Saturday, February 21, 2009

Parenting an Interracial Family

ZZ Packer has a thought-provoking article in the March 2009 edition of Wondertime magazine based on her experience as an African American mom of an interracial son. Here's an exerpt:
The problem, as I see it, is that people still segregate their minds, even as the neighborhoods and social circles grow more integrated. Whereas I truthfully say that I don't experience overt racism when I go to get my daily nonfat latte here in the San Francisco Bay area, I do experience another level of curiosity and wonderment when I do so with Donovan. Something elemental in people seems to assume that despite the baby's father being one race and the mother another, the baby will always come out looking like the parent standing right in front of them ....

A friend of mine, who is Korean American and engaged to a half-Moroccan, half-Irish British national said, "It's hard to believe he came out of you!" Not so hard to believe if you tried to push all 7 pounds 7 ounces out for hours nonstop, until he arrived a bloody mess, hoisted to your breast before you had time to ask for more ice chips.

Perhaps most interesting is the reaction of black folks. A simple trip to the supermarket with my son in his Baby Bj√∂rn became an invitation for black men to stare.  So, you gave up on the brothers did you? Or black women to touch his straight hair and declare, "It's good hair now, but it'll nap up before you know it" ....

I always thought it strange how many old-line black folks in the South praised kids with light skin and straight hair as "beautiful," only as long as the kid was "black," meaning that neither parent was fully white. No one wants to think about a white parent being in the mix.


  1. It is strange yes. I am native american and adopted into a non-native family. I get discriminated from both and shock when seen together, lol. The world is strange indeed but the love only binds us together more. Good points made! :)

  2. How do I help my 6years old boy to understand that the color is not a problem. He feels left out because my husband ,now, is white.
    I am Puertorrican and although I look white, Im hispanic and my kid have Haitian heritage. so he is darker than me.
    I love him and it breaks my heart that he think we are different, and that he has to pray harder for God to give him my color.