You know I really love going to the festival because it really feels like I’m part of a tribe, you know? We all have similar experiences but we also have different paths and we can learn so much from each other. It’s so awesome.
So, this past weekend, I was part of a panel discussing bullying on mixed kids. I actually spoke from the perspective of being a bullied parent (online and sometimes off) regarding what people have said to me based on assumptions on my relationship with Maks.
It’s weird being a black female in an interracial relationship at times. When Maks and I first started dating, I just saw him a s cute guy at the bar (yes, we met at a bar). He saw me as a cute girl. We spoke about race on our first date but it wasn’t a heavy conversation (and why would it be? We were trying to get to know each other).
We’ve been together for almost 10 years and it’s weird to see how some people still us as an IR couple (which, they always will) but not see us for who we are. I tend to get those comments and stares from strangers. Some just stare at us, while others do actually say something.
Most of the time, it’s something fetish-like (‘Oh, your baby has such beautiful hair!’) and sometimes, they want to prove a point that they don’t approve (like I was seeking their approval, anyway…)
It’s alarming to see the statistics on bullying on mixed-race children. 31% have reported bullying but I believe the percentage is actually higher than that. Still, it’s very scary to see in this day and age bullying against mixed children occurs.
My advice is to talk to your children about their heritage and have them be proud of everything. Children shouldn’t be forced to choose a side or identify with just one culture, when they can embrace all.
My other panelists, Maria Leonard Olsen, and Elizabeth Hudson, also suggested to have conversations with the person who is doing the bullying. Sometimes, children and teens don’t realize what they’re saying (and sometimes they might be doing it because of peer pressure) and a conversation can go a long way before disciplinary action is taken.
I hope to have an interview with Maria soon and do a giveaway of her books to a lucky reader here!
For now, check out some pics of Bear, Maks took at the festival. And a special moment of us when my panel was over. 🙂