Raising Biracial Children in Today’s Society

Miss Cheerio
Gone are the days where it’s totally taboo to date outside your race. Well, mostly. Surely, there are people that still look down on it and that will never fully die out. You will always have people that “stick to their own” and disagree with falling in love with someone of a different race or background.

Even still, interracial couples are steadily on the rise. In 2010, the United States Census Bureau showed that there were 50,410,000 white couples and 4,072,000 black couples in the U.S. The black man/white woman couples totaled 390,000 and the white man/black woman couples were 168,000. I’m sure those numbers have increased quite a bit in the last six years.

When you have interracial couples, you have biracial/multiracial children. Those statistics are also on the rise. (See the charts below). If you read the article titled “Why is My Skin a Different Color”, you will read that the National Geographic estimated that by 2050, the average American will look mixed. This world is evolving like never before.

Biracial people have existed since the slavery days, and I’m sure, way before. At that time, it was mostly the female slaves having their masters’ babies. So, the children were not seen as anything more than another field hand or house maid. It’s appalling to me that someone could treat their own flesh and blood like that. Thankfully, we have drastically changed since then and people are, for the most part, equal.

Raising a biracial/multiracial child has its own challenges and quirks. The area you live in can greatly affect your situation. A small town in Wisconsin will have a very different vibe than raising your child in Brooklyn, New York. Here are a few of the challenges I’ve come across in my six years as the mother of a biracial little girl…

• Hair Care – this is a big one! When she was a baby, her hair was very soft and a little bit curly. As she got older, it changed drastically. I researched and watched Youtube tutorials until I felt confident in taking care of her hair to the best of my abilities. Now, she has long, kinky and healthy hair!

• The Nanny – people just assume she isn’t my child. Especially, if we are with a friend that has darker skin. They ask my friends things like “Your baby is cute. How old is she?” I have even been asked where she is adopted from. They act surprised when I say she is actually mine.

• Race boxes on paperwork – When you’re asked that racial identity question and it says “check one”… well, I still check both. After all, she is BOTH! Usually though, it will say “check all that apply”. At last, they are catching up to society!

• Other children’s questions – Children are very observant and they don’t hold back. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked why we don’t match. One little boy said “Are you Destiny’s mom?” I said “Yes, I am”. He replied “But you’re white though”. I thought it was especially funny because the little boy is also biracial, but his mother is black and father is white. I just tried to explain it the best way I could.

• Cultural differences – my daughter’s biological father has not been a part of her life. It been hard to effectively teach her about the other side of her existence. She knows his name and I’ve shown her pictures of him and his side of the family, but that’s about it. Now, she has a step father to fill in those missing gaps and properly teach her about her roots. We are grateful for him.

The whole goal of parenting is to raise a child to become a positive adult member of society. This is no different when raising biracial/multiracial children. Keeping them happy and healthy is essential. Teach them their roots, tell them they’re special and make sure they feel like an important member in their families. It will only get easier as the world evolves. Multiracial will become the new normal.

-Sherry Ulvick
Bircial chart 1Biracial chart 2