Tiffany Rae Reid pens first book as a guide for raising biracial children

Tiffany Rae Reid pens first book as a guide for raising biracial children

Naila Francis, Staff Writer

At first, there were the looks, brazenly curious, speculative, and in Briety McKeon’s eyes, even judgmental.

Who was the little girl beside her? The one with the warm, honeyed tint to her skin, the darker, curlier hair, the features that didn’t quite match the pretty white woman beside her and the young white girl who was more her mirror image? How did she fit in?

Those implied questions would crush her, though McKeon adored her daughters equally, though she herself yearned for them to be as empowered by their obvious differences as the many bonds they shared.

“Still, to this day, we will walk into a room and get the look,” says McKeon, a single mom to daughters Aurora, 5, whose dad is black, and Lydia, 10, whose father is white. “There is going to be a certain paranoia in your head. It’s not so much that people are going to come out and say something. It’s more the reaction on their face. It’s like, ‘Are both of them yours? Is Aurora adopted?’ Even friends will say, ‘Yeah, it took me a while to figure it out.’”

When Aurora was born, McKeon admits to an initial naïveté: “On the inside, you think, ‘We’re OK with it, so everyone else will be OK with it.’ ”

As she quickly learned otherwise, she struggled with how to handle the blatant stares, the questions, the perceived criticism she encountered whenever she was in public with her girls.

But it wasn’t until Aurora came to her this year asking why she looked different from everybody else in their large Irish-Italian family that McKeon began worrying more about what her daughter was internalizing than the reactions of the world around her.

That’s when she turned to Tiffany Rae Reid

At 36, the biracial Reid is still coming to terms with who she is. For more than half her life, the Voorhees resident believed she was white. She was raised in rural Ashtabula, Ohio, the daughter of a Hungarian mother and absentee African-American father whom she met for the first time when she was 26. Until that point, Reid, whose sister is also white, had believed her mother’s stories about her permanently tanned complexion. Whenever she dared to ask why she looked so different, her mother would pull out the family albums, pointing to photos of Reid’s dark-skinned Hungarian uncle, whose light green eyes, curly hair and thick lips mimicked her own.

“I would ask my mom, ‘Am I adopted? Why don’t I look like you?’ ” recalls Reid. “She created this whole reality that I was a dark Hungarian.”…

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