Supporting Mixed Heritage Children as a White Mum
30 May 2020 at 7:47 am #40490
I am looking for some advice my daughter is half Nigerian and half White British she is 17 years old and has never had any contact with her biological father, we live in a predominantly white area and most children who attend her high school are also white.
Last night she read all about the absolutely horrific George Floyd story and cried because she feels unsafe for the first time she is realising that people may be targeted due to their skin colour, (we have never experienced any racism up to this point) how do I support her through this? I can empathise, sure I can but I don’t know how it feels. I guess she feels completely alone with no other black influence in her life and that must be really hard. How do I make this better for her? Of course we had a conversation about George Floyd and I tried to get across the point that although this case was particularly horrible there are many black/ ethnic minority who live peaceful lives without any hate. In America thankfully this behaviour is not the norm it is disgusting but we can take some comfort in the amounts of people from all walks of life you are now behind that family to get justice.
Are there any other mixed heritage families who have struggled with this?30 May 2020 at 11:12 am #40494
Of course there is racism everywhere and they take different forms . Personally I think it’s good to expose children to this as letting them live in a protective bubble will set them oup for a might y fall when they are older !
We live in London so there is everyone of different nationalities who we can learn from. I have been spat at because of my colour and my parents were treated like dogs when they arrived in this country. They came to work and bought their first house 2 years after arriving with nothing . If you look on website there.are cultural events that are promoted to bring people together .it’s open to everyone despite their race !!our lovely Nigerian nanny goes to lots of meetups around UK30 May 2020 at 4:22 pm #40500
Hi Sarahwk. I am a single dad and my 8year old and she is mixed race. I am Black African and her mum is White but we are lucky because here in Bradford there is a bit of different races. I had a number of single parents mum I used to chat with as friends here on gingerbread but because I didn’t put picture on my profile I used to have a good chat and laugh with them but once I disclosed that I am Black African, I never got a reply from them.This hurt me so deeply and came to realise that racism is still in some people even if they don’t talk about it but it’s deeply in their hearts.It is so sad how a normal human being judges someone basing on skin colour and we will all die and leave our skins in graves.30 May 2020 at 5:41 pm #40502
Yes I fully get that.my child is mixed race and looks nothing like me .I have been asked if I’m the nanny or that is not your child .. honestly its disgusting but you just don’t bother with ignorant uneducated people !!30 May 2020 at 7:35 pm #40506
Hi Sarah, I totally understand your concerns and feel that no matter how progressive the UK has become there are definelty still some hatefully, ignorant attitudes around. I grew up in Dagenham where the last Sunday of every month BNP held their meetings, a very strange time! My mother was Sierra Leonean and Father was German, my maternal grandparents got fed up with the situation in the area and with my mother’s methods of shielding me from our rich culture, so I could blend in with white counterparts, so sent me away for three years schooling in Sierra Leone. Identifying with culture is very important to all individuals. Your daughter may be feeling confused, angry and scared by what she has learnt of the recent events in the US, she hasn’t had the need to learn of coping mechanisms for this type of hatred. Your daughter needs to be exposed to her culture, immersed in our bright, embracing way of life so that she may be empowered through her identity. This is a situation that will never go away. I realise that you live in a white area but perhaps find ways of introducing your daughter to both parts of her heritage would be far more beneficial for her in the long run.30 May 2020 at 10:04 pm #40509
I am a white mother to 2 mixed race children. Their father is Black African and they look nothing like me 😉 Thankfully my boys have not experienced any incidents yet (we do live in Dagenham now, Mumof2 😉 ) and their friends circle is a mix of all I’d say.
It is hard as white mother to support mixed raced children, specifically when you are not in touch with the other parent. Not sure how to advise, are there any black culture events in the place you live ? Meetups ? Associations ? Churches ? Your daughter is 17 y.o., maybe she could read some books about her heritage for starters and then go to to some more racism targeting specific books like Akala ?
I was always trying to encourage my boys to read books where their race is involved. They are not easy to find but do exist. My older son loves Noughts and Crosses series for example. They do have contact with their father and have been in his country. It must be confusing and hard for a child to be ‘a minority’ and it’s hardbreaking, because we don’t really know what to do and how to react since we have never been exposed to any incidents related to the colour of our skin.30 May 2020 at 10:11 pm #40510
Sherinam, i get that very often, from looks to the questions if i am ‘the mother’. I will never forget being on the DLr train in London, on the same carriage as my boys, where some people started browsing through the passengers on the carriage thinking and commenting quite loudly ‘what kind of mother allowed her two little kids to sit on the carriage unattended’. Obviously they were looking around and seeking black woman, you should have seen their faces when i opened my mouth and said that my children are with their parent thank you very much 😉31 May 2020 at 1:08 am #40512
Hi Dorota, 30 years ago when I lived in Dagenham it was A very different scene. I understand Dagenham is far more diverse now and that is so so good. The BNP meetings were held in the Becontree pub past the station, hopefully that nasty place has been demolished.
@Sarah – Whilst base level information can be sought from books, I don’t think that can compensate from interacting with peers. Only a person of colour can detect unseen racism, I understand your empathy, I do, but even your statement of the race murder of George Lloyd not being the “norm” in the US, !!!!!!! I find a little naive.
Unfortunately these crimes do not make local news, much less international! This is a way of life in the US. It’s a given that if you are black you are at fault. If you would like links for the hundreds (yes hundreds) of black men/women/teens murdered needlessly in the US over just the last few years I will gladly share these with you for your own research.1 June 2020 at 10:24 am #40533
Yes i know. I have a friend who bought a house in Dagenham in 2000 and she was scared to open her mouth when walking the streets. She is from Kosovo. It’s definitely more diversed now, but I am sure old imperial sentiments are still strong in this area.4 June 2020 at 1:27 am #40630
I am a white English mum of my 2 dual heritage kids. I live in a mixed area and my kids experience racism, whether thats on an institutional, societal, cultural or personal level. Racism is ingrained in all levels of society. The horrific murder of George has deeply upset and angered us as a family. My children created tiktok clips in memory of George, talked with me about how they feel, and are processing this in the midst of lockdown. It is a stark reminder that racism is alive in Uk. you are helping your daughter to process things by talking, and giving the perspective that many people are kind and considerate. I cannot believe that your daughter has never experienced racism maybe this is the right time to have a convo, you seem a great supportive parent. Ask her about her experience at school with racism. even tho my kids dad is toxic i talk about his country and culture in a positive way. Im sure you do this anyway!9 June 2020 at 2:07 pm #40783
Hi all, just wanted to drop you all a note to say thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my question. It’s reassuring to know we are not alone. There are some really great suggestions in your comments which I will certainly try.
I clearly have some learning to do myself the events over the last week or so have taught me that. We have made a few links with other mixed heritage groups so hopefully having open conversations and learning about others experiences will all help.
Thanks again and take care10 June 2020 at 9:10 pm #40840
I have yet to get any problems from my mixed race little boy as he is 3. We live in a 99.9% white area. He is starting reception in September in a Welsh language school and i think he may be one of the only children with different heritage in the school. I’m just reading all your posts and you all make me feel better that hopefully he will have lesser problems than I was expecting. As I don’t have any friends in the area mixed race to ask or know alot of people to find out from as we havnt lived here long.11 June 2020 at 6:28 am #40856
I am a mother of a child who is 7 years and is mixed race, she is half Nigerian, her father does have some contact with her but not much. I am also an auntie to three other mixed race children. I always taught them to be proud of who they are, and never feel ashamed, we have experienced rude and racist comments, and I have explained to them, these people wasnt born racist but was taught racism, they are a small minority and that’s their opinion doesn’t matter, and if they ever feel intimidated or threatened by people like this, dont involve their self in violence unless it’s to defend their self and to call the police straight away. They should never have to feel scared because of their skin colour, they are who they are and they are beautiful in every way. We do need to stand up to racism and society cant keep standing by and just watching, but we do need to do it in a smart and productive way and do it the right way, and never resort to violence.xxxx.