I realized this weekend why it’s so important to understand your racial heritage and not just fit into a labeled category. My children, 9 and 7, are biracial (my husband is black and I am white), and they know a lot about their family lineage. My family is mostly Irish and a little German. My daughter’s teacher was asking her class about Irish traditions the day before St. Patrick’s Day, and she raised her hand to talk about Ireland and said she was part Irish. My daughter’s teacher said in astonishment, ‘You’re Irish?’
Because her skin is not pure white, this teacher took it upon herself to label my daughter as black, because of what she could see, instead of seeing many generations of multinational family in one child. If nothing else, this teacher will think twice before assuming things about people’s backgrounds. Hopefully, my daughter’s response, ‘Yes, I’m half Irish,’ will open her eyes.