Raising biracial or multiracial children isn’t a band-aid you can slap onto the festering wound that is racism.
Hi! It’s your local multiracial feminist here to remind you to stop weaponizing biracial and multiracial kids for the sake of making white supremacists angry. We have our own experiences, traumas and perceptions. We don’t simply exist to make people angry, so stop dehumanizing us as if we were grenades.
It’s been a common theme for a while now, and I remember hearing it countless times growing up: you have the best of both worlds and it’s people like you who will end racism! Cool. So, um, nope. It doesn’t work that way, in fact, it never has — and, very often, children with multiple ethnicities have identity issues and face a specific type of discrimination and racism.
I have always struggled with perceptions of: not white enough, not Kenyan enough, not Indian enough. I’m stuck at a crossroads where my understanding of blackness and whiteness is unique, and so it is rather alienating, but it isn’t anywhere near as difficult as being a darkskinned Black person. I have dedicated my life to dismantling white supremacy, misogyny, colonialism and capitalism, but I don’t weaponize my racial identity to do so.
People’s favorite “woke” bae tweeted this last week and I could feel my blood boil:
Biracial twins are the universe's beautiful answer to white supremacists https://t.co/QHcjuKlUX9
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) March 10, 2017
When non-biracial or non-multiracial people say things like this, it feels dehumanizing to be thrown to the frontlines of a war without those people even fully attempting to understand our experiences with race and racism.
It’s hard to ignore the underlying current of anti-blackness when discussing biracial kids with a non-Black parent: when you want cute brown babies with European features and 3B curls, you’re talking about a dilution of blackness as a response to white supremacy, and frankly that doesn’t make sense. Frankly, I don’t want to be used as an example for your fetish of “exotic women.”
It’s violent and cruel to use us as examples of progress when interracial relationships between Black people, non-Black people of color and white people, aren’t free of white supremacy, anti-blackness and colorism. You can fuck a Black person and still be anti-Black.
The social attitudes and reactions of people around my family when I was growing up weren’t always positive. It was actually traumatic to witness the behaviors of white people who were incensed at my parents for being together. Being with lighter-skin children didn’t stop my mother from being spat at by a white woman who told us to move to the back of the bus. Biracial children did indeed make white supremacists angry, but at a cost.
I'd call you a Nazi but that wouldn't offend you. So: I hope your children fall in love w people of color & make beautiful biracial babies. https://t.co/ORGxa04hmG
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 12, 2017
Being biracial or multiracial doesn’t stop white parents from teaching their kids internalized racism and colorism. Not all interracial relationships begin with a white partner who has a deep understanding of systemic racism, white privilege and colorism. Undoing privilege and anti-blackness is a lifelong endeavor.
My white husband knows more about dismantling white supremacy and misogynoir than my white father did, because our relationship wouldn’t work without him dedicating himself to that. My parents’ relationship was complicated, and ended in divorce because my parents weren’t honest about their differences.
Raising biracial or multiracial children isn’t a band-aid you can slap onto the festering wound that is racism. White people have to confront their own biases and privilege in order to begin doing that. Considering how many silly photosets of biracial families I see in T-shirts that say, “Not white, not black, just human,” I’m gonna assume that’s not going to happen any time soon.
Featured photo by Javcon117. Creative commons license.