sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:50 am
@DrewDad,
Yes, that's a great method! Works better than you'd think, especially for that age.

I think sozlet was maybe a little older when "advice" worked well. (The puppet or some unseen "friend" has a problem [the kid's problem], and you ask the kid for advice. I got a lot of insight that way.)
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:55 am
@DrewDad,
this is done at her daycare too.
good idea.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 07:33 am
@shewolfnm,
Shewolf, very interesting topic. I'm sorry I didn't see it sooner. We have had similar conversations. My husband is from Morocco, which is more or less a mixed race country. He is dark, but not African American in the traditional sense. We use "brown" to describe him. I've told my kids that there are many shades of brown. Ducklet got in an argument with a girl at after care once who told her that her father couldn't be brown or she wouldn't have blond hair. So we have lots of discussions about this kind of stuff. Soz's advice about asking more questions is excellent and I find that usually gets the full story out of their mouths. For instance, that fight Ducklet had, she didn't just come out and tell me that she had a fight, she said "am I brown or white"? I told her she is light brown, Baba is brown, I'm peach. But that it's just a way to describe skin, nothing more.

Good luck. This is hard to get right and never ending.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 07:37 am
@cjhsa,
cjhsa wrote:

Back to the basics.

I hunt with three other people. One of them is of mixed race. He's the best hunter of the crew.

I mention this because you should put Jillian into the ASP (Archery in Schools Program). One of the finest extracurricular programs going and nobody cares what you look like. Can you shoot a sharp stick? Happy fall!


Laughing No offense, cj, and I know you really are trying to be helpful here, but I find it hilarious that your solution to almost every problem is to learn how to shoot things. Bean might be a little bit young to need confidence building of the kind you're talking about -- maybe come middle school.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 07:39 am
@shewolfnm,
shewolfnm wrote:
I have always been proud of the Native American side of me.
African american? Not so much..

Do you think she picks up on that at all?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 07:45 am
All of my life, I have been mistaken for something other - Mexican, Puerto Rican, Italian, Jewish - whatever. It is something that makes me feel unique, and I have always smiled inwardly when it happens, even when the other person is abusive about it. But, my children have rarely had to experience that. We never had internal race problems - just a few when neighbors got in our face with their problems.

I am a mix of Dutch, English, Irish, Choctaw, Cherokee, Tejas and Irish. I believe my wife is a Pole, but she does not know what she is.

I think humor and openness is the best way to deal with a child who is questioning their color. I suspect your child has met someone that tells her black is not a good color to be.
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 10:33 am
@edgarblythe,
I have had similar experiences. Chicago has a variety of ethnic neighborhoods. When I walk into a Jewish bakery, the women treat me as if I am a nice Jewish boy. In Mexican neighborhoods, people have spoken Spanish to me. At a Greek restaurant, they assumed I was Greek. German Chicagoans told me I look French rather than German.

I was born in Germany of German parents. One of my blond, blue-eyed aunts told me that I acquired my looks from Roman ancestry (Germany was settled by Romans in 200 A.D.)

Some of my father's grandparents came from Silesia (which is now part of Poland). One of my mother's grandparents was Spanish.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 11:07 am
@wandeljw,
wandel, If you walk into a Japanese restaurant, they'll speak to you in Japanese; "irrashai" means welcome. he he he...
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 11:44 am
One thing I know for sure. The Bean is the most beautiful child I've ever seen because of her mixed heritage. It didn't impede her being one of the smartest little girls I've met.

BBB

0 Replies
 
Quincy
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:16 pm
I too am the child of a black mother and white father. It is difficult. I don't fit in anywhere. I can't really relate to white people or to black people. Nobody relates to me. I myself (and my sister) get asked if I am white or black, as if that matters to them. This is not an easy topic. I'm certainly not angry at my parents. I'm happy wih who I am. I wasn't always. It's no fun being left out because you're neither here nor there. Eventually as I got older I got over it. I only very, very recently got over the fact that I am also a bastard and the son of a Jew and a Chritian. I am not making any of this up. There's nothing really you can say, eventually your child has to come to terms with it and that's something they must figure out on their own. You can't relate unless you are the same. However, she must not reject any one side of her family, as I did when I was younger. The result: I was a very tortured and unhappy child. Now I just accept my lot and make the most of it. (It doesn't really matter to me, as I am a nihilist, but I doubt your daughter is).

She has to know she is both black and white. Maybe at home there isn't much in the way of your relatives, which is why she talks as she does. Perhaps more time with her black relatives. She is still a child, and very much open to influence, sadly, much you can't control. Among family of course I am not looked at as odd, but by everyone else yes. You can only do what you are able and leave her to figure out things for herself.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:36 pm
I was an adopted child who didn't learn it until I was ten years old. It explained why I always felt like I didn't fit in with my adopted family. I was just different from all of them.

I wonder if some by-racial children have the same feelings?

BBB

0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 01:08 pm
@shewolfnm,
wish i'd come across the topic sooner, not that i have any brilliant insight. still, the important thing is the word "look"--she "looks" white, i.e. it's mainly superficial appearance. And based on the picture you posted, you definitely "look" multi-racial; if you visited subsaharan africa, for instance, i doubt anyone would consider you black. Finally, for better or worse, both of you are americans, and have so much in common with each other and with everyone else who grew up in the USA. Culture is much more important than mere color.

shewolfnm wrote:
Im a bit darker then that photo. I was under a lot of studio lighting so add about a shade or two of brown . Side by side, her and I do look alike, but it is obvious she is does not look black..... at all.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 01:24 pm
Well, I did not get to stop a teacher this morning when I dropped her off. I forget how busy morning time is for them, and frankly it would not have been very fair to pull someone over, nor would I have had an opportunity to really talk to someone. they have their hands full during drop off I tell you what. THATS a job I would not handle well

Quincy, you and I have a lot in common it seems. I can absolutely understand everything you said on almost every level. My parents were not married either. Here in the 'south' (texas) racisim was still a big enough issue in society in the late 70's that I remember people not only arguing about my heritage, but adults shaking their heads and making comments about the fact that I was not even a legitimate child. People make me sick.

Im glad to know that my daughter will not grow up in a society where those kinds of ideas are as strong as they were before. At least where we live, racisim is the 'minority' way of thinking. Very few people are , or at least SEEM to be angry about race. Though many notice me and my husband. ( Me black , him white) If we have Bean with us? the attention can double. Though I have stopped ruffling my own feathers about the issue and think that some of it may come from.. just.. plain ole interest . You dont see too often in south austin, a black woman and a white man. Not to mention, Jillian is very pretty, very outgoing, very.. happy. There is another reason for attention.
Granted, I do get my fair share of angry looks and side comments. So be it.

I think my main concern is HOW I will lay out the line for discussing this issue. I know that this one time, this one question is not going to make who she is for the rest of her life... but if I start out such an issue making her feel uncomfortable, that feeling will resonate and I will have to not only work uphill against my own making , but I will also have to go uphill against the never ending race questions.

Or, I could be .. just over thinking it all. This I doubt.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 01:33 pm
In 1968, I worked for a man, whose parents were Jamaican (I think I remember this correctly). He said the people there marry as light as they can. His mother, whose skin is absolutely white, even if she's considered black, ran away to New York to be with the man she loved, who had been rejected by her parents for being too dark in color. My boss was the child of that union. He had a very chocolate complexion. I met his mother one time. I would never have connected the two of them. He told me he went to a college in which he was the only black person he was aware of. His grades were good, he said, and he was popular. Still, he felt his otherness to the extent he rejected that experience and the people who knew him.

He was very loyal to the civil rights movement, but I noted that he spent more time with whites than blacks. His dearest lifelong friend was a priest of some sort, a white fellow. He told me he approved of interracial marriage only if the black one was the woman, so that the white man would work for a black person, but he did not approve of a black man working to support a white woman. The longer I associated with him, the less sense he made. He would ask customers their birthday. Then, taking the worst traits of the zodiac sign of the person to heart, he would watch the customers, muttering things like, "That one is nogood -" Based on his feel of the zodiac and whatever inner musings he entertained.

I finally became uncomfortable around him, to the extent I quit my job and moved to Brooklyn.

This man - Vince - gave me some insight into a tangled world I would not have been aware of otherwise.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 01:41 pm
@shewolfnm,
Based on the responses in this thread, you are not "over-thinking", shewolf. It is still a difficult issue even though society has made some progress.
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 02:57 pm
Shewolf, you mentioned that you identify with your american indian heritage. From what i've learned second hand about native tradition, there are 4 colors associated with the 4 compass directions: white-north, yellow-east, red-south, black-west--and the 4 colors also correspond to skin color. But the compass directions are only points on a circle with infinite points; likewise, there's an infinite range of colors between black & white.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  2  
Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2008 05:15 pm
a bit off topic..
but hilarious none the less ......

In attempting to keep this conversation going, I have been going over what makes people different. Boys VS girls have been a piece of conversation now for about 20 minutes.

Boys have a penis.
Girls do not. Girls have a vagina.

After a few minutes of contemplating the difference between boys and girls , she looks right at me and says.. but I have a widdle tiny penis.

( moms covers her face laughing at this point... so the conversation is all down hill from here...)

No Jillian . You dont have a penis. Though, I can see why you would think that. It isnt called a penis ...

Yes it is. is makes pee pee. There for it is a penis.

( more laughter. The logic here is wonderful. How do you combat THAT in fits of laughter? )

Ok. girls can have penis' too.. your right. ( gotta end this. I cant dig myself out )

yes mom. I do have a penis .
( Lifts dress, squats forward )
and I can make PEE PEE LIKE DADDYYYYY!!!!




Laughing
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 04:55 pm
@shewolfnm,
Yeah but they won't let you do it in the gents stood in lines. You have to close the door don't you. You do here. Solo chamber music.

We can do harmonies in corrugated iron sheds. And we can write our name in snowdrifts.
0 Replies
 
raine66
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 07:21 pm
@shewolfnm,
DO WE NEED TO BE WHITE????
princesspupule
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 01:01 am
@shewolfnm,
My 2 oldest girls and youngest boy are biracial. The oldest looks most like her dad, who is black. The next girl looks more like me, except with brown curly hair and something about the shape and color of her eyes (which don't really look like either of her parents.) My youngest boy looks like a darker version of his 2 older half brothers (my children from my first marriage who are hawaiian/japanese and caucasian) unless you look at his butt, then he looks just like his dad. When this came up for us, I asked my kids to show me where I was white. I'd get out a piece of paper and prove I don't have white skin. Then, no matter which child said something about us not looking alike, I'd say, "Don't be ridiculous! I think we look QUITE ALIKE!" I'd put him or her next to me and look at us in the mirror and claim to see no real difference at all. Now that I have a half german blondie, people comment how she looks like a blonde version of one of the older sisters... It's certainly true...

Of course, I come from a different part of the U.S. than you do, and being white isn't any advantage over here. A little is maybe about skin hue, but for the most part, it's about values. White people stole from the hawaiians and they are still steamed over it. They have aloha, but they also have a certain prejudice... My oldest daughter had the opportunity to go to Germany as a student for a couple of months last semester and ran into quite a few exchange students from the Altanta Georgia area and she said they EMBARRASSED HER the way they behaved so impolitely, showing no respect, that she had to differentiate herself from them, because people thought she was part of that larger group, some of whom were black or biracial, most of whom were white, all rude by Hawaiian standards.

I'm getting a little bit off topic here, sorry about that. What I wanted to point out is that there are MANY ways to approach~address this topic to a biracial child, and no matter what is said, s/he WILL FIGURE IT OUT IN A WAY THAT IS MEANINGFUL TO HIM OR HER. That's sort of what is going on already for your child, she's trying to classify herself and people she knows. I'm wondering how much emphasis is placed on color in general on the mainland... I know when I was still married to my ex and we travelled around the Pacific NW and went to churches w/his family, I was often the only caucasian person there. I pretended not to notice, which is what is polite over here in the islands. Nobody commented on me or my color except for a niece who is developmentally delayed.

Classifications go all over the place with small children, like her thinking her clitoris is a penis. My youngest called it that, too, it's all about figuring out who and what you are. It's an on-going process.
 

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