I am not asking this question to create an undertone of “you and them”. Nor do I want to sound like I am preaching and trying to make you join a cause. I am simply asking this question as a father of mixed raced children. The issues they face as they grow up will be similar to my own experiences, yet vastly different. Their cultural issues and loyalty will be much more complex. There are some unspoken words that lie at the heart of Swedish Socialist society, like, norm and conformity; but nothing stands out more than your skin colour. And in the playground, your shape and colour are bully-magnets. How do I prepare my children for the sly and sometimes outright racist remarks that, lets face it, they are going to face?
By bringing my children from the UK for the opportunity of a better, longer and safer childhood, I have also unknowingly placed them in an area of isolation. I wasn’t the only black child in my school, far from it in fact. In my school, racists abused everyone, and everyone attacked them in return. There was strength in our unity. But in a school where my children may only be among a few handfuls of coloured people, the challenge will be that much harder.
I once met a single parent mother of mixed raced children who told me that her daughter had been called a “n****r” at school. Obviously, this was very upsetting for both mother and daughter. It saddened me greatly to hear her story. Of course, her daughter cried herself to sleep that night, wishing she was white? And she is probably not alone. Far from it, I’m sure. I wonder how many other black and mixed race children have suffered the same abuse?
When “black” personalities, and even members of the government, deny the “dark side” of themselves, it is not surprising that young people have no coloured role models. (No Star Wars pun intended!) But if these people are not proud to be special, how can our kids learn to be proud of being different (just non-white)? It is easier to deny your “blackness” and to conform.
I don’t want my children to see their curly hair as a problem and battle for the rest of their lives with trying to get it as straight and as Caucasian as possible. I want them to be proud of their heritage and understand how lucky they are to be magnificent and beautiful blends of different cultures. I want them to understand that they are children born from love. I do not want them to experience prejudice, fear or a need for normalcy.
Maybe, then they’ll have some strength and inner confidence to survive their school days with their heads held high.