I’ve noticed that if she’s playing a game that involves confrontation her black doll is always the aggressor. I’ve been thinking about the movies we watch (most noticeably Tangled, which features a dark-haired evil witch and an innocent light-haired princess) and am realizing that there’s a direct correlation between bad and dark in many of them.
As an adult I find myself faced with the issue of race every day — I never know what to check when I’m filling out any kind of official form. The truth is, if it were not for my mother’s words I’d be incredibly frustrated by the situation. Instead, the idea that I belong to the human race is the foundation of my upbringing, and I realize that I cannot be easily defined by what my skin looks like.
In a world of categories, how do you inspire your children to break away from categorization and create their own identity? This is a question that I had never thought of before I had children.
Our child’s grandparents are Israeli, Syrian, German and Irish — how do we include their traditions without forcing the ideas on our child?
Both my husband and I come from ethnically and religiously mixed homes. My husband is the child of an Israeli Jewish dad and Syrian Muslim mom. I am the daughter of a German Quaker and an Irish Druidic Pagan. We don’t want our child to grow up confused about his/her own background or feel obligated to explore all paths if there’s one they prefer.
Once our daughter is born, I assume she’ll be some mash-up of the two of us, although the more brown-and-white mixed kids I see, the more I wonder if our little monster will be identifiably brown at all. I always thought of my genetic heritage as weak, non-fat milky white DNA that would easily be overwhelmed by a good infusion of cocoa. I’m beginning to suspect that my mixed Scottish/Slavic heritage is heartier than it lets on.
My husband and daughter are Alaska Native; they are Tlingit. I am an even blend of nearly all things considered Caucasian. In our home we tend to embrace the Tlingit culture stronger than anything else, because, frankly, it’s so much more interesting than the average middle-class white-girl way that I grew up. The greatest thing about being a hybrid family is that we can choose what’s wonderful about being Tlingit. We love hunting, gathering, beautiful Tlingit art, the fantastic jewelry and Tlingit dance.
My daughter is growing up with parents who have a strong judgement-free policy, but we don’t have the ability to introduce her to every type of person in the world. How are you explaining differences (physical, mental, racial, etc.) to your children?
We want to teach our kids that diversity comes in many shades — and telling them that sex is something only moms and dads do is the first thing to go.