Why is the biracial child always supposed to be a tragedy stuck between two worlds? Historically it was typically the white parents that hid these inconvenient results of affairs (Strom Thurman). Now the typical scene is older white grandparents raising a mixed child after the dissolution of the relationship that brought it about. Certainly the acceptance of these children that were once viewed as proof of the crime of miscegenation (or even rape) has improved in recent decades, but they are still often viewed as problematic in-between people. While the virulence of Racism (the belief that race makes a person superior or inferior to others) has become exceedingly rare, the problems of race in America—prejudice, misunderstanding, inequality, resentment, interpretation of history—are far from resolved. Here in Clarke County, Georgia there is still a palpable division between black and white populations. While much of racial integration in the United States may be producing a melting pot, here it still quite obvious on a drive through Athens that “haves” and “have nots” are still mostly divided by race.
So I will be a white father to a son that everyone will usually identify as African American. He will be biracial, but in most people's minds that will count him as black (eg: Haley Berry and Barack Obama both have one Caucasian parent). He will carry the cultural weight of expectations based solely on his skin color. He will have people expect him to be somehow better at sports, more sexual, cooler, tougher, more rhythmic, and less interested in learning. These are the expectations (even admirations) that our society puts on black boys. He will be informed by people that barely know him that he has been wronged by crimes committed years before his birth, and because of this he must act or identify himself in way to amend these ills. He will be told by others that he must be a individual, and any identification with any ethnicity or appeal to his unique dilemmas as a biracial man is nothing but weakness or whining.
But what will his father tell him? I am a product of my own place and I have never known many of the pressures my son will face. I wish I could say that my own experience of interracial marriage has helped me “figure out” the complex and often unspoken rules and taboos of race in today's America, but I have no great wisdom to offer my son.
What he will have for certain is two parents who know themselves and will love each other and him deeply. Beyond the self-knowledge he will have from the experience of his home, I'm not sure he will have much education on the confusing situation he will inherit. I suppose like most children he will have to figure out his identity on his own.