Raising children to be strong, healthy, capable adults is the hardest job in the world. And, for families of mixed race it’s even harder. Here are some dos and don’ts to help your children deal with societies that still, unfortunately, have issues with interracial couples and children of mixed race.
Don’t tell them they’re half of anything.
Parents often make the mistake of telling children that they’re half white and half black, for example.
While this might not seem like an untrue or damaging statement at first glance, there are many reasons why it’s better to avoid phrasing it like that.
It’s much more reassuring to tell a mixed child that they’re both white and black . This way they will feel like they belong in both cultures, not like they’re not fully welcome in either.
Learn about the other culture they’ve been born into.
While your partner will most likely be teaching your child the most about their culture, it would help if you’re also involved.
If you’re white and your child is partly Hispanic, learning to speak Spanish will help you build a stronger relationship with them while helping them stay in touch with that part of their identity.
You could also make sure to teach them your own native language. A mixed child that can speak the languages from both of their cultures will feel a lot more confident about their identity.
Don’t assume you speak for their race.
Even if your child is mixed black and white, you shouldn’t assume you have the authority to speak on black issues when you’re not black, or vice versa.
Don’t use your child or your partner’s race as an excuse to share inflammatory statements that you wouldn’t say otherwise.
Allow your partner to have the same amount of influence.
Parents can sometimes fight about which culture their child will be raised in. You might want to raise your child in the traditional African way, while your partner will lean more towards their Asian heritage, for example.
Neither person is wrong or right in a situation like this. It’s important for parents of a mixed child to be allowed to share their cultural heritage without competing with each other or trying to force the child to pick a side.
As they grow up, they might lean towards one or the other, but this is their personal choice and should never be a competition between parents.
Let them get close with people from both their cultures.
A mixed black and white child who only ever spends time with their white family members might feel a bit lost when it comes to their black identity.
It’s important to try and expose children to both sides of the family, even if it’s difficult due to parents objecting to your interracial relationship .
Don’t feel offended if they don’t identify with your culture.
As mentioned before, most mixed race children identify more strongly with one culture than the other in many cases.
For example, if they end up embracing black culture and show little interest in your Asian heritage, it’s not fair to act rejected and take it as a personal insult. It’s their choice and it’s what makes them happy.
Interracial relationships and marriages is something which was made acceptable in society due to hard work and selfless sacrifices made by couples like Richard and Mildred. Laws against interracial marriages were banned in 1967, but couples still face racism and backlash even today.
Interracial dating is much more popular and accepted now than it was fifty years ago, but there is still a lot of stigma around the topic. Couples have to deal with a lot of criticism and backhanded comments from near and dear ones. Lack of knowledge in this area can really make people pass hurtful judgments without them ever realizing that they did so.
From the day we are born to the day we breathe our last, we are mostly influenced by our family. Sometimes we are influenced positively and sometimes we adopt some negative behaviors as well. Most of us have working, somewhat healthy relationships with our family, and since they are our family we want them to be a part of our lives.
Sometimes families are really tight-knit until one member gets into a relationship with someone from another ethnicity or race. It even breaks families apart because families are so set in their own ways and refuse to accept new people in to the family.
It takes quite some time and a lot of patience to get your family to accept your relationship but they usually come through. While trying to get your family to see how beautiful an interracial relationship can be, don’t let your family take digs at your partner. It is your responsibility to protect your partner from comments and judgments especially if they are coming from your own family members
Friends are usually much more open minded and accepting when it comes to interracial relationships. They are more understanding and encouraging in this matter than family members are. It may be because you all come from the same generation or have the same set of thinking. A lot of the times we get into relationships with people who were from our friends circle. This also encourages other members of the group to have your back because they know you both individually and together.
But not all friends are the same way. Some friends pass snarky remarks with the intention to hurt you. Such people were never really your friends and you should cut them out of your own as well as your partner’s lives immediately. Then there are friends who are super supportive but make jokes or pass judgments without really understanding how much it could hurt you or your partner or how insensitive it might be. In such cases, make sure you respectfully let them know they are being rude so they can learn from it and you all can move on.
Friends can be more accepting of an interracial relationship and often fill the void of a disapproving family. But, family is family. If your family or close friends are being disapproving or distant then give them time to get used to the idea of you two being together, try talking to them and hopefully they will come around.
Most people don’t think of taking their dates to cultural occasions, but if you have already been on a few dates with someone and you’re thinking about getting serious, it’s definitely something worth considering.
Not only will you learn more about each other and have fun, but it will lay the foundation for an extremely happy and healthy relationship going forward. Here are a few of the benefits that come along with involving your dates in your culture.
• You Bond
Dating is all about bonding with the person you’re with. There is no better way to bond with someone than by partaking in an activity that is close to their heart.
If you show them that you’re interested in their culture and generally interested in learning more about it, they will respect that and your interracial relationship will strengthen tremendously as a result.
You could also take your date to a cultural event of your own. Whether this is going to church on a Sunday afternoon or something more personal, it will flatter them that you want to make your culture a part of your relationship.
• You Learn About Each Other’s Cultures
You will learn a lot about your date and your date will learn a lot about you. They might be surprised by the unique traditions you have and you might discover a new favorite type of food when trying something new.
The more you learn about each other’s cultures, the less you will experience that awkwardness and feeling of ‘otherness’ between the two of you.
Sharing an important cultural event with your partner will draw you closer to each other. Learning and experiencing the heritage and traditions of your partner is a crucial step in maintaining a successful relationship.
• You Experience Something New
Putting aside all the good that it will do for your relationship, there are many great things about experiencing cultural activities outside of your own culture. It will be a fun experience that you won’t soon forget.
Even if the interracial relationship ends up not working out, you’ll have gained knowledge about another culture and gained a memory for life. All of this makes partaking in a cultural activity outside of your own traditions a great way to spend your free time.
Cultural activities are mostly family activities, making this the perfect time to introduce a date to your family. It will be a fun environment and will most definitely feel less awkward than sitting around a dinner table in a quiet restaurant.
Make sure to run it by whoever is hosting the event first however. It’s always rude to show up with an uninvited guest and could lead to some unneeded tension in the family.
• It Helps You Overcome Racial Stereotypes
Spending time in a culture will usually disprove any of the negative stereotypes that you may have been led to believe. It’s always a good idea to experience things first hand in order to form your own opinion.
There is no doubt that cozying up on the couch to watch a scary movie makes for a great date night. But, escaping with a thriller can get old after a while. For a change, why not opt for a film with a storyline and characters that you can both identify with? Here’s a list of terrific films with stories that any couple in an interracial relationship will appreciate.
1.Something New (2006)
This romantic comedy tells the story of a successful black woman who is struggling to find the perfect black man. After her friends convince her to go on a blind date, she is shocked to see that her date is white. Although she initially wants nothing to do with him, love blooms after she hires him as her landscaper.
2.Save The Last Dance (2001)
This movie follows a young white girl who moves to Chicago with her father. Once there, she falls in love with a black student at her high school and he helps her fulfil her dancing dreams, despite the backlash they face.
3.Far From Heaven (2002)
This movie set in the 1950’s focuses on the friendship between a white housewife and her black gardener. They grow closer and closer after she finds her husband cheating on her, but she struggles to deal with the social stigma that comes along with their relationship.
4.Corrina, Corrina (1994)
This movie, also set in the 1950’s, tells the tale of a white widower and his young daughter. After his wife passes away, he hires an energetic black nanny to look after his daughter. Unexpectedly, she brings joy back into both his and his daughter’s lives.
5.Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967)
This movie that was truly before its time focused on interracial marriage in a positive light at a time when it was not socially acceptable in many, if not all, parts of the world. Although the film focuses on the prejudices of white parents who are faced with their daughter’s black fiancé, there are positive messages of acceptance.
6.Made in America (1993)
When a young girl finds out that her mother used a sperm donor to get pregnant, she’s determined to find her real father. Everybody is surprised when it turns out that he’s white! The film cleverly portrays the race relations and romance that is intrinsic to the story.
7.2 Days in New York (2012)
The movie focuses on a French white woman in a relationship with an American black man. Their comfortable home life is turned upside down when her French family decides to stay with them for a few days.
8.Mississippi Masala (1991)
After her family is driven out of Uganda by a dictator, a young Indian woman starts a new life in Mississippi. She falls in love with a black man, causing drama in both her family and his.
9.Strange Days (1995)
This sci-fi movie is intense and entertaining with an interracial relationship that defies all the odds. In a world of rampant violence, the couple must fight against all odds to survive.
10.Monster’s Ball (2001)
A black woman who lost her husband falls in love with a white man, not realizing that he is the one responsible for her husband’s death. Meanwhile, he has to deal with the trauma of witnessing his son commit suicide after a heated argument between them.
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