It Finally Happened

donna sparrow1 It Finally Happened multiracial parenting  teens multiracial / mixed identity

Our daughter, Devaney, was over at her friend’s house last month and it finally happened – that ugly thing that parents, of other races, have had to help their children navigate for hundreds of years before today. Her friend’s older brother had some of his buddies over playing basketball and, when Devaney went inside, one intelligence challenged boy stated that Dev should go back to where she came from (Is he talking about my womb?!). It’s true that while the mixed-race phenomenon is on the rise, we white folk have some catching up to do in the arena of teaching this part to our children. I had to think about this. I looked carefully at her pretty face as I still thought about this, and then I asked her how it made her feel.

“It made me feel bad. My friends just told him that I wasn’t an immigrant, that I was half black. He just said ‘Oh, whatever’ and then kept playing. They told me what he said when I came back outside. I acted like it didn’t bother me, but inside I felt like screaming at him.” Her big, beautiful, brown eyes remained downcast toward the floor.

Look at me. Look at me, Devaney. You should feel bad…but not for you. You should feel bad for him. It’s a sad thing that, sometime during the short sixteen years that boy’s been on this earth, someone else spoke to him about, and instilled in him, such stupidity. You should feel bad that, chances are, he is someday going to instill in his own children that same stupidity. Did you ask him what Native American tribe he is a member of? He must have some tribal affiliation if he’s concerning himself with any type of immigration…considering that all of the rest of us came from somewhere else.

Listen to me now, Baby. It’s time you start preparing intelligent and rational responses to this type of mess because when the time comes that you do personally respond, you will have to counter such a lack of intelligence with a superior form of it. Uneducated people such as this will sound even more ridiculous (even to those around them they were trying to impress in the first place) when their mindlessness is countered by the cognizant and versed truth you will spit at them.

Always be proud of who you are. Always remember that your joy cannot be stolen, it can only be given away. Always be classy, compassionate, rational and enlightened - as to not perpetuate the stereotypes they are trying to hate you for in the first place. Always know that God designed and created you, to this detail, for a specific purpose. Always shine with the brilliance of the light He put in you, and the darkness of the world will crumble under the weight of its own hatefulness.

I love you, you spectacular, phenomenal, extraordinary, stunning, marvelous, astonishing, fabulous, breathtaking, illuminating, brilliant, remarkable, dazzling, sensational, prodigious gift to us all!

And like you said yourself - “Haters are your biggest fans!”

 

[original]


Donna Sparrow avatar 80x80 It Finally Happened multiracial parenting  teens multiracial / mixed identity

Donna Sparrow

Donna is a married and happy mother of five mixed-race children. She and her husband Antonio are college sweethearts who also raised his seven siblings, many with special needs, for nearly two decades. Along the way they have navigated the ups and downs of being a blended, black, white, and brown family. Donna celebrates each day of blessings and embraces her family’s “interraciality” through poetry, anecdotes, and glimpses into her beautifully chaotic life on her blog www.ThisNest.com. The Sparrows can also be found on twitter @ThisNest
Donna Sparrow avatar 80x80 It Finally Happened multiracial parenting  teens multiracial / mixed identity
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Comments

  1. says

    This hurts my heart!  When I read the title I was hoping it wasn’t this, I guess I was wishing the world had changed in the past 10 years or so.  Since before I can remember this has been one of my fears for my child.  Now that I have a little girl I am constantly thinking of ways to prepare her for the hatred of the world without taking away her innocence.  This world is full of evil, and unfortunately it was passed down to this child by his parents. Horrible!  Even if she wasn’t Mixed and her parents were immigrants this should of never been said!  How is it his place to judge who belongs and who doesn’t.  Your reaction needs to be applauded because you reacted with dignity and in that instant you showed your daughter how to overcome this non-sense and not be lowered to their standards.  You showed one of the hardest things for many of us to do, pick ourselves up walk with pride and show who’s the better person.

  2. says

    This hurts my heart!  When I read the title I was hoping it wasn't this, I guess I was wishing the world had changed in the past 10 years or so.  Since before I can remember this has been one of my fears for my child.  Now that I have a little girl I am constantly thinking of ways to prepare her for the hatred of the world without taking away her innocence.  This world is full of evil, and unfortunately it was passed down to this child by his parents. Horrible!  Even if she wasn't Mixed and her parents were immigrants this should of never been said!  How is it his place to judge who belongs and who doesn't.  Your reaction needs to be applauded because you reacted with dignity and in that instant you showed your daughter how to overcome this non-sense and not be lowered to their standards.  You showed one of the hardest things for many of us to do, pick ourselves up walk with pride and show who's the better person.

  3. says

    You give excellent advice! Always remember… 
    This may be the first time, but it will likely not be the last. You have definitely given your daughter (and all of our children) reminders about what it means to be strong and to rise above…

  4. says

    Donna, I adore this post.  I just can't say enough about the amazing skills that you are cultivating in your home and the ammunition that you are preparing your children with.  These types of conversations are so important for instilling confidence in our kids when they begin to doubt themselves.  I love your take on this!

  5. says

    What a beautiful daughter and wonderful mom!  This brought tears to my eyes!  Your advice was wonderful.  I hope when (because I too know one day it will happen) my son is confronted with such ignorance I will have the same great advice you gave to your daughter.
    Thank you for sharing this story with us all.

  6. Kesha fisher says

    I love that I could imagine you so calmly telling her how to deal with this "issue."  I think what draws me to you is that sense of peace in your voice when you talk.  I hope that I am as prepared as you were to handle that ugly thing so brilliantly.  You are the epitome of positivity and I am happy to know you.

  7. says

    I just got chills. As a mom to a nearly 2 year biracial child, my heart trembles with pain AND anger at the thought of some ignorant person hurting my baby so. Hopefully I will never have to revisit this post, but if my sweet Alina goes through something like this, I will come back to this and remember how one savvy momma taught her daughter to deal.

  8. Anonymous says

    Powerful. and the saddest part of all is that it will not stop at childhood. Good thing she has wise parents. 

  9. Anonymous says

    I really love this post.  I speaks wonders for how you should react.

    I am a 23 year old biracial child with a white mother and a jamaican father… I think the most hurtful thing ever said to me was when I was in I think 4th grade, mainly caucasian elementary school, and a school mate boy asked me if I was adopted because my mom or aunt(on my moms side) would always take me or pick me up from school.  I sternly said no and proudly said I was mixed and any time any one asked if I was black I would say no, I was brown.  I sometimes wish my mom would have had that talk with me but at the same time I think she didn't because she didn't want me to feel different, because I'm not.  But, I do think it is important for interracial families that have children do help there kids along the way. I love this post though

  10. Juanita says

    Your daughter is beautiful! So sad we still have to talk to our children about this ignorance! As a 100% Mexican growing up I heard all sorts of stupid comments. My children are mixed, and I will be sure to talk to the them about the differences that make them wonderful. Too bad others may not always know enough to appreciate that. I will be happy when these tough conversations are a thing of the past.

  11. says

    BRAVO for this wonderful response! A smart parent, like you, will help her child NOT to internalize racism of any sort! That is what my mom did for us and we (my siblings and I) are ALL successful, beautiful, educated, contributing, socially aware, and PROUD biracial citizens of the world! If *I* had been there I would have had a few choice words for him, but your sweet daughter handled it well. Keep on!

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