Will my child be a cultural reject? Will she spend her life frustrated that she can’t quite identify with any culture 100%? As half Filipino and half Swedish, is she doomed to a life of frustration and rejection?
Even today you don’t have to go far to find someone that will lecture you for getting married to someone of another ethnicity and culture. One of the favored arguments is always: “Think about your poor halfer offspring. Nobody will accept them. They’ll never fit in!”
Typically this sort of talk comes from well meaning types. They say that their only motivation is to save you and your future offspring the hassle and pain of not being welcomed into their outdated ideal of bland, clueless monoculturalism.
They’ll throw something in about how you can never know how things will go with x cultural group. I always used to considered this to be useless drivel from people who are too old to bother with facing reality. But that’s not always true. The more I travel, the more I see that small-minded ethnic tribalism definitely is a thing, even with young people. As much as it is naive to think that two or more cultures and ethnicities cannot happily co-exist in a relationship or in one human being for that matter, it is equally naive to think that resistance to such a mix is a thing of the past.
So as I think about our soon-to-arrive Swedepina I feel the need to remind myself of the upside of having a plural cultural identity. For starters, understanding multiple cultures is a massive leg up. Kids that speak two or more languages and that are comfortable living in more than one country have a major advantage over peers that are restricted to one place and culture.
Kids that are used to interacting with family and friends of multiple ethnicities learn to see people as people before they see the otherness of a race or culture distinct from their own.
Also (and this is obviously super subjective) I think halfers make the cutest kids. They tend to get the best of both worlds. I know there are exceptions but I really think mixes turn out as greater than the sum of their parts.
Ultimately, of course, life is what you will it to be. So I want to raise Journie to do her part to help create a world where there is less divison, where “us and them” thinking isn’t the order of the day.
Let me open this up to you the reader. What do you think about raising mixed kids? Any words of advice? Tools, tricks, apps or sites to recommend? I’m all ears…