The Reality of Raising Multicultural Children in America
— Originally shared on modernmami.com —
“Be careful, there’s a cop parked over there,” I said to my husband.
“Yeah… I see him.”
We weren’t doing anything wrong. We were simply driving home — driving along a back road, at nighttime. As my husband cautiously ensured he drove not even one mile over the speed limit, I kept my eye on the police car until it was out of sight. A minute later we hear our sweet girl’s voice nervously chime in from the backseat, “Why were you worried about the cop back there?” And so began a lesson I imagine many 10-year-olds don’t have to deal with at such a young, impressionable age….or maybe ever.
The Reality of Raising Multicultural Children
“Because cops are not always our friends,” my husband replied. “And while they’re not all bad, they’re not all good, either. And it’s time you learn that. That is our reality, baby.”
As hard as it was to sit there and hear my husband say those words to my sweet, ten-year-old baby girl, I knew it was the best thing to do in that moment. As her mom, I simply want to hug her, shield her, and keep my girl innocent from the world’s atrocities for as long as I possibly can. But, that’s not the reality of raising multicultural children, of raising Latino children, of raising Black children. No matter what label you place on our family, it’s not our reality.
Our reality is a constant feeling of nervousness and fear — whether it’s at the forefront of your mind or more subdued. Our reality is wanting the very best for your children, but wondering if it will be denied for them based on their color. Our reality is knowing your kids are awesome, intelligent, kind, funny, thoughtful, and a myriad of other wonderful adjectives and hoping the rest of the world will provide them a chance to show those characteristics before being judged for their look. Our reality is being (overly) cautious with every single move you make each and every day, so you can make it in this world.
Sadly, our reality is having to teach the same to our children.
All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™
Melanie shares parenting stories, easy recipes, and family fun ideas at modernmami.com, an award-winning lifestyle blog founded in 2006. As a Latina mom of 2 multicultural children, Melanie loves talking about culture in an effort to help her children learn about their rich heritage. Connect with Melanie as @modernmami on Twitter, Instagram, or snapchat or read more at modernmami™!