My two gorgeous daughters are half filipino. Their Dad came over from the Philippines when he was 17-years-old. When we got together he would tell me of the racism he experienced when he first came to Australia. I didn’t want to believe it until I saw it firsthand.
He would anglicise his name on his CV and get more interviews for jobs and I will never forget the time we were walking down the street and someone pushed past him and whispered ‘monkey’ in his ear. It still makes me want to cry thinking about it. We are now separated but we have two beautiful daughters together. I want them to be proud of their dad’s heritage because it is also their own.
After picking my 6-year-old from school recently I almost choked when a voice from the back of the car said, “I wish my skin was white”. I could not believe that my beautiful daughter with her perfect skin would even utter these words. Where were they coming from? Did some-one say something? I took a deep breath, tried not to lose my mind and replied, “your skin is perfect, it is half Daddy’s and half mine and that is why it is the beautiful color it is.”
She listened but I’m not sure she took it in. I’m so afraid that the world is going to teach her that she is less than perfect. I want her to look in the mirror and feel the same way about herself that I feel about her, but I’m afraid that she won’t hear me because the messages she gets from the outside world tells her white is best.
I hope as she grows older this will be less and and less of an issue but in the meantime as a proud mumma, I’m going to teach her that she is exactly who she is meant to be, including every inch of her perfect skin.
Here Jessica Mauboy talks about experiencing racism and her AWESOME big sis who told them where to go:
Do you talk to your children about racism?