Who am I?

by Matthew Youngson
(Maryland, USA)

Our little cutie pie LILLY!

Our little cutie pie LILLY!

My daughter is two years old and last night while my wife and I were bathing her she said she wanted to be white not black. I am the dad (white) and my wife is black. Needless to say my wife was really hurt by her comments. So much so that she began to tear up. I explained to my wife that she is only two. I did however understand why my wife was so hurt. I tried to explain to my daughter and my wife that she is what she is. She can not choose to be black or white. She is both. She definitely favors the white side in appearance (green eyes) but she is obviously biracial.


I tried to explain to her that she is both and regardless her appearance is what it is. She can't really choose her race. She understood what I was saying but I am not sure she bought it. The fact of the matter is her world is mostly white. My wife works three days a week and my mom watches her on those days. We rarely see my wife's side of the family as her dad is not real interested and her mom is always on travel and has little time for my wife or our daughter. All of our friends are white.

Despite the fact that she has very little exposure to black people, nothing or nobody in her life reflects black as bad. From the beginning she was always told that she was black and white which I guess is fairly obvious by looking at her parents.

She is so young that I hope this passes. I have told some of my black friends about this and they said that we should have been telling her all along that she was black. I don't really agree with this tactic but I am almost willing to go along.

I never thought this was going to be an issue. Her older sister (14), from my first marriage is white with long straight hair. She always says she wants hair like Caroline. This is a two year old. Because she is only two I feel like dismissing the whole issue but in the same light what if these feelings she is having snowballs into to something much bigger? HELP ME!

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Sep 16, 2009
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A book for you
by: Kenneth

You should read a book called I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World
it talks amoung other things about how small children view their color as just that color, brown, tan, pink, just like green,red, or blue. And how you shouldn't take offence because they have no racial baggage like we do. I found it very informative.


Sep 04, 2009
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Biracial Kids: Both sides matter!
by: Anonymous

I am Puerto Rican and African American and I am older. I embrace both sides of what I am. But I am truly grateful for both of my parents who exposed me to the beauties of both of my nationalities.

I had "black" and latino friends growing up. My only bad experiences were with some of my peers who would make ignorant comments such calling me half breed, confused and many other hurtful names.

Now that I am older I put in the time on a daily basis to read about my african and latino heritage. I still to this day get comments from people that say "oh you look black" and depending on the person I choose to give a response or not.

I do not entertain stereotypes of either side. Another thing I understand is living in America, the land of narrow mindedness, I will continue to receive ignorant comments probably until the day I die about the texture of my hair or the complexion of my skin. As if you have to be bi-racial to have beautiful skin or hair.

In conclusion I embrace both sides and I do not consider myself "other" nor do I consider myself just African american or only puerto rican I am BOTH!

In growing up in the United States I think it is the parents' responsibility to expose bi-racial children to both sides of their nationality. If you expose a child to only one side he or she will grow up embracing only one side.

Aug 05, 2009
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Biracial Kids and Conditioning
by: Anonymous

I am a mother of 4 biracial children. I am white and my children are black and hispanic. I am just starting to make mature choices and seeing that the world is fun, yet conditioned. I need a few ideas to raise kids who are not conditioned.

Award-winning parenting book teaches parents how to raise kids to develop their unique strengths and think for themselves. Particularly helpful for parents of biracial and multiracial children.

Jul 20, 2009
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Correction
by: 1mom23

I wanted to make a correction to my last comment. The book is called You Be Me, I'll Be You the author is Pili Mandelbaum.

The link on the other comment takes you to another book which may be good too. The above mentioned book helped with my daughter understanding who she is.

Jul 14, 2009
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helping biracial children understand who they are
by: 1mom23

I am a white mother with 3 mixed (black/white) children. I have pretty much have raised my children alone (up until recently I was just married.) My 2 younger children have a relationship with their father but my oldest daughters' father died before he even knew I was pregnant.

My oldest daughter had been around black (we say brown) people, but didn't have any any family on her father's side. When she was about 3, kids at day care began pointing out that she looked different than I did. She decided that she didn't like black people. She never learned that in my home, it was something she came up with on her own.

I talked to her often about all of the brown people that she knew and loved and I reminded her that she was light brown. I found a few books that helped her understand why we looked different and that helped. I cannot tell you the authors name but one of the books was I'll Be You and You Be Me
and I believe the other book was called Hats Off to Hair!
(she too wanted straight hair.)

We never had a lot of money so we always lived in apartments when she was really young. She had experienced a few ignorant kids who made comments to her about her skin color.

I made her proud of her color because I told her that white people go to tanning places to get the gorgeous skin color that she has. When she was little our "joke" or way of handling it was saying that they are jealous because they were not born with beautiful, brown skin!

She will be 16 next Sunday. She is proud of who she is. She still wants straight hair so now she uses a flat iron to straighten it.

We just experienced an awkward racial situation 2 days ago. I am still angry but she is over it. Her comment?...."They are mad because they need to sit in the sun all day to get my color!"

Publisher's Note: Here's another good resource for parents of biracial children: Is That Your Child?: Mothers Talk about Rearing Biracial Children


Jun 02, 2009
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bi racial daughter
by: Anonymous

We have a bi-racial daughter also who just turned 6. I am white, and my husband is black. My daughter use to say the same thing about wanting to be white and not black--this too hurt my husband a little. Over the years, we have tried not to make a big deal about it, but telling her she is lucky because she is both. We have tried to expose her to both of our cultures, and have pointed out how everyone is unique and different in many ways. My daughter has now accepted and is proud of who she is and that she is both black and white. When they are real young, they don't understand as well, but as your daughter gets older, I'm sure--like my daughter--she will be accepting and proud of who she is.

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