What You Should Never Ask an Interracial Couple With Kids

April 16th 2017

Shonitria Anthony

American couples are more diverse-looking than ever.

siblings being photographed together

"Of the 3.6 million adults who got married in 2013, 58 percent of American Indians, 28 percent of Asians, 19 percent of blacks and 7 percent of whites have a spouse whose race was different from their own," according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

But even though interracial families are more common than ever, couples with multiracial kids still face quite a few challenges.

Three parents shared with ATTN: their experience with parenting multiracial children, and told us the one question no one should ask a parent of a child with more than one racial identity.

Christina Petit has two daughters ages 2 and 5 years old. She's been with her husband, who is Dominican of Haitian descent, since 2009.

Christina Petit

"I think it's super rude for people to ask what they identify as. It's so complicated, and we teach them to love all parts of who they are (black, white, Hispanic) and those comments oversimplify it and make them feel like they need to choose," she told ATTN:.

"We get comments occasionally about their hair."

Christina Petit

"I had concerns that they would struggle to fit in, which is true occasionally," she said. 

Pamela Pittman of West Indian descent, has two children ages 24 and 29, with her ex-husband, who is of Irish ancestry.

Danielle DeCourcey

There's one question that she recalls hearing from people in regards to her kids, which usually came from black people:

"How do your children identify themselves: do they say they're white or do they say they’re black?"She explained that she expected to hear those kind of questions before adding, "if you ask the question, you should be ready for the answer."

Before she married her children's father or they even had kids, she said they had plenty of conversations where she told him, "if I marry you and have your children, you will never have white children. I told him, 'if they are white as snow, with blue eyes they are still black because they came out of me.'"

Chasiti Brockington, who is white and has two children ages 3 and 5 months, has been married to her husband, who is black, for almost four years.

Chasiti Brockington

"Do you think you can raise a black child? I've been told multiple times that I can't raise a black child correctly. It's something that has been said in many different avenues, in person and online. It seems to be the biggest issue people have with us having biracial children," she told ATTN:.

"Are you glad he looks white?"

Brockington explained that the comments were made by a high-school friend who also had a multiracial child, although with a darker skin tone.

"I expressed that I hoped she didn't ask this because she was ashamed of her own kids' skin, and that she had to be their biggest advocate because they'll have enough people against them," she explained. 

In addition to that uncomfortable question about her child's skin tone, Brockington said she's also heard the following awkward inquiries: 

  1. Is he/she your child? Are you sure he/she is yours?
  2. Can I touch his/her hair? Does he/she have GOOD hair?
  3. Don't you love that he has blue eyes instead of brown?
  4. Are you worried about them looking black?
  5. How are you going to dress them?

The American family will continue to change — especially with the legalization of same-sex marriage in June 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court — and that's a good thing. However, it will also require all of us to be more sensitive when talking to those whose families don't look like our own.