‘I didn’t want to raise my children to be 1-dimensional.’
Being multiracial and growing up in the 70’s was tough. I’m Latina from my dad’s side, Native American, Irish and German from my mother’s side. I came out with red hair and fair skin. So naturally I was always pegged as white. However, those who couldn’t stand minorities were able to tell that I was Latina very easily. As I got older, it was irritating that I didn’t have a sense of my culture. So by the time I got married and had children, I didn’t want to raise my children to be 1-dimensional.
‘Looking at who my kids are now … I thank the Lord for allowing me to be their mom.’
I wanted them to know who their grandparents and great-grandparents were and were they came from. Being part African American, my kids have such a rich history and they deserved to know about it and not to be sheltered from it. In a nutshell, I didn’t want them to be deprived of their heritage the way I was growing up.
It’s a shame that their dad didn’t see the importance of it then, as he does now. So, I was left to teach them. Exposing my kids to Black History as best as I could was a lot of work, but rewarding for me as well. My Mother-in-Law was a wonderful resource. And when she passed away when my youngest was in Kindergarten, my kids didn’t have much contact with my husband’s side. And I was concerned that they would only identify with being white and/or Latino. Was I obsessed about this? I don’t know. I just know that it was important to me that I did what I could to enrich my kids and expose them to who they are. So giving them Jesus, Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., Maya Angelou, and Thurgood Marshall was what I did. I took them church, and to libraries. It was fun. Since my parents were significantly younger than my in-laws, I wasn’t concerned with depriving them of their Latino side-that would come with time.
When the 2008 Presidential Elections rolled around, I took my kids to the polls. It was very emotional, historic and exciting. And When the 2012 election came around, my 3 oldest kids voted-their first time voting was for an African American President. And a president with a similar multiracial background as my kids. (That chokes me up even now.)
‘You are an African-American Parent…’
I didn’t really notice the significance of what I did with my kids until a few years ago. While having a discussion with a church friend, we were discussing education and the lack of certain information being taught. I don’t remember exactly what comment I made about my parenting, but it was something to the effect of not being able to give them as much as I could if I were an African American parent. My friend got very stern with me and pointed her finger in my face and said,
“You are an African American parent! You gave and continue to give you children a sense of who they are.”
Her words were a compliment of the highest order to me. I still feel honored, to some extent, when I think back on her words. Looking at who my kids are now and still turning out to be, I thank the Lord for allowing me to be their mom.
~ Dulcinea 🙂
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