Remarkable Advice to Raising Biracial Daughters
Shannon Luders-Manuel got contacted by 2 fathers of biracial daughters - one black and one white. They were both seeking advice on how to raise their biracial daughters better. Seeing as Shannon is also biracial, she seemed better placed to ask her this set of questions:
“How can I make sure my daughter has a positive self-identity?”
“How can I help her connect to her black heritage?”
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“How can I keep my daughter from being a black or white man’s exotic arm piece?”
Fathers play a very important and undeniable role when it comes to assisting their children develop a sense of identity and self. Her advice was just remarkable. She first began by telling them how important it was to fully embrace whatever race or culture their daughters choose "because in doing so they embrace their daughters’ own agency".
On how to prevent their daughters from being any man's exotic arm piece, there are aspects of our bodies that are highly racialized. So when a guy compliments on such or seems too interested in them, then clearly he is fetishizing - only interested in the exoticness of these features. However if he compliments on character, then he is really interested in her as a person.
As a parent, the only way to help the children connect with whatever heritage is to teach them about the history and culture of that heritage - in this case; black history and way of life. Shannon's parents both actively helped her learn this - Martin Luther King and his influence on the Civil Rights Movement. Her father made her watch “Eyes on the Prize” religiously. She also read Maya Angelou’s "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings". When in college, she hang out with other black students and these girls accepted her as one of their own. This helped her embrace her black side.
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