A Letter To My Daughters From Their White Mom

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To my daughters,

From day one as your mom, I promised myself that I would be your first and fiercest supporter.

And since that day, I have also known that one of my most important jobs will be to encourage you to celebrate your biracial identities.

You are half-African American and half-white. My hope for each of you is to always be proud of that fact. I never want you to feel ashamed or embarrassed or on the “outside” because of your racial identity.

I have no doubt that there will be many times throughout each of your lives when people will look at you and assume they know exactly what you are and will treat you a certain way because of that assumption.

And because of your light skin and light eyes, most of the time that assumption will be one of privilege.

If I am honest, I guess that there is a part of me, as your mom, that feels happy that the assumption will rarely mean that you will be discriminated against because of the color of your skin. However, there is another much larger part of me that will stop at nothing to raise you each into women who are proud to be biracial, confident, and thoughtful.

Women who will demand to be appreciated and respected.

Women who will go out into the world and spread love and acceptance and encourage change.

For this reason, Daddy and I will not raise you in a colorblind home. I will not encourage phrases like, “I don’t see color,” or “color shouldn’t matter.” Instead, Daddy and I will teach you to know and see differences in others, in society, and in yourselves. And then we will do the real work of parenting by teaching you how to accept and celebrate those differences and know that they are equal. 

That is the reason that Daddy and I have always spoken openly to you about race (and will continue to do so). Why we talk about your great-grandparents and Martin Luther King, Jr.. Why we read Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History almost every night before bed, and honestly answer all of your many questions on race and skin color. It is the reason we surround you with African American family, friends, music, events, and culture

It is why we will always be honest with you that discrimination exists in the world.

But I don’t want you to only associate being African American or biracial with serious conversations, with family meetings, with struggle, with the civil rights movement…so you will also be raised in a home where baby dolls come in every skin tone, heroes and princesses come in all shades, and people really can be whatever they want regardless of their race.

My love will be constant and my advice clear:

Stand Up.

Be Heard.

Demand Respect.

Be Proud.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Photo Credit: Meredith Meier Photography

I may not always know the right thing to say or be the expert. However, I will always be here to listen and to help you find the answer. I do not pretend to understand why color can divide us like it does or why skin tone makes some people feel superior to others, but that is the world we live in.

What I do understand is that as your fiercest supporter, I can show you daily that I am proud to be married to Daddy, a Black man. And I am proud to be raising each of you, my bold, beautiful, biracial daughters, with him.

Love you forever,

Mama

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