[name_f]Hope[/name_f] your all well and wishing you a happy 2023
I’ve turned to this wonderful community on so many occasions and so would like your advise on something that a) I thought I was well equipped for b) was confident enough to handle and c) didn’t think I would have to deal with as often as I have been off recent but I realise I actually need some advise so please help.
I’ve had some really rubbish incidents take place involving my daughter and her mixed heritage.
One where I was at the hospital A&E due to [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] repeatedly vomiting and a man repeatedly asked questions about whether I was ‘with a black man’ and ‘why is she that colour?’ then implied that we weren’t being seen to due to her skin tone. I complained to staff and nothing was done until he was discharged.
Another where my mum was walking with [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] and a middle aged man asked my mum if she was married to a black man. Mum responded saying her ‘son in law’ was to which he called her an N lover and called [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] an N.
Finally last incident where I was at soft play with [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] and another mother just kept giving me mean looks, staring at me and tutting. She had a baby around 16 months who went to touch Lilia’s hair and she pulled the child back by their top telling them not to touch [name_f]Lilia[/name_f]. At this point it was [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] nap so I said let’s go and upon leaving said to my friend I’d never seen such a sour faced woman in order for her to hear she didn’t say anything. In this situation I’m glad I said something but feel it should have been more articulate.
These incidents have happened in predominantly white middle class areas (where my parents live now and I spent my teen years) and not where we actually which is a friendly village on the outskirts off a relatively diverse area.
I would love help and advice as to how to school these racist, help feel more equipped and install confidence in my daughter. I’ve spoken to [name_u]Joseph[/name_u] (her dad) and despite loving us both has been a bit wishy washy so would love some berry wisdom.
Being religious myself, I’d probably respond with something along the lines of “[name_m]God[/name_m] made red and yellow, black and white and He loves all little children the same.”
There’s not a whole lot you can do when it comes to strangers. Teach your daughter to pity them, to show respect even when she’s not respected, and to stand up for herself like @Sophie_sawriter mentioned. Her identity isn’t in the ugly things people say. She’s a daughter of the [name_m]King[/name_m]. Princesses don’t attack back, they are wise in their speech. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
I think I might respond to a direct comment by saying, “that’s not kind,” or something equally factual, but without embitterment or anger. [name_m]Feel[/name_m] sorry for their upbringing rather than angry.
I know… easier said than done. <3
How awful that you and [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] have received such mean-spirited comments. Some people are so disrespectful! I don’t have much experience with this, but I would probably say something along the lines of “I found that comment hurtful” or “please try to be more sensitive.” Maybe those seem too mild, but often times people can get defensive and angry very easily.
I would start by really educating yourself on the biases that will continue to affect your daughter into the future. Consume media, and follow writers and influencers who share in these experiences. Learn to empower her identity as a person of color. Expose her to perspectives and people who represent her identity. [name_u]Welcome[/name_u] those identities into your life, and create space for her to see you appreciating mixed identity/black artists and people. This will create a home base for her when she faces racism on her own.
Most importantly, the way you react to these occurrences is going to forever shape how your daughter will react when she’s old enough to respond. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you think it’s important that she confront and educate people? [name_u]Or[/name_u] is it enough to go home and shake it off with her own outlet for healing? I don’t think there is a “right” answer, but definitely a position you will have to take in the world today. I think the best thing you can do is create an environment that is informative and empowering for her to retreat to when she spends time in a world that is hostile to her because of her skin color.
I’m so sorry you had such awful experiences. I have never understood how people could look at an innocent beautiful child and think/say/do mean spirited things.
Not having dealt with this situation personally I don’t have too much advice. All I can think is provide her as solid and stable foundation in your home as possible to give her strength when the world outside is unforgiving. [name_f]My[/name_f] goal for my girls is to have our home be a sanctuary from the world where they can be themselves without any fear and learn to love themselves for who they are.
@Sophie_sawriter thank you for your answer I like the idea of using G-d as a response as it’s a peaceful response so thank you
@kapaza you are right it’s challenging when it’s strangers. I will always teach her to be respectful as you can’t end prejudice through your own poor behaviour it’s just challenging as I would really like to be the complete opposite of respectful I like the idea of just saying ‘that’s not kind’ I’m thinking of even saying ‘that’s racist’ just labelling how it is but I’m not sure if that’ll work? Thank you for answering!
@may.rose thank you for taking the time out to respond honestly it’s been really difficult and unbelievable as it’s 2023 and people are still so ignorant. I like the idea of just saying I found that comment hurtful I also thought about just saying that’s racist calling a spade a spade if that makes sense I’m not sure if that’ll work but may help [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] understand what’s happening
@elffff thank you for your informative response! I have educated myself before I was even pregnant on racism, racial biases, follow creators who create content on the subject and made sure that I had the necessary knowledge as I’m in love and in a relationship with a black man. I honestly thought I was equipped to deal with it but now it’s happening to my child I dunno get stage fright and forget everything I spent a huge amount of time learning. At home I have black art hanging on the walls including black art of women with her hair texture etc so she sees positive black imagery, we listen to black music, black podcast etc. I’m going to purchase more black art I even thought about getting portraits of my favourite civil rights leaders and influential black figures to just keep this pro black thought process at the forefront of her mind/home. I also have other black friends with black children and she has mixed race cousins so she sees her herself reflected in others. I just hope this is a good start to see black positivity which I agree with you is paramount.
Regarding your second point I’m not sure what to do whether I should confront or go home to reflect. I just don’t know. Thank you for your help
@LibelluleClaire thank you for answering honestly I’m the same it’s just such an alien concept to be a grown adult and behaving cruelly towards a child. I agree I love the idea of making her home a comfortable sanctuary!
I’m so sorry you experienced this. Sadly, we’ve experienced racism ourselves regarding to [name_m]Hjörtur[/name_m] (his father is Ugandan). [name_m]Hjörtur[/name_m] is 7 now, and to be honest I still don’t always know how to handle those situations. For me personally, it depends on the situation. Sometimes I talk to the people being racist towards my son and try to educate. I always do this when it involves other children (i.e. other children are being racist), because I believe it’s incredibly important to educate future generations. Unfortunately it’s not easy to go against the racist things some children hear from their parents etc. When it’s other adults being racist, I tend to tell them respectfully that what they’ve said is racist and hurtful to my son, and if I feel they’re susceptible I explain why. In some situations it’s better to just let it go.
I’ve always been open to [name_m]Hjörtur[/name_m] about racism, I don’t avoid the topic and I’ve always explained to him that some people have prejudices regarding his skin colour. But I try not to scare him, and teach him to be proud of his heritage. Because I’m white, I don’t always feel I’m the best person to teach him these things, but his father does a great job at it. [name_m]Hjörtur[/name_m] knows that he can always talk to his dad or me (or his stepdad, who’s experienced his fair share of antisemitism) about anything racist he hears or anything that hurts him. [name_m]Hjörtur[/name_m] is pretty strong verbally, and we’ve taught him that’s okay to point out to someone what they’ve said is racist, as long as it’s done with respect.
I’m so sorry you have to deal with such shitty people!
Honestly, that’s the main reason I don’t want to go to predominantly white neighborhoods. I couldn’t stand my kid (she’s mixed too, half brown) being treated that way.
I clash with family members every time they say anything racist. Some people don’t even realize what they say IS racist and then I’m the one who’s overreacting, but I don’t care, protecting my child against anyone who will make her feel like her skin tone or her heritage on her dad’s side is in anyway less worthy than her mom’s is my priority. Luckily, I’ve never heard anyone saying anything racist about her (just talking s*** about people with the same heritage, and that’s not ok either)
But I still don’t have a way to deal… efficiently with it.
Lilia is a beautiful name btw
@Eirime thank you for responding it’s lovely to hear from a parent of a mixed race child. Honestly it’s soooo long. I do live in a village that’s predominantly white however everyone is so friendly and just adore [name_f]Lilia[/name_f]. Everyone in my village make such a fuss of her they give her their kids old toys, bring their dogs to my door for her to fuss over and the cafe always give her free cake we’re super lucky but I think it also helps that we live on the outskirts of a diverse area. Whereas where my folks are it’s very white it’s just horrible how certain individuals respond. I’m lucky that my family are very open minded, share diverse ancestry (my dad is Irish/Scottish traveller whereas mum is Ashkenazi Jewish) so racism within my family is a non issue it’s just long dealing with the outside community. I get why you get so frustrated
Thank you I love hearing positivity surrounding Lilia’s name!
Personally, I find the best way to start is to ask why they said what they just said. Of course this isn’t possible in every situation. If for example someone shouts the N word to you from across the street, you basically have no choice but to let it go.
Something that comes up often is people asking why Hjörtur’s skin is so dark, especially when he’s with us and not his dad, because neither me nor my husband are black. I always ask them why they want to know, and why it’s important. That simple question makes most people reflect on their own prejudice and behavior. Maybe not immediately, and some people do get angry, but I believe strongly in the fact that in the long run they’ll take something away from it.
If adults make hateful or racist remarks, I tell them what they just said was hurtful for my son or me. What I say after that depends on the situation. If I’m convinced someone didn’t have bad intentions, I tell them that I know they probably meant well, but the thing they said is racist because (for example) it makes my son feel like he is different / not as good as the other kids, or his skin tone doesn’t influence his learning abilities, etc. (Just giving examples here).
When it’s a child, I basically do the same thing. I ask them "why did you call him a monkey? and then I try to explain to them that it hurts my son, that he’s no different than them etc.
That’s completely normal, and only human. Sometimes I don’t know what to say, because I’m taken aback, horrified, or just exhausted, or already not in a good place mentally. Sometimes I want to say something, but I can’t think of anything because I’m too hurt or insulted, and when I come home I just cry and beat myself up over the fact that I didn’t speak up for my son, and I feel like I failed him. But nobody’s perfect. We can try our best, but we’re only human. We can’t fix the system or society by ourselves. Sometimes the best we can do is make our child feel loved, make sure they have a safe space.
Feel free to ask me more questions, or send me a private message. I’m happy to talk about it, but I’m also just struggling and trying my best. I don’t have all the answers and I’m nowhere near perfect.
Vienna is doing great, she’s such an easy baby… Most of the time
@Rosebeth thank you for your response it’s really lovely putting in so much time and energy into replying is really kind. I think asking why is a good way to start as it provokes a thought process and as others have said I think just saying that’s hurtful is a good way to go. I’m yet to experience it with children just adults kids have asked why her hair is different but a lot of kids have said I want her hair etc which is really sweet. Thank you also for the reassurance of recent I have been feeling a bit of a failure and like I’m not doing enough to protect my beautiful girl so thank you for the reassurance it’s beyond kind. It’s nice to know that you’re similar to me in a way that we are all just trying as being a mum is hard enough without the additional pressure off racism. Thank you will keep in mind that I can turn to you and it’s nice to know this
So happy to hear [name_f]Vienna[/name_f] is doing well
I am POC as well (Asian ethnicity) but what I can say is that I am very, VERY sorry that such things happened to you and your daughter. You really DONT deserve it also because I think that it is so wrong for strangers to make such rude comments or say / do such things to people they don’t even know, and they really should not do it to people they know, anyways. I am so sorry that your sweet and kind daughter has to face racism at such a young age and I know how stressful it can be for you.
But I mean, nowadays the world is so multicultural and of infinite facets and people of every kind exist. There is really nothing bad in being POC and your daughter should NEVER be ashamed of it. So please, for how hard it may be, expose your daughter to POC friendly people and media and consume media, follow writers, artists, influencers or music who talk about this topic or to [name_m]Black[/name_m] positive / mixed or black people who make art or some sort of it. I am not [name_m]Black[/name_m] nor mixed, and I do not know who those people will be, but I am sure there are a lot of them, because the world has changed in good and nowadays there is big representance of [name_m]Black[/name_m] folk as well. Teach your daughter to welcome every identity (as long of good faith and not harming to anyone else), ethnicity, background etc and create her a safe space. I am sorry to be honest, but maybe in future she will have to front worse racism, or maybe fortunally she won’t. In that case, I recommend to create a safe space for her and to try to develop since youth a sense of confidence in her, and support her.
I know how hard it can be for POC people to live in certain places sometimes and how stressful it is but make sure you get healing from that and assure yourself/selves that you have done nothing wrong and that you are an awesome mother and a great person who is already trying to do her best and your daughter is absolutely a sunshine and a rose, and a great young girl who brings happiness to this [name_f]Earth[/name_f] and will help it too. And screw those racist people, because they really, really don’t see the light in her, and I hope that they will change to realise there is nothing wrong in it.
Please tell your daughter and everyone who will be rude to her that no matter if a person is of any background they should be respected for being human and seeing their light. Really.
And I know that she might get weird questions. I got sometimes too, since I am an Italian person who is not white. And, I know that she might get insicure or have issues and crisis, I had too, when I was younger, but as long as you all will love yourselves as I learned to do, and have enough strength and courage to back off the people who don’t support you and tell them that nowadays well, the society is globalised and we are all humans; you will be fine. And I am here if you will always to talk about it, of course!
@heartwings thank you so much for your lovely kind heartened response I’m really grateful and it’s interesting to hear from a POC it’s really appreciated
I’m a little late to this, but I wanted to share my take as best I could. Many of my colored or ethnically different friends have received rude slurs against them. Unfortunately, it is rare that people change their mindsets, but it is clear that [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] will rise above any problems just from the initiative you take even now. With people I know, they have all handled it in different ways— [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] will find her own way as she grows, and make sure she knows violence is never the answer! I wish people wouldn’t take something like appearance into account so much, because clearly those that make comments as such are the lesser, and not [name_f]Lilia[/name_f]. I do like the ideas of [name_m]Black[/name_m] artwork around the house, I’ll add the idea of some toys that look like both her and you for her to play with so she can see everyone living in harmony, and I agree with all of the PP posters on what you should say to those who make the comments. Much love to you and [name_f]Lilia[/name_f], [name_f]Tori[/name_f]!
@clair.de.lune thank you so much I agree about the black toys/books etc I’ve got her black dollies and books but honestly I just need to install black positivity within her
@tori101 check the H4H dolls, a friend got the [name_f]Rahel[/name_f] doll for my daughter’s 2nd birthday, and it’s not only the cutest black doll I’ve ever seen, it’s the cutest doll I’ve ever seen period. I usually find dolls creepy, but those are adorable.
I’ve found this post by evolvedteacher helpful in outlining three different options for responding to racism (1. Indirect 2. Direct 3. Educational). It’s been good reference for considering which option might be better in different circumstances.