In many communities, people are really into viewing the world through a colorblind lense. That is to say, they feel they ignore the differences between people of different races and cultures. You may have heard people say, “Oh, I don’t see color.” “There is no difference between you and me, we’re the same inside.”
This is a form of racism, it is damaging to all POC, and we need to be especially sure we don’t fall into this trap.
Seeing our own babies as who they truly are, and insisting the rest of the world do the same, is the only way we can appreciate them fully, and encourage their healthy emotional development. The part of them that is another race is always there, even if you turn a blind eye to it. It negates their experiences, and can even send the signal that you believe their other culture is something to be ashamed of.
Avoiding talking about race will not end racism.
Instead, we must:
- Teach our children through a process known as racial socialization. This means that we must give our children the awareness of their racial identity (tell them what race(s) they are), acknowledge that sometimes people may treat them differently, or in a way that makes them sad simply because of their race, and then bolster them with stories, songs and movies of his/her race(s) living their best lives.
- Our Hapa babies flourish when we learn all we can about their other culture and embrace the language and traditions of that culture.
- Consciously seek out friends for your child who are different from them. Find playmates of all different cultures and races to help your child experience differences as an exciting part of other friends.
- Teach your kid that while race does matter (especially in our mixing-pot society), it is certainly not the only or even the most important thing about a person.
- Celebrate Black History month by learning something new about Black culture every February, celebrate Asian History Month by celebrating something about your child’s heritage every May, etc. Celebrate diversity in all its forms!
Though this can be a really hard thing for some of us, especially if we were raised using a color-blind parenting style, it is worth every moment of our effort. When our children are able to be clear about how they treat others and how they expect to be treated, they have a much better chance of being treated that way!