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The Deliberate Child



I am the mother of a biracial child.

I deliberately chose to have a biracial child. So of course I take extreme umbrage at the asinine actions and ridiculous remarks of Keith Bardwell, the Louisiana justice of the peace who refused to marry a black man and a white woman because he believes “biracial children are not accepted by blacks or whites.” He claims to be protecting the future children of this and other interracial couples. He’s an idiot.

I chose to have a biracial child because I was appalled when I saw a young cousin of mine – who couldn’t have been more than four years old – running around chirping, “I hate white people, I hate white people.” I decided then and there that I would never have a child who could say that.

Dan and children like him – and there are more and more of them these days – are bridge builders. They are beautiful children, exotic, attractive. They are channels of hope. When these children grow up and marry, they aren’t limited. They can marry whoever they want. And they will have multiracial children. By doing so, they blur those dividing lines of race. My hope is that someday those distinctions and lines will disappear.

Certainly biracial children have baggage. It can be a challenge for them to reconcile divergent and often horrific histories, and there is always the pressure to promote one over the other. Like for myself, I don’t believe I should have to choose to embrace my Indian great-grandmother over or instead of my Irish great-grandmother; I celebrate them both. It’s a challenge that can only make a person stronger. Dan revels in it, and to his friends, his parentage is no big deal. That’s the hope of this upcoming generation. So many things that distress people like Bardwell are just the way it is to these young people, and they go with the flow. They have grown up with different ideals and that is a good thing.

Bardwell also said he thought interracial marriages wouldn’t last and the children would have to be raised by their grandparents when the marriages ended. I can’t speak to that allegation because Dan’s father and I did not marry. It’s better that we didn’t get married. It would have been disastrous if we had, not because of the interracial thing but because he was a – well, my mother always said if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.

It’s high time we realize that racial categories are a manmade construct that really have no scientific basis. We need to remember there really is but one race – the human race.

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