A father ponders the race and identity of his unborn child. Check it out.

8 thoughts to “Heartbreaking Read

  • Blanc2

    Interesting read. I thought my eyes were wide open to this issue when my son was born in 1995 — “the world is going to look at him as a black boy”. However, actual boots-on-the-ground experience hasn’t borne that out, at least not as I had expected. Perhaps it’s the region where we live. There are a lot of biracial children here in my kids’ generation.

  • Gini

    I commented to the author because I found his article interesting. Also, interesting to me, was your response that it was a heart breaking article as I didn’t take it that way as it felt parallel to me and my experience. But maybe it…is…

    I am the mother of a 4 yo biracial child. My husband is AA and I am caucasian. I think like life even in the biracial family world there are lots of relatable similarities and also differences. I always from the beginning thought that people would refer to my dd as biracial or mixed – perhaps naively.

    My husband warned me from the beginning she’d be seen as black her whole life which actually hurt to hear. I thought whoa…she’s half of me and yet to the world that part doesn’t matter? I’ve mostly let that go but from time-to-time it bothers me.

    In the world of mixed race I think it depends on actually how your child looks in all honesty as to how the ‘public’ will perceive them. I think both the author’s friend Tricia and my husband overstated how people would perceive our kids across the board.

    My daughter looks ‘mixed’. Most assume that she’s what she is…a mix of black and white. However, others see her and think she’s Puerto Rican. She sees herself as a mix of brown (she doesn’t get the concept of being called black— when she’s ‘brown’ 🙂 like her Dad and ‘creme’ like me. I tell her she’s the best of both of us. I think building self esteem and surrounding your child with lots of different people of different races and ethnicities is important and fortunately I’ve always had friends from a variety of ethnicities and religions.

    My dd’s pre-school is full of different ethnicities and a number of mixed race kids of different races (i.e. hispanic/black, hispanic/white, asian/white, etc.) which to be honest I think makes it easier for fewer questions on race and color to come up because she’s surrounded by different colors every day.

    Also, there have been two kids at her school who have one parent who is AA and Caucasian where unlike my daughter…they both looked maybe best guess…Italian, perhaps even Polish or Eastern European. I was shocked when I even found out each of these kids were biracial because…they looked caucasian to me. As someone obviously atuned to this I also wondered what their life as a mixed race child would be like where they look more white than black and what their experience will be like versus my daughters.

    Thanks a lot for putting this article out there — I really appreciate it and your blogs in general. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Honeysmoke

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I think it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen until the baby arrives. Even then, I think parents f biracial and multiracial children are in for more than a few surprises. I guess the reason I found the article heartbreaking is it’s a throwback to racial attitudes becoming a part of our nation’s past. I don’t believe children will have to choose in the near future. I believe as more and more mixed children enter the world, race will matter less and less.

  • Blanc2

    Thought about this a bit more. I had not noticed that your caption included “heartbreaking”. I didn’t find the article heartbreaking at all. As noted, I have also found, through 16 years of raising a biracial son, that much of the conjecture of the article is probably overstated. I came to being a parent of a biracial child from the obverse point of view of the author. I had been well educated in racial politics in the US and fully expected the world to receive my son as a black child, with the skin privilege/burden issues that go along with that. I have been repeatedly surprised to find this has not been the case. In fact, among kids of his generation (and even moreso my younger daughter’s age), kids with parents of mixed ethnicity are so common they aren’t even noteworthy. My kids have classmates of multi-faith parentage (such as Jewish and Hindu), multi-ethinic parentage, kids with two parents of the same gender, kids from complicated blended families formed of multiple divorces and remarriages, adopted kids with ethinic backgrounds very different from their adoptive parents, etc. In other words, in just a couple of generations after me, our nation has become a place where heterogeneity is the norm, not the exception.

    • Honeysmoke

      I understand. I was in that very same place before Simone was born. Maybe heartbreaking was too strong. It’s just that I want us to be so past this. I think children can be whatever they want to be. They get to choose, not society. I am not sure how Simone and Nadia will be viewed when they are older. Whatever the case, I want them to tell others how they identify, not have someone told them it has always been this way and that’s the way it is. I do appreciate hearing/seeing/reading a male point of view, and I certainly appreciate when someone is as honest as the writer is in the essay.

  • b.

    One part of the article I found interesting was the assumption on the author’s part that his child will definitely come out lighter-skinned/more Caucasian-looking. There are people with AA and white parents in many different shades. I hope he understands that fact *before* his child is born.

    • Honeysmoke

      Good point.

  • Ronald

    Interesting read. I admire the author’s concern on how to develop his child’s confidence. It is great that he is thinking ahead. I wouldn’t be that concerned on his child’s skin color. For sure his child will grow confident and secure especially growing up in a family who appreciates and love him/her.

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