There are aspects of being a parent in a multiracial family that are unique. We may have concerns about how to raise our kids to integrate all aspects of they are and develop a healthy, secure racial identity, or we wonder how to teach our kids to deal with being targets of racism, when maybe we haven’t experienced it ourselves. There is an awareness that, regardless of our own identities, we are now intimately tied to the success, struggles, history, and future of a different race or culture. There is so much to learn, so much to understand.
Particularly in the past two years, with racial tension and violence dominating the media in the U.S., fears and worries about our children run high. Where do we go with those feelings? Those questions? Those worries?
Finding a community of other multiracial (or multicultural) families can be an invaluable resource. How do you about finding that community, especially if you don’t live in a particularly diverse community or metro area? Here are a few places to start:
Multiracial Parent Support on the Internet
When I started blogging four years ago, I had no plans to write a blog for or about mixed race families. Pretty quickly, however, I came across other moms writing about their experiences raising biracial children or parenting after trans-racial adoption. I knew very few people in my day-to-day “real” life who were raising children of color, but here, on-line, were parents who shared my experiences, my concerns, and my desire to learn more. It was amazing!
Beyond blogs themselves, many writers maintain Facebook pages tied to their blogs. These are a fabulous place to start listening and “talking” with other parents in mixed race families. Vanessa from De Su Mama, Thien-Kim from I’m Not the Nanny, and Rachel from White Sugar, Brown Sugar – among many others – all write and talk a lot about raising children in multiracial families and have built lovely communities of parents who share their passion. And of course you can check out my page too – Musing Momma!
Still, over time I began wishing I had a safe, protected space to talk – really talk – with other parents mixed race families. I wanted a place to share experiences, ask questions, get support, and find new resources, and where other parents could do the same. There are a several groups on Facebook, but many seem to focus on sharing pictures rather exchanging stories or ideas.
So I decided to take things into my own hands and created a closed Facebook group, Mixed Race Family Parent Resource Group (yep, it’s a mouth-full!), where parents can have that safe place to explore their thoughts and feelings. As a closed group, members need to request to be added but the group is then private – or at least as private as anything can be on Facebook! This allows us to talk freely about whatever is on our minds and share experiences we might not feel comfortable talking about in a more “public” setting.
Multiracial Family Groups in your community
I love the on-line community and the opportunities that come from not being bound by geography. At the same time, it is really nice having someone to talk with about local dynamics or what is happening in our neighborhood. Maybe you want to find other parents to talk to face-to-face, to show your kids that there are other families like yours, or to give your child the opportunity to develop friendships with other biracial kids. The best way to do this, if there are other mixed race families in your community? Smile and say hi! Make small talk! Plant the seeds and see what grows!
The MAViN Foundation has a fabulous listing of organizations focused on the experience of mixed race individuals and families, including a number of community-specific support groups. If your community doesn’t have an established group but you’ve seen other multiracial families around, you might even think about starting something yourself. Let other families know what you are thinking, get their contact info if they are interested, and once you have a few names plan a meet-up at a local park or lunch spot!
Join a local organization with the mission of fighting racism and promoting diversity
While these organizations may not be focused on multiracial families specifically, they can be wonderful places to find like-minded, supportive people who are invested in understanding issues of race. I highly recommend the YWCA as a place to start. Their mission is “Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women” and local chapters across the United States are often looking for community members to join committees and volunteer. The NAACP is another national organization with local chapters that offer opportunities to get involved.
Building relationships and finding resources goes beyond just having a place for support. It also means having a place to learn and grow, to challenge each other. I’d love to add to the list of ideas so please share – where have you have found community and support?
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