The Dimensions of Mixed Race Mothering

Mothering a mixed race child (Asian + White) is a journey of self-discovery for me as much as it is for my 12 year old daughter. When I first became a mother I imagined that mothering was more a practical act than a cerebral one.
Granted, in the initial stages mothering does consist of changing nappies, burping etc but I underestimated the politics of race and how it would take hold so early on. At mother-baby get togethers mothers would congregate along race lines based on their own race. There were no huddled groups for mothers of mixed race babies.
Did it matter? I didn’t think so then because I just joined the group with friendly faces. However, as time has gone on I do realise that race has an important dimension in mothering. Asian mothers now consist a large minority group globally and what precedes us is a racial stereotype of Asian mothers i.e docile and only interested in the domestic sphere.
Stereotypes often have a factual basis and while the picture I paint is still true of many Asian mothers there is a force emerging which wants to challenge the patriarchal notions of motherhood. These mothers realise that the straitjacket of gender inequality within the home has devastating consequences for their daughter i.e domestic violence, patriarchal bullying, and want to fight back. The family structure must not be used to reinforce daughters as second class citizens.

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2 Comments

  1. November 9, 2011 / 8:34 am

    Thanks for sharing this with me. 🙂 I agree, mixed parenting is rough. I started hearing arguments about my daughter before I was even pregnant with her! "Will she be white? Latina? Mexican? Will she speak Spanish? Light eyes, dark eyes? Good hair? How will we combine cultures? What religion will we choose?" The questions and unsolicited 'advice' are endless!

    Stereotypes about your race can definitely lead to some even more hurtful conversations, when others question the quality of your mothering…awful!

    Really great topic, thanks for bringing it up and sharing! 🙂

  2. November 9, 2011 / 8:02 pm

    Dear Chantilly,
    It is me who needs to say 'thank you'. You have some great views on mixed race parenting so it's a thrill to have your contribution.
    Love
    Jane

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