20 Things Never to Say to Parents of Multiracial Kids


multiracial family park

With nearly 9 million people identifying as mixed race in 2010 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), you'd think people would be past the point of asking parents of multiracial kids stupid questions by now -- but sadly, this is still far from the case. Sure, not everybody who questions a stranger's family for looking different is trying to be rude -- most are just curious -- but the things that people say are still downright jaw-dropping at times!

As the mother of two half-Korean/half-Caucasian children (from my first marriage) and one all-Caucasian child (from my second, current marriage), I've heard it all. And to tell you the truth, I don't even need to hear it to know what people are thinking: I can see it in their wide eyes (or narrowed eyes, depending on whether a particular individual's curiosity stems from a place of fascination or intolerance), feel it in their tentative approach. Yes, they're mine. Korean, their father is Korean. No, my husband's eyes aren't blue, either. (That last one is about my youngest -- no matter that he's the same race as his mother and father, apparently he still doesn't "match" by some people's standards!)

More from CafeMom: 8 Things Never to Say to a Mom of an Only Child 

I don't usually find these questions offensive, unless they're particularly invasive and/or ignorant -- I understand that our family is still somewhat unusual-looking, even in our supposedly post-racial society -- but I can't help but be occasionally taken aback by the things strangers (and sometimes friends and family) say. And I'm not alone: When The Stir asked other parents of multiracial kids about the kinds of things they hear, we found out that these types of queries are far from uncommon. Here are some of the more outrageous comments:

1. "It's good your kids turned out looking more white than black; it'll be easier for them."

2. A family member of mine told me that I should consider not having children with my husband because our babies will be biracial and will be teased. Needless to say, I didn't listen and our babies are gorgeous.

3. After practice a few years ago, I actually had a parent STOP my daughter as she ran to me, asking, "Where's your mom, sweetie?" Ummmm ... hello. I'm right here. Seriously.

4. "How'd your black baby get those blue eyes??"

5. "Wow, your family looks like the United Nations."

6. "Oh, she's so cute! What province did you get her from?"

7. "What was it like giving birth and seeing this Asian baby come out of you?" (As if I had given birth to a frog.)

8. "Look at her cute chinky eyes!"

9. "At least her father knows she's really his!"

10. "I wish my nanny was as attentive as you; do you have any openings?"

11. "Bet you don't have to put sunscreen on those kids!"

12. While I was pregnant, someone asked, "I wonder if her hair will be nappy?"

13. "Are you sure they're really yours?" [Directed to the father of two light-skinned children.]

14. I was shopping with my two daughters and one of my daughter's friends. An employee handing out samples of granola of some sort started pointing at each child. She pointed at my oldest and said, "She's yours!" She pointed at my daughter's friend and said, "She's not yours." Then she points at my youngest, who was maybe about a year old, and she said, "What country?" She is very lucky she was about 70.

15. "Aww, you're so lucky. Biracial kids are soooo much cuter."

16. "You should always check the 'minority' box on school forms so your kids can get scholarships later."

17. "Do you worry that she'll be confused about her racial identity?"

18. "They probably don't need your help with math homework!" [About half-Asian kids.]
19. "You'll have to watch out he doesn't get the wrong kind of attention at school." [About a half-black child.]
20. "They can even be president now!" 
moms of color