Parents of mixed-race kids share advice with Harry and Meghan
Parenting / 29 March 2019, 5:00pm / Sonia Smith-Kang
Washington - The pregnancy announcement from Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sent the multiracial community into proud cyber-auntie and -uncle mode.
Although there is a bubble around the royal family, Harry and Meghan may quickly learn that having a child of mixed heritage can bring a new set of challenges. Being multiracial has made me keenly aware of microaggressions, stereotypes, prejudices and racism. Much work needs to be done.
When my Korean American husband and I started having children, like most parents, we sought out parenting websites to answer some of our questions. I looked for advice on aspects such as what diapers to use, the best age to start solid food and what car seat to use at each stage.
And so I asked my community to share what they have learned as either multiracial individuals or as parents of multiracial children. Here's some advice from parents who have been there, done that.
Find books and media that look like your child
"There are two tips that always come to mind when I'm asked about raising mixed children. First, find books with characters that look like them and/or your family. There isn't a huge plethora to choose from, but they're out there.
My kids loved seeing characters with similar skin colour and hair. Second, learn about their hair. I'm not kidding when I say I've easily watched enough hours of videos and read enough books to have completed a college course in 'Hair Care.' And guess what, I'm still learning! My daughter is 9 now, and it's a never-ending journey." - Kelsey Bunker Robertson, writer at Kelsey and Co .
Find a community
"My advice for this new multicultural family is to seek out other families with a similar mindset. It doesn't matter if they look like your family or have the same background, just that they have the same goal of raising world citizens." - Leanna Guillén Mora, founder, Multicultural Kids Blogs
Talk about their cultures
"My son is black and Japanese. Like many cultures, Japanese people can be a little ethnocentric. My son has been exposed to a lot of the Japanese culture. But my son is also African American. This is important to point out because I have to teach my son, as an African American male, how other people may look at him. It really has nothing to do with him. I will pause here for emphasis. It's a reality that can't be ignored or erased. People's lack of exposure, openness and willingness to get outside of what is familiar to them is real. So I have to educate my son on behalf of them.
"Racism is something we can't wish away. I know that even though he speaks fluent Japanese, he is still a brown male who will be treated as such. I am not multiracial, but I raise my son the way I was raised: As a citizen of the world, a person with respect for himself and others. He is special, and at the same time, not special at all. He is different and not different at all. Just like everyone else." - Tam Luc, author, speaker and coach
Participate in tradition
"It is of utmost importance that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle provide opportunities for their multiracial child to be exposed to all parts of the child's culture - including those not normally present in the royal family. It is an imperative that the child is enriched with the exposure, familiarity, pride and joy that comes from recognizing all parts of oneself." - Farzana Nayani, parent educator, author, diversity and inclusion specialist
Explore the world
"My family consists of three, and we are multiracial family. I am Mexican and my husband is primarily Sicilian but also has some Polish and Lithuanian. Although our ancestries are from countries outside of the United States, we were both raised in California and find it important to share our cultures with our daughter." - Laura Medina-Filipowicz, founder, Family Vacation Hub