I have failed my biracial daughter.

daughterMichele Malmstrom,
Charlottesville, VA.

My daughter has always had very low self-esteem. I tried her entire life to address the problem by complimenting her and giving her the tools for building her confidence: cello lesson, in which she excelled, girl scouts where she achieved the silver award, college educated with a B.A. and at 24 she is considering entering a Master’s program, etc. Since reaching adulthood she has opened up a lot about her feelings stating: Both groups – her white side (me) and her black side (her father) have repeatedly told her 1st “You are not really black” (both in color and action) and secondly “If you have even a little black you are considered black.” She says that she doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere! Not only that but the statements are in complete opposition to each other… When a black person says “You are not really black” they mean “You are not accepted” but when a white person says it, it is meant as an off-handed compliment which of course puts her down instead of builds her up. Conversely, when a black person says “If you are even a little bit black than you are black” comes off just as off-handed as the above “compliment”, you belong to us weather you want to pretend you are white or not.” And obviously, when a white person says it they are saying “you are NOT white”. If I knew then what I know now I would have pushed her on her father’s side instead of leaving it up to him to see her. I have failed my biracial daughter!


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