After moving to New Jersey I questioned our move a lot. I had issues of not being around my family I missed “my own” people the comfort of hearing the languages and familiar people. I had a huge guilt of taking the kiddos away from my family but at the same time I knew it was important for them to know the hubs family too. I am thankful for our move because in a way it exposed me to more and diversity began to be very important to me.
Becoming parents and having to think about the schools, the community, and the exposure my kids would get just wasn’t high on the priorities list, when they were just infants. The hubs and I discussed how we’d raise our kids bilingual with a Spanish speaking nanny, we talked about taking swimming classes because living in SoCal that was very important.
Life plans change and here we are in Jersey now. I never thought i’d have to question if my kids were being exposed to enough diversity. My focus was raising happy and healthy babies with an understanding of being multicultural- Mexican, Black and American!
I focused on teaching them to be proud and be confident in who they were in the event of being questioned or bullied. My biggest fear was them not being accepted for being who they are because their dad and I fell in love and created them.
Both of my kids have less than 18 kids in each class but if i’m honest classes lack diversity. I was well aware of the community we live in so I knew school would probably be the same deal. I worried on their first day if they’d feel the difference of being the only “colored” kid in class. I mean since they were young i’d been buying things and watching shows with them with people they could relate to.
Still when little lady came home last week talking about her new friend she likes calling “cousin” she made it a point to tell me two things.
“Mom, he’s not my real cousin he’s a play cousin” “and he’s WHITE”
I paused before answering and finally said “Ok love but it doesn’t matter to me if your friend is White But you know you do have real cousins” “Uh huh” was the last I heard before she ran off to play.
I know I could have said more but if I’m honest my mind had me thinking of so many different things.
Why did she feel the need to tell me he was White?
Why would she call this little boy cousin?
Did I go over the top with teaching her and labeling her that she feels she needs to label others now too?
Is she the only mixed kid or only brown skinned girl in her class
Is she being labeled too? How is she taking it?
We had a party, all our guest were White.
Am I not exposing my kids to enough Diversity?
Oy my mind gave me quite the load for a few days. I remember reading a post by my friend Brandi from MamaKnowsitAll titled “The Only Black Girl” Brandi gives great tips to Helping your child fit in without losing what makes them special. I loved reading about her journey with raising her daughter and while aware that diversity was low she making great points about the community she is now a part of!
While my kids aren’t showing issues of fitting it, Brandi’s post brought reassurance to me that what i’ve been teaching my kids about who they are is important and perhaps this is why it hasn’t been an issue to them. They are secure in who they are. Perhaps the reason why my daughter, the more outspoken of my two kiddos, voiced what she thought was because she acknowledges the differences between her classmates. Maybe she knows it doesn’t matter to the hubs and I what color her friends are but wanted to let us know anyways. Maybe I am the one that over analyzed the situation after all I have been known to do so.
I want to believe that my kids are exposed to enough diversity and that they are growing up aware of themselves but I have to be realistic with our surroundings. I’m feeling content in knowing my kids are being exposed thru some diversity thru the hubs and I that is what matters most for now.
What are your thoughts on the diversity that surrounds your children? How important is this issue for you? Let’s chat in the comments below!