When we first started working on MiXD, it was a quest to create a community that we didn't think existed. As we did our homework, we realized there were dozens (hundreds, probably) of websites, Twitter hashtags, podcasts, and other resources for mixed people and families. But, it was a part-time job to find them, and that's why MiXD will soon release its Guide to the Internet for the MiXD Community! This post is a taste of what will be included.
If you're a mom, you don't want to miss Navigating Multiracial Motherhood One Day at a Time, which is hosted by Diedre Anthony who was featured right here on MiXD Life last week! (Side note: you can enter to win a copy of her book here now through 7/31!)
After you've read your MiXD Life article for the week (smile), head on over to My American Melting Pot for what creator Lori Tharps calls "cultural, colorful, and controversial" conversation.
You'll be missing out if you don't follow Multiracial Media, where you'll find great articles, podcasts, videos, and more, curated by Alex Barnett and Sarah Ratcliff, who both have personal connections to the community.
Today's guest post is from Diedre Anthony, a full-time school counselor, mother, and wife. In her blog, Are Those Your Kids?, she focuses on her experiences of raising her biracial kids in an interracial marriage. Her posts are filled with helpful tips about raising children, diversity, and curly hair as well as entertaining stories and anecdotes. She has been published by the Huffington Post, Babble & Red Tricycle.
I remember growing up on an Air Force base where interracial families were the norm. I attended school with both military and nonmilitary kids. I remember my peers asking biracial kids what they were mixed with, and the discomfort it caused them. I never understood their discomfort until having biracial kids of my own.Later that evening as I replayed the exchange in my head, my feelings changed to fury. A day that was supposed to be a fun shopping day left me confused and disheartened by one question.
I was 27. A new young mother who was utterly in love with her light skinned baby. I was shocked that people were so obsessed with the idea of our family not matching. I was used to people asking my husband and I if it was one check or two. I didn't associate their question with race--I thought they just asked because we lived in a college town and were looked young (after all black doesn't crack, right?)
Now as a seasoned mom of three, I don't get that question as much. Maybe it's because my girls actually look like me now. Or because in the summer, their skin is brown instead of tan. I'm not sure of the reason, but now I'm ready for it. I've realized that I don't owe anyone an explanation for my family dynamics.
My family's racial makeup is no one's business and I don't have to discuss it IF I DON'T WANT TO. As my children age, I know that this is something they will be faced with. Their peers will be enamored with their hair or features and they may have questions about why they look the way they do.
I never want my children to experience a moment when they are either unsure of how to identify or ashamed of who they are. One of the ways I work to instill confidence in my children is by having age appropriate conversations with them. We talk about the things they have in common with me and my husband. We not only discuss our physical features, but also mannerisms, likes and dislikes. We recently had a son and he is three months old. He is a little lighter than the girls, and they like to comment that he is close to their skin color.
My youngest daughter told a stranger the other day that one day his skin color will match. The lady looked stunned and wasn't sure how to respond. I laughed because to my children, these kinds of conversations are normal. We look at skin color as just one facet of who we are--it doesn't make us any better or worse than anyone else. This message is especially important to me given the climate in our country right now. There are so many hidden messages in the media that cause great concern for brown people.
I worry about the day my children will learn about black history in this country and associate it with me. We haven't had those conversations yet because they are too young. But one day, we will have them. Despite the difficult nature, it is my responsibility to raise world conscious children. No matter how the world chooses to identify them, I will raise them to know that they are biracial.
I will raise them to treat all people with respect, and to respect people whose ideas and lifestyles differ from theirs. Those kinds of lessons start when they are small. We started reading books with minority characters and diverse families before my children could even sit up. In my house, diversity is their normal. For some families, diversity is not their normal. They are in interracial families and struggle with having those deeper conversations about race and differences.
Today we feature findSisterhood, an app by women, for women that offers a "safe place to ask anonymous questions you have always wanted to ask other women without having to reveal your identity". findSisterhood was launched by Ana Pompa Alarcon Rawls, and as you'll read it was her mixed background that helped inspire her business.
MiXD Life: You’re in the business of connecting people. Why do you think it’s important for mixed people and families to connect?
I think the most important factor for myself is finding things we have on common. Whether it's the same language, being moms, political views, or being immigrants. I find that as soon as there is this thing we can connect over the first barrier is gone and we can connect on a deeper level. Finding other people who are mixed provides an instant connection!
MiXD Life: Before you go, tell us one fun fact about yourself!
Ana: My company from women by women was actually started by me and my husband together. He was the very first "sister" from findSisterhood.
You can download the findSisterhood app from iTunes and follow them on Twitter for updates!