My Multiracial Son Embraces His Black Identity

by Fred McKissack Jr. | September 24, 2016 2:33 pm

Originally published by the Indianapolis Star

The wispy-haired 4-month-old Mark is held timeless in a frame in front of me. The 12-year-old, shaggy-haired Mark is fast asleep in the room right above my makeshift office. I used to read Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Little Brown Baby” to him, as my mother read to my brothers and me, as her mother read to her three children. Now, he falls asleep reading Rick Riordan. He is fascinated with the world of mythologies, from ancient Egypt to mythical Asgard to mysterious Boo Hag in the Gullah tales.

I thought when my wife and I had our son, we’d have the usual parenting challenges, teaching him to be a good person, not to run with scissors, to look both ways before crossing the street. But parenting a multicultural, multiracial child with a black dad and a white mom who looks white but identifies as black has offered a unique challenge in a country swirling with the complexities of deep racism.

It has led my son and I on a journey of self-identity that has brought him to a series of choices that represent the dichotomy of being black and white in America.

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