I recently shared that my daughter has already self-identified as a Black Latina and realizes she doesn't have to choose one over the other. Both are a part of who she is and she knows her heritage is comprised of three cultures. However, I wonder if the same will be true for my son?
We recently introduced a fourth member to our family - he's a little over a year old to be exact. Though I'm not thinking about this issue on a daily basis, the many conversations I have with his big sister regarding culture, race, and heritage make me curious. How will he feel about learning of his heritage? Will he be as interested in our cultural background as his sister?
I know we have a long time still, and of course, you can never really prepare yourself for such conversations. They will come when they do and will be sparked by unpredictable events. Perhaps his big sister's interest will lead him to be curious. Perhaps not.
Something my husband and I have mentioned to each other as we talk about these things is that we both feel our son will probably not identify as a Latino man. We have no basis for this and only time will tell, but we both just have a gut feeling. We agree that he will recognize his Latino heritage, but do not think he will say he is Black and Latino, as his sister does. We foresee him identifying mainly as a Black man.
Perhaps we feel this way because his father is a Black man. Since traditionally most boys look to their fathers as role models, we imagine he'll inherit his father's identity and speak of himself in much the same way.
Either way is fine by us. Self-identity is just that - a self-issue. It's up to each person to figure out their personal identity. Even as parents we cannot tell our son or daughter they must label themselves one way or the other; we can only expose them to their various cultures and provide them with information. The rest is up to them.
Have you had any experience in raising multicultural children? If you have more than one child, do they all identify the same way or does it vary?
Melanie Edwards is the founder and editor of ModernMami.com, an award-winning lifestyle blog, and owner of Ella Media, whose focus is to connect businesses with today’s digital Latina. Married 9 years, Melanie is the proud mother of a 6-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy, who are being raised in a bilingual, multicultural environment. Originally from Puerto Rico, Melanie now resides in Orlando, Florida.