Over the past year as I’ve been growing and adjusting to becoming a Tia/Aunt, me and my sister have been having an increasing amount of conversation regarding my nephew’s mixed upbringing and how we want that to be different from our own. Even though he’s Mexican, Black, and Puerto Rican, his genetic make-up leans more towards his Puerto Rican heritage in regards to pigmentation and skin color. He has fairer skin, amass of dark hair starting to curl, and racially complex features. From a general standpoint he does look mixed, but for the purposes of his upbringing we want him to accept the rainbow of genetics representing all three of his cultures.
He may grow up seeing my sister, my father, and myself and try to reconcile that visual color difference that separates us. My sister who experienced this many times growing up mentioned recently how she’s happy that she visually represents our Black side more because she wants my nephew to know “this is part of you too.” I find that beautiful that she’s empowered and embraces her darker skin tone and refuses to let that detract the way he sees people or his family growing up. As I’ve become more knowledgeable and educated about the multiracial community, colorism, and how to create impactful conversation for mixed race children, I understand how vital it is he’s supported, accepted, and taught early on he doesn’t need to feel inferior because “he doesn’t look like us.”
As his first birthday approaches I look forward to gifting him with the “My Family Builders,” set that will help stimulate and support his understanding of mixed race families. I may have not grown up looking like either parent, but I never experienced the type of fear or worry my sister did because to her she only looked like one predominant race. I never had anyone question or challenge me being mixed in that sense based off of skin color alone, and I’m happy she wants to use her own experience to build my nephew’s self-esteem and understanding of his mixed self.