Friday, May 20, 2016

Raising Mixed Race and the Danger of Racial Assumptions



by Sharon H. Chang

I'd like to clarify a few things about my book Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World. And full transparency here - this emerges from a recent email thread I was part of as well as a notable number of exchanges, side comments, critiques, messages, emails, etc. at this point where I've come to see folks make a lot of assumptions about my book based on its title, cover image, and the fact that it's about parents and children. Now it's important to say I have also gotten a lot of really amazing, positive feedback at this point too from tons of supportive, engaged and brilliant readers which you can read here and here. I think overall there have been far more folks who love and support Raising Mixed Race than those who pigeonhole and pin it down with their presumptions.

That said I think it's still worthwhile to look at the handful who have allowed their assumptions to take hold. They tend to look like this: Politicized readers who don't like "post-racial" in the title, think I'm espousing post-raciality, and refuse to read the book. Activists who see mixed-race identity politics as unimportant, ask how I will put aside ideas about "specialness" in service of greater racial causes, and probably won't read the book. Parents who have read the book but are frustrated because they expected a parenting guide and feel I "didn't tell them what to do." People in Preschool, K-12 learning and the general public who are confused because they thought the book would be about celebrating ethnic and national heritage, multiculturalism, and multiracial children as bridge-builders. And then everyone who cannot (or will not) believe that young children know anything about race and so will never read it ever. Oh - and I supposed I should tack on everyone who thinks mixed race is not really a thing (or if it is, then it's an anti-POC thing) and so will never read it ever.

Let me clarify . . .