Parents (of multiracial kids) Just Don’t Understand

Parents (of multiracial kids) Just Don’t Understand


Alice Wong

Talking about race is complicated enough but how do parents of multiracial Asian American children talk to their kids about race and racial identity? What are the experiences of multiracial Asian American children? What’s missing in the media representations of multiracial kids?

Writer, scholar and activist Sharon H. Chang talked with AsAmNews about her multiracial family and the findings from her research on multiracial Asian American children from her new book Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World. Below are some edited excerpts from their conversation.

You and your husband are both multiracial Asian Americans—describe your family’s cultural mash-up.

Our collective family ancestry is Japanese, Taiwanese/Chinese, Slovakian, German, French Canadian, British, Welsh – American. But culturally we feel multiethnic, mixed, 2nd gen Asian American.

How do you and your husband talk about your child about being multiracial in America?

We talk pretty openly about systemic racial inequities in front of him. We don’t hide those struggles and even encourage him to participate in the conversations when he’s interested. Then regarding his own identity (i.e. relationship to those racial struggles) we don’t tell him he’s white. Because he’s not. He’s certainly asked, “Am I white?” And we’re very clear, “No.” Instead we offer Asian, Asian American, and mixed…

Read the entire interview here.

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