What is Multiracial Motherhood, Anyway?
Hi! My name is Vanessa and I’m a mom raising multiracial children. I choose to use the term multiracial – as opposed to biracial – because, as a Latina woman of Cuban descent, I’m not entirely sure of my racial makeup. I can trace my family lineage back over 100 years and know that we immigrated to the United States in the late 1960’s as political refugees, but beyond that I’m unsure. I don’t consider myself Afro-Latino, which is a beautiful tapestry of Latino history, though it’s impossible to separate Cuban (or Caribbean) cultures from the influence of African cultures.
My husband is African American with ties to the American South for many, many generations. Whereas my family has a very recent American story, my husband’s family can be traced back to the United States for at least a century. Maybe more.
This is why I call my children multiracial – persons made up of two or more races – and not biracial (two races) or Afro-Latino. I also refer to them as Black Latinos or mixed or, as more commonly seen on this blog, my beautiful babies. Check out this resourceful post on Terms Moms of Multiracial and Biracial Kids Need Should Know for more insight on defintions or this one on Tips on How to Answer the What Are You? Question.
De Su Mama started, as so many blogs do, to document my early motherhood. I wrote love letters to my baby girl so that she would have a tangible evidence that she was mine. In this world that feels neurotic on classifying people as white or black, I wanted my daughter to know the Latina in her – the me in her.
Does that mean I don’t acknowledge the black in her? I don’t think so. When she was 3 years old, I wrote this post on her developing biracial identity and now ensure all labels are easily accessible in their upbringing. My children are black, they’re beautiful… and yes, they’re Latino too. They’re also animal lovers and superheros and intelligent and compassionate. Take your pick and you’ll be right. These labels we place on ourselves (even racial ones) are ambiguous, some temporary and none reflective of the entirety of our souls.
But what does society see when they see a little, black boy at the park?
That is multiracial motherhood: giving your child the most wholesome love any of us can experience – the love of a mother – while understanding that their mother’s love is often undeserving their identities. It’s understanding that our multiracial and biracial children need more from us: they need access to all their cultures, languages and family legacies; they need a caregiver who understands how to care for curly mixed hair or dry skin; they need allies and allowance to be one thing one day and another the next. And, the most heart-wrenching lessons I’ve encountered over the last few years, my babies need a mother that isn’t blind to race relations in this country and can teach them how to stay alive while being black in America.
In addition to the universal themes of motherhood that binds us all together, Multiracial Mothers share unique challenges, experiences and joys that are reflective of our family dynamic and legacies.
Why does multiracial motherhood matter?
I grew wings when I became a mother. Evolution crest over the horizon as my daughter was born, casting my old self into it’s hole of selfish, uninspired and lacking sense of identity that she was prior. As I learned to mother, I learned to be me and to not apologize for it.
Needless to say, I think moms are da bomb.com.
More so, I believe in my motherhood and in the mothers raising multiracial and biracial kids. I believe in the power of visibility. I believe in it enough to write my little story, share small bits of our life as a multiracial family and continue to build a legacy of love, compassion and normalcy so that, one day, when my kids are lost in identity, they know where to find it.
I had the honor of being interviewed by comedian Alex Barnett of Multiracial Family Man podcast. Check it out to learn more about our experience as a mixed race family.