Raising mixed-race kids who feel secure in their identity

Raising mixed-race kids who feel secure in their identity

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lori L. Tharps, Assistant Professor of Journalism
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I’m black American. My husband is from Spain. Before we started a family, the race of my future children never gave me cause for concern or worry. I guess I just assumed that since we lived in the United States, they’d be black like me. I did spend a lot of time researching the most successful ways to raise bilingual children. I actually thought the fact that my children were going to speak two different languages was going to be the biggest difference between us. I was wrong.

My children aren’t just black. They have a Spanish father. So that makes them biracial. And while finding the perfect label or identity box to check off on government forms is hardly a critical issue in my parenting routine, raising children who are secure in their ethnic identity often feels like a struggle.

Living in a country as race obsessed as the United States makes identity politics a necessary evil to explore when family members in the same household are different races. Please note, I firmly believe there is only one human race and that the false construct of race that was invented in the 18th century with intentions of creating a hierarchy of man, is complete and utter hogwash. Unfortunately, because as a nation we subscribe to said hogwash, I would be a bad parent if I did not address these issues with my children who will face questions and challenges about their racial identity. But the questions they face will be and are different from mine. These aren’t the kind of things they teach you how to deal with in a Parenting 101 class…

Read the entire article here.

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