10 Ways White Parents Can Support Their Biracial or Multiracial Kid
This post was co-authored by Samantha Stein, PsyD, with guest writer Catherine Anderson, an educational facilitator working with individuals, groups, schools, and organizations interested in addressing equity and culturally responsive and sustainable practices. She is also a veteran public school educator and parent of Black and mixed race children in Providence, Rhode Island.
The United States is rapidly becoming a more ethnically and racially diverse country, and the fastest growing group is those who identify with two or more races. Between 2010 and 2020, this group saw a 36 percent increase, which is far greater than any other group.
This means there are a growing number of parents who are raising children who do not share their children’s lived experience of race and ethnicity. This is especially true for White parents who are/will be raising children who are bi- or multiracial and have had no experience of racism. This article can serve as a starter guide for those White parents and caregivers taking on the challenging job of parenting along with the additional challenge of raising kids who will have a very different lived experience than themselves. What follows are 10 ways you can support your bi- or mutiracial child.
- Throw away fantasy phrases and beliefs such as “color doesn’t matter” and “there is no race, only the human race.” While that is, in essence, true, it is not today’s reality. We would all like to live in a world that embodies those phrases, but unfortunately that world doesn’t yet exist. Your child will and has most likely already experienced racism. In our world today, color matters.
- Accept that you will never understand what your child is experiencing. You can (and should) be curious and informed but that is very different from having a shared experience with them. You will likely experience some prejudice yourself for having a mixed race family and this may give you a window to their experience, but it is still different. Honor that difference and name it. To say “I understand” can feel dismissive of what they’re sharing and negates their lived experience.
- Shift your perspective about Whiteness being the “norm.” Dominant culture views itself as the norm and everything else in reference…