My son is embarrassed because I am white

by DJ
(Knoxville, TN)

My 13 year old son told me that he wished I was black. He doesn't want his friends to see me because he wants to be considered "pure" black. He's in the 7th grade in public school in Knoxville, Tennessee.

We've always reinforced the positive aspects of his nationality and that he holds the best of both worlds. We have always encouraged his individuality and assurance of being "a child of God" and affirmed that the color that he is perfect.

My husband and I have always communicated with our two sons and have addressed the good morals and values of a person; not color of the skin, is what was important. We were and are open to all discussions about possible situations and/or conflicts.

I was very hurt by his comment. I didn't respond negatively but told him I appreciated his honesty. Ten years ago, we used to live in Augusta, Georgia and where we were involved in IFA (Interracial Family Alliance). It was a wonderful group that met once a month and discussed various situations both locally and internationally. The children and teens met separately during our monthly meeting to talk about personal issues and/or did different activities.

We had outings, speakers available, and were commonly invited to be interviewed via press and television appearances. IFA had 65 families on the enrollment list and received monthly newsletters. As far as I know, Knoxville doesn't have a group such as this.

I remember several members telling us that it was common for children to associate with one parent or the other. I remember my step daughter used to say she was white like her mother but she was 4 years old. Should I be expecting this from my 13 year old son?

I guess I'm just at a loss for words. I mean, he's stuck with me, right? He has no options and I wonder how long this will last. Is this common for a teen? Granted, East Tennessee is predominately white.

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