My husband and I both come from completely different backgrounds, ethnically and culturally. I am American Venezuelan – born in Washington D.C with both parents being born and raised in Venezuela. My husband, on the other hand, is African American, born and raised in Charlotte, NC. A beautiful mix of two worlds, I know. Now add us both into a culture that is predominately white American, and well -we have some interesting and difficult things to overcome.
I’m sure your mind has already begun comparing us both, our differences, how being married and raising kiddos might look like. It’s ok, we understand. Differences stir up questions, and that’s good! Maybe, you’re even thinking about the both of us in the context on your own background.
We want you to ask questions, we want others to understand, and so we welcome the asks, in love. Here you have, me – someone who can be looked at and assumed as a potential immigrant, and my husband, a black man – who just because of the color of His skin has endless labels, prejudice, and racism attached to Him. But this article isn’t to delve into the constructs, white privilege, or racism. It’s to look at and also learn about ways that we can grow and equip our multi-ethnic families in a world and society that continues to be divisive, even in the midst of increasing diversity and inclusion.
So, how do we equip our babies, our family to embrace both cultures, and also walk in confidence of who they are in our culture?
1. UNITY AT HOME
My husband and I are both on the same page when it comes to our cultures and backgrounds. We’ve done the work to understand, appreciate, and love our ethnicities. We know that if we can look at each other's difference and embrace them in love, then our children will see two people, with different backgrounds, coming together in love, becoming one family. So at home, we take the time to care, and our kiddos see it. We talk a lot about love, leading well in it, and what it looks like to be one, even when different.
2. EMBRACING WHAT’S DIFFERENT
We embrace our differences, and also things alike. We are vocal with our children about embracing who they are, all of them. Their skin color, (which differ in the summer) their hair, all different curl patterns, their hearts, mom and dads difference, and also – the embracing of others around us. We make a fuss about it because it’s important for them to know, that who they are is good and beautiful. Embracing is the taking in of someone all of them, with no strings attached. We also love for our kiddos to be immersed in different cultures as well! if not, at the least given the opportunity to get to know others who different than them is a gift, too.
We are open and honest with our kiddos, because the reality is, what it is. We have to be transparent and open to not only the History of our ethnicities, culture, and background but also our experiences in them. Knowledge is power, and as we lovingly and compassionately educate our children in truth, they will grow knowing the history of their parents, and ancestors and they continue to grown and walk in their own life.
4. OPEN CONVERSATION
Last but not least, we keep our conversations in our home open when it comes to matters of the heart. And this is of the heart. We consistently take a temperature of where our babies our by simply listening, and also welcoming the questions when they come. We don’t get awkward or close them off because them coming to us is their way of growing and knowing. We make it know that the conversations and questions can come, at all time.
At the end of the day, our kiddos are learning how to live and live their families, and also the world they live in. It’s our responsibility to equip them with love, knowledge, and power. And we do this best when we are living it out ourselves. May we all as adults continue to lay down our preferences, and find a sweet spot for all of us. For the sake of those around us, and our neighbors. Our children will follow, and if not even do better than at this in the next generation.
WRITTEN BY ALEXANDRA HOOVER: WRITER & SPEAKER