WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A BLACK MOM RAISING MIXED KIDS IN AMERICA RIGHT NOW

When I look at my family, I see love.
 
I love that my daughters have deep brown eyes and curly hair like me. I love that their lovely brown locks turn golden blonde on the ends — it reminds me that my husband was blonde as a baby. My children are a beautiful mixture of our genes and our love.
 
When the world sees them, their minds are filled with questions.
 
They instantly gaze at their beauty and pick apart their physical features within their minds. Sometimes they awkwardly vocalize their mixed-race obsession. They want to know why their complexion is golden brown in the summer and creamy tan in the winter. They want to know what race they are mixed with.
 
As a black mom with biracial kids, I not only have to deal with the assumptions that people will make about my children, but about me as well. Black women ask if I have a “thing” for white men. They look surprised when I tell them my husband is the first white guy I ever dated.
 
 
Even though I have naturally curly hair, white women often comment on my daughters’ curls and ask where they came from. It makes me want to give them a brief lesson in genetics. Even though we share a different curl pattern, we still share the same genes.
 
For me, our love as a family is enough. But for some, they can’t quite comprehend why our family “doesn’t match.”
 
EVEN WHEN YOUR CHILDREN CALL YOU “MOM,” PEOPLE ARE OFTEN STILL CONFUSED.
 
Raising biracial kids means you must be thick-skinned, because you’ll receive both love and criticism from all sides. Being a black mom with biracial kids (especially light-skinned ones) means that your motherhood may be questioned through stares, glances, and passing comments.
 
Even when your children call you “Mom,” people are often still confused. You must be confident in your own identity, and then teach your kids to do the same.
 
 
 
When race relations cause division in the country, community, and even the classroom, your child may find themselves confused when people try to force them to “pick a side.” Being a black mom of biracial kids means that you have to teach your children to do the opposite, knowing they represent more than one side. Classmates can be cruel. They may tease your children for hanging out with one group over another. They may harass them when a parent shows up who doesn’t look the way they might have imagined.
 
 
People may even assume you are the nanny. When you pick your children up from church or after school activities, you might be given a blank stare or look of shock upon announcing your child’s name.
 
Being a black mom of biracial kids means becoming an expert on hair. Even if your hair is similar to your kids’, you often have to learn what works best. And believe me, people will want to touch their hair … a lot.
 
Being a black mom of biracial kids means that you might face some prejudice with play dates — even from your own race. The other black moms might think you can’t relate because of your family dynamics. They may whisper, “Her husband is white” and try to hide certain conversations from you. Some may even think you are a sell-out.
 
At times, you will question yourself. Did I share my culture enough? Do they know enough black history? Are they embracing enough of me? Are they succumbing to the mainstream media’s standard of beauty? You will look at your children’s group of friends and crave diversity. You may even feel let down if they don’t have any black friends.
 
Being a black mom of biracial kids means that you love your kids with all your heart and question your parenting as much as any other parent. It also means that race-related conversations may come up organically in your home due to the unique lens that you wear.
 
Perhaps most of all, being a black mom of biracial kids means empowering your children to take pride in the entirety of who they are.
 

DIEDRE ANTHONY
Diedre Anthony is a mom, farmer's wife, counselor and self-proclaimed product junkie.

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