cuteness, others wear high heels to add sexy. Women usually prefer taller mates, they say for protection, but may also be for the vanity of how they appear together.
Shape: Some like narrow (slender) people. Others like wider (stocky) people. Medium (athletic) build seems to have the most universal appeal.
Narrow face people like round face people.
Round face people like narrow face people.
Heart shape face has universal appeal.
Nose: people like a cute nose. People get very picky about a nose. They often like it triangular but with rounded edges. Not too pointy (devil like), not too long (witch like), not too narrow, not too wide, not turned down (hooked), not turned up (piggy).
Lips: People go crazy for full lips. Women get injections to make their lips fuller. Full lips are called kissable lips. Light skin women with full lips are complemented on their full lips. Black people are often not complemented on their full lips (double standards and racism at work), instead racist caricatures have been drawn of their lips to exaggerate their fullness (double standards and racism).
Many people adore curly hair. People who have it often call it ‘unmanageable’ – see Tall & Curly.
Many people love thick straight hair. However, people who have it often call it boring, or even ‘straw like’ and force it to get curly with curling irons or perms. Falling down hair grows out of the scalp and immediately falls toward earth. The falling down hair likes to be tossed and it likes to fly in the wind.
Many people admire tall hair. African hair can grow the tallest. Tall African hair was popular in the 60’s and 70’s in the U.S. during the Black is Beautiful and Black Power movements. See Angela Davis. Some people who have tall hair often want to have straight hair that falls down and they often straighten it with products to make it fall down; sometimes they use weave synthetic hair or natural hair (often Asian hair) into their hair so that the hair falls down.
Dark skin people seem to prefer golden brown or light skin on others. In some Black skin countries, albino flesh is eaten. To prevent this, albinos are segregated into their own schools. One theory says that albinos migrated from Africa because they were shunned for their skin that would burn, blister and catch cancer.
Golden Brown skin people often prefer lighter, or darker skin on others. Golden people often avoid the sun in order to avoid skin blemishes, age spots and sometimes, to not become darker.
Light skin people are often ok with having light skin until it burns, freckles, or gets cancer. Light skin people have a preference for people with golden brown to dark skin – though they will often not admit it due to the potential for xenophobic or racist opinions. Many women prefer to have light skin because they conflate it with feminine.
Two tone eyes – rare and captivating. National Geographic loves peoplewithtwo tone eyes
Blue – 8% of world’s population. Loved by brown eyed people, but often looked on with suspicion due to both Malcom X’s talk of blue-eyed devils, and Hitler’s propaganda about a blue-eyed,blond haired Aryan master race.
A couple months ago I got cornered big time by a stranger and their “What are you?” mind-meld. The unsolicited probing went on for a while. Honestly something I’m used to. But this time was crazy multidimensional and unique in a way I don’t know I’ve ever experienced. It involved not only me, but my child, and then HER mixed children by comparison. This stranger just couldn’t resist wanting to know my and my son’s specific mixes, explained her husband was “American,” then wondered out loud if her son would one day look like my son and if her daughter would one day look like me. I was declared white-looking while my son was judged Asian-looking. A picture of her own children was then shown proudly with seeming expectation for praise (which I uncomfortably indulged). There was also some lecturing/instruction on how I should feel about my particular Asian heritage (which she shares) and why I should be able to afford visiting my paternal homeland (which I actually can’t). Finally, because she felt this exchange had laid the groundwork for connectivity, she asked to exchange info and wanted to set up a play date.
“To white Americans, I’m black. To black Americans, I’m African. To Africans, I’m Nigerian and to Nigerians, I’m Urhobo—my father’s ethnic group located in the Delta region of the country—although my parents are from two different ethnic groups. My mother is Yoruba…
I get antsy when asked, “Where are you from?” and usually just blurt out “Nigeria” because it accounts for my name’s origins, which is often what the curiosity on the part of the person asking is about. But when people ask if I was born there and I explain that I wasn’t, it usually leads to follow-up questions…
…some people assume that I’ve always been here and want to know where in the States I’m from. I don’t really know how to answer that. Is it where I went to college? Or is it where I now live…
Having traveled, lived and claimed citizenship in so many different places, I don’t feel entirely comfortable picking a simplified cultural identity. For now I’m working on ways to tailor my answers to suit the questions I’m asked, while keeping them easy to understand and still true to who I am.”