Monday, June 11, 2012

The Multiracial Advocacy-Guest Blog by Cherrye Vasquez, Ph.D

Comfortable in Your Skin Whether You Are Biracial or Monoracial

I was once engaged in, what I thought at first, was a friendly conversation with a group of ladies at my place of employment. As mothers, we often talked back and forth about daily activities that our children were involved in. We did this often to amuse ourselves, and generally ended with much laughter among the group until one person said something that I hadn’t expected.

When I ended my story for the day on the subject of my daughter’s latest activity, one of the ladies turned to me and said, “Well, she’s going to have psychological problems anyway.” I looked at her and asked, “What?!” She went on to say, “She’s biracial, and all biracial children end up with psychological problems.”

This woman was the first person who’d ever made a statement like this to ME. While I’ve heard about and read stories of biracial children and adults alleging that they’ve encountered problems because they are biracial, I truly hadn’t spent any time at all pondering over this subject where my child is concerned.
What this woman claimed never crossed my mind before. Why? My daughter is a charming, well-rounded, culturally balanced, beautiful biracial girl who feels very comfortable in her skin. She affirms who she is and loves her self. In fact, if someone ever refers to my daughter as one ethnicity over the other (and this does happen on occasion), she will quickly inform them that she is no more one than the other, but both. She loves all of who she is, and is very proud of both her heritages.

Positive self-identity is an important virtue and character to behold. Our children must love who they are, and they must feel comfortable telling people who they are. Regardless of a child’s race, they are the ones who should tell a person who they are. They do not have to assimilate into someone else’s culture, or accept someone else’s label for them.

As a parent, the topic of my daughter having psychological problems didn’t and still does not faze me because I have ensured that I’ve done my part in balancing out my child’s life to include knowledge of both heritages, and pointedly building her character and self-esteem. I strongly believe that issues, good or bad, have to do with parenting and environmental situations in totality. If my daughter encounters problems, they will be no different from the problems of any child regardless of their racial make-up.

Because there may be those that declare that just because a child is biracial they will automatically have psychological problems, I needed to set my writing and platform topics in motion. This stereotypical myth has no merit and should be denounced.

I have made efforts to help children build character, self-worth, and empowerment. In addition, I believe that we must teach our children positive self-talk so that they can and will affirm who they are and what they want to become. We must also use self-fulfilling prophecy techniques with our children. If we do this, we will see them blossom and evolve into whatever their hearts desire.
Whether monoculture, biracial, or multiracial all children are very unique and important, and they should armor these feelings at all times. Each child possesses rich qualities to regard.

Source: Printed with permission from Cherrye Vasquez, PhD.

Author Cherrye Vasquez has a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction; a MS.Ed. in Special Education; and a BA in Speech Pathology/Audiology. She specializes in Multi-cultural education and holds certifications in Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician.

1 comment:

  1. Love this and agree wholeheartedly. We have always believed that if we are happy with who we are as individuals and who we have chosen as our spouse, regardless of race, then our children will be happy with who they are as well. And it has definitely proven true in the lives of our three happy, confident, caring, well-adjusted, high-achieving (and did I mention beautiful?) kids. Our oldest is just about 2 weeks away from her wedding day which will bring more ethnic diversity in to our interracial family and we all love it.