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well, i haven't had that experience yet. I am caucasian and my daughter is Hispanic (Puerto Rican). Where we live now there are a lot of Asian-American kids (especially Chinese) so she doesn't stand out as the only non-white kid in her kindergarten class. But I did have a situation a couple of months ago in a drugstore waiting for a prescription for my daughter who was pretty sick. A man asked me out of the blue if my husband was Colombian or Italian. I was dumb founded. I asked what was he talking about? he said because my daughter was so dark. I was speechless but was able to tell him he was a rude man. That was the straw that broke the camel's back - he had done some other inappropriate things while we were there too. When my daughter was a toddler, we were at a picnic with some families who were part of a Mom's and Tots group we went to. We were very open about our adoption and we were discussing it when one of the fathers said, "well by being with you she'll never know (that she's hispanic.)" I never had any intention of hiding it.
All you can do is follow the lead of Halle Berry's mother which i thought was great. At one point she took Halle and stood her in front of a mirror. She said, "The world will see you as a African American woman. That is who you are. Embrace it." What strong words from a white mother to her black child. Regardless of your child's race, raise him to have pride in himself. learn together about the culture, famous people and their contributions to the world.
And when the name calling starts just say there are angry people in the world, there are scared people in the world and there are jealous people in the world. They do not matter at all. You know who you are...hold your head high, walk tall and be proud.
Hope this helps. of course, if my daughter is ever called a name i will probably go ballistic on the parent and the kid...i hope i remember my own advice :)
Laurie - posted on 05/23/2009
My best advice would be a question really. Have you made a strong effort to get to know the other families in your immediate neighborhood? The kids that surround us and their parents, while not biracial, have been a tremendous support. Much like a group of cousins would be. I had never ventured much outside until one of my neighbors made the effort. The impact for our kids has been impossible to overstate. They are a little "gang" at school. Everyone belongs. My son shoved someone who insulted his friend (ok so not so great)
Another place to make connections for the strength in numbers may be your church if you have one. You might consider going to a few services at a diverse/liberal church like the Disciples of Christ,or to a synagouge/mosque in the city if you are more suburban and have no church home.
I was also plesantly surprised by the number of biracial/AA children who play basketball (I know stereotypical) at my gym after school. We switched the time we work out to more match the schedule.
The other advice I would mention is to understand that kids do call names. We all went through it (Although you appear to be beautiful in your photo so maybe you were lucky) The racial difference will stand out just as having a disability would, or being the overweight kids would. Kids pick the most obvious to jeer. I think race may hurt more but the kids are most likely just repeating what they have overheard. It might be helpful if your son knew that and understood they are mindless imbiciles.
I wish I knew a better way to respond but I felt one thing I could not teach was how it felt to be discriminated against for something other than gender. Hopefully you can find more numbers for him and a positive role model who can better answer the question of how to hold your self in esteem as a transracial man.
eeew-is it more than just the usual name calling?? I have an almost 9 year old adopted (not transracial) daughter-and the kids at school are just mean. My only suggestion is to talk to them about how to control themselves-you/the child can't control what others say-only how they react-I've seen lists of ways to make combacks on adoption-maybe some of these could apply(you know-the she's not really your mom things). Sorry I can't help more-my transracial son is only a year old...
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