Don’t Ask “What” My Child Is

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-28 03:30Z by Steven

Don’t Ask “What” My Child Is

Dame
2015-02-11

Elizabeth Dougherty

The writer is White. Her husband is Black. And there are many people who feel entitled to accost the couple with unsolicited opinions about their biracial son.

“Mommy, I’m almond, you’re white chocolate, and Daddy’s dark chocolate.” Talking about sunblock with my 6-year-old son, Carter, had turned into a discussion about skin color, and I guessed correctly that his kindergarten class was talking about it, too.

I’m White, and by husband is African American. Before Carter was even conceived, I started reading books about raising biracial children I fully expected a child of ours would look more like Jeff. I braced myself for people mistaking me for an adoptive mom or a nanny.

Then I had a nearly ten-pound baby boy with pale skin, a head full of silky black curls, and my dark-blue eyes down to the same golden streak in the left one. It had never occurred to me that the opposite would happen: People would mistake Jeff’s White friend as Carter’s dad.

Carter’s striking eyes and soft curls get lots of random attention. Without asking, strangers often touch his hair. (As a toddler, one day, he got so tired of saying “Thank-you” to people who complimented his curls, he simply said, “I know.”)…

Read the entire article here.

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Poster Session C: C117: WHAT I REALLY THINK ABOUT MY BIRACIAL DAUGHTER! SOCIALIZATION IN BLENDED MULTIRACIAL FAMILIES

Posted in Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-28 02:44Z by Steven

Poster Session C: C117: WHAT I REALLY THINK ABOUT MY BIRACIAL DAUGHTER! SOCIALIZATION IN BLENDED MULTIRACIAL FAMILIES

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology
16th Annual Convention
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center
Long Beach, California
2015-02-26 through 2015-02-28

Friday, 2015-02-27, 12:30-14:00 PST (Local Time)
Hall B

Yolanda Mitchell
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Roudi N. Roy
California State University, Long Beach

Race can have a direct impact on how mixed-race children are seen by others as well as how they understand and encounter the world around them. Although identity development among biracial children is not a novel area of research the aim of this study was to explore how multiracial children are socialized when they are raised in blended families with monoracial parents. Given the sensitive nature of this topic we applied a qualitative methodology blending both a heuristic perspective and interviews with parents from two separate families. Themes related to racial profiling, parental perception of the mixed race child’s personality, level of respect, and parenting were identified through the five-step analyses process. This study highlights relevant socialization aspects in the lives of mixed-race children. More importantly it identifies ways in which the biological parent perceived their child’s racial identity differently than the stepparent.

For more information, click here and go to page 260.

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Baby Gammy and the Sexual Politics of Mixed Race Asians

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Law, Media Archive on 2015-02-28 02:29Z by Steven

Baby Gammy and the Sexual Politics of Mixed Race Asians

Multiracial Asian Families: thinking about race, families, children, and the intersection of mixed ID/Asian
2015-02-25

Sharon H. Chang

A couple years ago young Thai mother Pattaramon Chanbua agreed to be a surrogate for Australian couple David and Wendy Farnell. It was a disaster.

Last week Thailand legally banned commercial surrogacy, which is now a criminal offense.

The law comes after many abusive surrogacy arrangements exploiting Thai women over the years. But the Chanbua-Farnell surrogacy in particular expedited legislation after snowballing into an international scandal that garnered the attention of the world and spotlighted inescapably the controversial ethics and regulation (or lack thereof) of global surrogacy. Chanbua’s 2013 fertility treatment in Thailand was successful and she carried mixed race Asian/white twins Gammy and Pipah to delivery for the Farnells by the end of the year. But while Pipah was born healthy and typically developing, Gammy was born with Down’s Syndrome and severe health challenges. Shortly thereafter he was left behind with Chanbua when his Australian parents took his sister back to Australia without him. Gammy’s story was internationally publicized summer 2014 when Chanbua, aided by fundraisers, worked to crowdsource financing for his expensive medical care online. The tragic story coupled with a plethora of images of surrogate mom and left-behind infant living with disability exploded across the media, touching the shocked hearts of millions…

…Consider also, very importantly, that “who gets left with the consequences” is not just Asian diasporic women but a vulnerable population arising from the exploitation of Asian diasporic women — mixed race Asian diasporic children. It is of natural consequence that multiracial offspring would result from western dominance over Asian female bodies. Such children have historically often been the carnage left behind, “the casualties of war,” an afterthought quickly unremembered, swept under the rug and discarded. What is happening to Baby Gammy has happened before and keeps happening because global systems of sexual-political dominance are still in place. As I just wrote about last week thousands of Asian/white children have been abandoned throughout time by their white fathers; left impoverished, homeless, sick, sometimes crippled, susceptible to discrimination…

Read the entire article here.

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In France, a Baby Switch and a Test of a Mother’s Love

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2015-02-24 22:48Z by Steven

In France, a Baby Switch and a Test of a Mother’s Love

The New York Times
2015-02-24

Maïa de la Baume

GRASSE, France — When Sophie Serrano finally held her daughter, Manon, in her arms after the newborn, suffering from jaundice, had been placed under artificial light, she was taken aback by the baby’s thick tufts of hair.

“I hadn’t noticed it before and it surprised me,” Ms. Serrano said in an interview at her home here in southern France, not far from the Côte d’Azur.

Ms. Serrano, now 39, was baffled again a year later, when she noticed that her baby’s hair had grown frizzy and that her skin color was darker than hers or her partner’s.

But her love for the child trumped any doubts. Even as her relationship unraveled, in part, she said, over her partner’s suspicions, she painstakingly looked after the baby until a paternity test more than 10 years later showed that neither she nor her partner were Manon’s biological parents. Ms. Serrano later found out that a nurse had accidentally switched babies and given them to the wrong mothers…

…Ms. Serrano’s love for Manon, she said, grew stronger after she learned that the girl was not her biological daughter. She also said that, after meeting the girl she had given birth to, she felt no particular connection with her.

“It is not the blood that makes a family,” Ms. Serrano said. “What makes a family is what we build together, what we tell each other. And I have created a wonderful bond with my nonbiological daughter.”…

Read the entire article here.

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An Open Letter to the White Fathers of Black Daughters

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, United States, Women on 2015-02-23 19:33Z by Steven

An Open Letter to the White Fathers of Black Daughters

bluestockings magazine
2015-02-23

Kelsey Henry

I have been drafting this letter since I was ten. I am twenty and tonight is the first night I will write these words outside of me. I don’t know what they will look like here. Honestly, I am scared to see them uncoiled and still damp from the sweaty palms that have enclosed them for a decade. I am so accustomed to holding fistfuls of aching, rambunctious words around you, Dad. More than anything, I wish you would ask me to open my hands, and actually listen to what you see, what I say, what you hear.

But that is not how we work, is it? I give you the words you don’t know how to ask for. We know all our scripted prompts for loving cautiously. We are used to trafficking in glass blown conversations. I will not, I cannot, do this with you anymore. I love you too much for this, so listen.

Dad, you are a white man. I know this might come as a shock because people do not tell you this too often. You are not approached on the street, in the movies, at the workplace, and ordered to explain your race so strangers can “read” you properly and treat you accordingly. You have both the privilege and the curse of living in the unmarked, white blind spot of the American racial imaginary. If you have enjoyed living there, departing only to return comfortably home to White every night, I’m afraid you have a problem.

Me. I am your problem…

…Dad, since then you have flickered. You are swallowed by whiteness and become racially inaccessible to me the moment my race comes to the fore. When I become Black Girl you become White Man and we are not each other’s anymore…

Read the entire article here.

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Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-04 23:05Z by Steven

Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World

Paradigm Publishers
June 2015
192 pages
Trim size: 6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61205-848-1

Sharon H. Chang

Research continues to uncover early childhood as a crucial time when we set the stage for who we will become. In the last decade, we have also seen a sudden massive shift in America’s racial makeup with the majority of the current under-5 age population being children of color. Asian and multiracial are the fastest growing self-identified groups in the United States. More than 2 million people indicated being mixed race Asian on the 2010 Census. Yet, young multiracial Asian children are vastly underrepresented in the literature on racial identity. Why? And what are these children learning about themselves in an era that tries to be ahistorical, believes the race problem has been “solved,” and that mixed race people are proof of it? This book is drawn from extensive research and interviews with sixty-eight parents of multiracial children. It is the first to examine the complex task of supporting our youngest around being “two or more races” and Asian while living amongst “post-racial” ideologies.

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Claiming Race, Identity and a Right to Education

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-02-03 21:02Z by Steven

Claiming Race, Identity and a Right to Education

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-02-02

Briellen Griffin, Doctoral Student of sociology in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies
School of Education
Loyola University Chicago

It is my job to think about school. Everyday, I read, write, and speak about education. I ask, and often try to answer, the big questions. Like, why do we have schools? Or, what is the purpose of education? Even more specifically, how do I make sure all kids get the education they deserve? Since I now have my own children, these questions have taken on new meaning in my life. They have become personal. More than I expected, they have become questions that challenge who we are; who I am and who my children will become.

When I think back to my earliest years of schooling, I can’t pinpoint a specific moment when I knew that I was getting a different education that my friends. I grew up in urban public schools, not unlike the one my own kids attend today. I LOVED SCHOOL. I mean, LOVED it. All parts. Carrying the milk crate for snack, practicing handwriting, chasing friends on the playground. Later, the love grew to encompass algebra and writing, student council and more writing… I was good at school and that made every moment satisfying and fulfilling.

At some point, I began to realize that I got more credit than I deserved. It wasn’t just that I was good at what I did. Maybe, I thought, it wasn’t even that I was better than anyone else at school, at all. It did have something to do with having blond hair and blue eyes. It had to do with feeling free in a place that didn’t criminalize me. It had to do with looking white.

I am, perhaps, one of the more stereotypical American multiracial blends, one that connotes the taboo of race-mixing specific to slavery in this country. My mother is white and my father is Black, though his heritage includes European & American Indian and is evidenced by a “high yellow” complexion and wavy black hair. What is less stereotypical about my multiracial identity is that I look white, especially to most white people. And the result is that I benefit from white privilege…

Read the entire article here.

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Skin

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-28 17:18Z by Steven

Skin

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-26

Tru Leverette, Associate Professor of English
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

“I wish I had white skin,” my three year-old daughter said, swinging breezily at the park.

Gulp. “Why do you say that, Sweetheart?” I asked, outwardly calm but inwardly exclaiming, Shit! What do I do with this?

“Because all of the friends at school have white skin.” Very matter-of-factly.

***

I think about race a lot, both professionally and personally, and perhaps more than the average person. I work as a professor teaching race-related literature classes and grew up as a “brown-skinned white girl,” as France Winddance Twine has called mixed race girls raised in white households and predominantly white communities. I remember as a preschooler myself in the 1970s telling my teacher that I wished I had long, blonde hair (and presumably pale skin) and, though I’m embarrassed to admit this deep-seated desire I held at the time, pastel underwear. So I wasn’t entirely surprised that my daughter, the beautifully brown-skinned child of her mixed race father and I, would develop feelings similar to those I’d had as a child, given the predominantly white school she attended.

But so soon? And how did she internalize the idea that dark skin is undesirable when she hasn’t been a TV watcher and has been celebrated with Doc McStuffins and brown baby dolls?…

Read the entire article here.

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Kevin Costner Hopes His New Movie Redefines How People Think About Race

Posted in Articles, Arts, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-22 18:44Z by Steven

Kevin Costner Hopes His New Movie Redefines How People Think About Race

The Huffington Post
2015-01-22

Sasha Bronner, Los Angeles Editor

Kevin Costner, who just turned 60 earlier this week, can do a lot of things.

“I can make a love story. I can make the American baseball movie. I can make the political thriller, the Western, the romantic comedy. And sometimes you get to make a movie about the moments that you’re living,” he told The Huffington Post Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Costner’s newest film, “Black or White,” is a family drama centered around a custody battle, but the complexities of race are examined at every turn.

“We are living in this moment,” he continued, referring to heightened discussions and displays of racial tension in the country. “[The film] wasn’t timed for any of these things, it was made before some of these seminal moments that have seemed have caught our attention. But I have been very aware of race for a long time. And I never saw a movie that dealt with it the way that this did. That’s the hope. That it gets under your fingernails.”

Costner stars in the film as a grandfather who has raised his granddaughter along with his wife after their daughter died in childbirth. But the film begins with an additional loss. When Costner’s wife dies in a car accident, he is left to raise his granddaughter alone. A family custody battle soon erupts when the granddaughter’s black family, who live in South Los Angeles, petition to adopt her.

Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer plays opposite Costner as the paternal grandmother, and you would think that pairing these two on screen would open any door. But in fact, Costner ended up financing the film himself when all major studios turned it down…

…The film illuminates tensions that many mixed-race families struggle with today. Is the granddaughter black or white? Does she belong with one side of her family when the father is not in the picture? Or should she stay in the only home she has ever known, but with her grandfather who loves her but is now on his own and has shown more than a proclivity to crack into a cocktail at any hour of the day…

Read the entire article here.

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Where are all the interracial children’s books?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-21 21:15Z by Steven

Where are all the interracial children’s books?

The Washington Post
2015-01-20

Nevin Martell

Browsing the shelves of the children’s section at bookstores can be a depressing experience for the parent of an interracial youngster. I’m a mutt mixture Caucasian with roots going back to Western Europe and beyond, while my wife is from Ghana. We are constantly on the lookout for stories featuring characters with whom our interracial son can visually identify. It would just be nice for him to pick up a book and think to himself, “Hey, that little guy looks like me.” Sadly, he doesn’t get to do that very often.

Though there is a growing number of racially diverse characters popping up on picture book pages – and the passionate social media campaign #WeNeedDiverseBooks hopes to inspire even more of them – there is a depressing dearth of interracial ones. This is somewhat surprising given how many families are interracial these days. According to the United States Census Bureau, “interracial or interethnic opposite-sex married couple households grew by 28 percent over the decade from 7 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2010.” Additionally, there were 275,500 interracial marriages in 2010 out of a total of 2,096,000. Heck, there’s even a TV show about an interracial family and it’s on a major network – ABC’s “The Fosters.”

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any children’s books starring interracial characters. There are some wonderful options, including “Black, White, Just Right!” by Marguerite W. Davol and illustrated by Irene Trivas, “Black is Brown is Tan” by Arnold Adoff with illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully and Phil Mandelbaum’s “You Be Me, I’ll Be You.” A current favorite is “The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage,” which chronicles the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, in which a biracial couple successfully challenged the state’s law against interracial marriage…

Read the entire article here.

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