We watched Twincredibles on BBC Lifestyle on Sunday night…. It really got me thinking….
These are all sets of twins from mixed race parents.
My daughters are both mixed race, in South African terms… because we are so racially diverse and hung up on labels, what that means is that each one of them has a Caucasian birth parent and a Coloured (interestingly, in the UK, the term Coloured is considered offensive) birth parent. Ava has a Caucasian birth mother and a Coloured birth father, Hannah has a Coloured birth mother & a Caucasian birth father. My girls are statistically speaking …. racially… the same. And yet, they’re not. One of them is distinctly Caucasian looking and one of them is distinctly Coloured looking.
As a side note…. during the documentary last night, the mother of the boy/girl twins visited a geneticist and had DNA analysis done…. statically speaking, the Dr who saw her, explained that the likelihood of having a mixed race child look more Caucasian is less than 10% and that statistically speaking, a mixed race child is 90% more likely to look more Coloured…. but I digress…
What will this mean for them when they grow up? How will it affect their identities? How they see and value themselves in a society so hung up on skin colour. Its something I have often thought of, but more so since Hannah’s placement with her being more obviously Coloured than Ava is. Because ultimately that IS what mixed race is… Coloured. Will they be teased? Will Hannah be bullied school because she is darker or has Caucasian parents? Will Ava be teased because she has a Coloured sister? Will Hannah be teased for being different to the rest of her family?
What does the future hold for them?
What will happen when they start dating? Will they be accepted by their partners families, because lets be honest, racism and prejudice is alive and well in our society! I’ve encountered it myself, many times since Ava’s placement, its never more apparent for me than in the supposed innocent comments laced with prejudice of how one would never know Ava was of colour and we shouldn’t worry to tell. And what of Hannah? To the people who have made those comments… what will they think of her? How will they treat her? And my friends? Who always joke over how they wouldn’t mind Ava dating their sons, would they feel the same way if it were Hannah?
Parenting is hard. But it certainly does come with an additional set of challenges when creating a “different” family. There are so many things to consider and to worry about that I never thought of before. Would I change my family for a minute? No, we are beautiful and perfect in our diversity and Ava has touched the lives and changed the views of so many previously closed minded people and I have no doubt that Hannah will do the same, but it does not mean it’s easy.
I love my children. I don’t want to see them hurt. But this has been weighing heavily on me for a while now.