Tuesday, October 17, 2017

5 Ways You Can Help Support My Bi-racial Sons

We just got home from a discussion at our church about racism and race issues, both in our country and church. My brain is spinning with all that was talked about and since I hadn't blogged yet today, I thought this would be the perfect thing to write about right now. 
I want to be very clear before I start, that none of these points are directed at any specific person, or group of people. They are just things we have experienced in general, or know friends of color have experienced. We want to help educate people because when we know better, we do better. One thing that my husband mentioned tonight is that so many people just think "I know I'm not racist, and racial issues don't affect me, so, whatever" and have that sort of mentality, which can be harmful. I'm certainly not pointing any fingers because I used to do that exact thing. Sometimes ignorance can be hurtful and harmful and affect people we love. I don't want to come across as deeply offended, or harsh. I say all of these things out of love, for my sons, for my friends and to educate those who simply don't know better yet. I also want to say that although I am specifically talking about my sons here, you can apply these ideas elsewhere. 

1. Please try to refrain from touching my son's hair out of curiosity. I am not referring to a loving pat on the head that you would give to any child. I am talking about coming up, running your fingers through his curls and commenting on how you've always wondered what "this kind" of hair feels like. (Yes, this happens...often). I know the heart behind most people who do this, however, I never want my son to feel like he's on display or that his body is open to anyone to touch. I understand curiosity about things you are unfamiliar with. Instead of touching his hair, you can compliment him on how beautiful it is, or you can ask me about his hair. I love it and would love to tell you how I take care of it! Another reason this can be a problem is because of the time and effort I put into caring for his hair. One person coming up and giving his hair a good tousle can really mess it up for the day, which can be frustrating. I know most people don't know what it is like to care for hair like this, so I know it's not malicious in any way. 

2. Please do not label or group my children based on their race. Labeling them with words like mulatto (here is an explanation on why this term is offensive) is hurtful. Asking me "so...what are they?" could certainly be reworded. Grouping them with people who look like them only because of the fact that they look alike is not right. Certainly, if they are playing with other children with brown skin that is completely fine. I am talking about intentionally placing them in a group only because of their race. 

3. Please do not make assumptions about my sons based on their race. Assuming that they will play a specific sport because "their people" (not my words) do, or assuming they have a specific behavior because another child of the same race does is unfair to them. Just as you would not want me to project the behaviors of another child or the aspirations of a teenager with similarities to your child, onto your child, I also don't want you to do so to mine. We hope and pray that people will see "the content of their character."

4. Please ask me or my husband questions! We are constantly learning and want to help others to do the same. We love having open dialogue with people who have a heart for all people and want to know better and do better. If you aren't sure if something is offensive, please ask or research it! 

5. Please talk to your children about race! Have a plethora of books and toys with lots of diversity. Answer their questions honestly, and encourage them to see and celebrate the differences in other people! I used to say I was "color blind" in saying that I didn't "see" race because I love all people, when really what I should have said is that I do see differences in people and I love them and celebrate those differences, no matter what they are.

I am so thankful for all of the many, many people who love and support my sons and our family, and I hope my heart is evident in this post! I know this can be a sensitive topic for some people. I was once in a place where I didn't know these things, but now that I do, I want to pass on my knowledge in hopes that more people can learn and grow. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...