mixedracedmomandbabyLet’s face it: Whether it’s right or wrong, whether it’s racism or just naivete, whether it’s appropriate or unacceptable, it’s GOING to happen. If you are the adoptive mother of a biracial child, unfortunately, at some point, some insensitive adult is going to say something that may be hurtful, shocking, or just plain confusing. Women can be especially vulnerable and protective of their wee ones, so even a disapproving look can be upsetting.

But there are ways that you can cope when faced with society’s ever-changing racial stigmas and politics.

Take a deep breath

Okay, so someone’s just said it. She looks nothing like you!, Where does he come from? or the dreaded, Are you the nanny? Comments like these can cut you to the core. Can’t they see the strong mother/child bond between the two of you?

Try not to be reactionary. Don’t engage in a hostile manner. Try to understand where the person might be coming from. Cultural anthropologists assert that people like to place others into neatly bounded categories and that they prefer the status quo. This person may have grown up in a homogeneous area. A quick, informative, She’s my daughter, isn’t she beautiful? will suffice.

Or, you can diffuse the situation with humor. Try buying T-shirts that read either, I’m not the Nanny! or Same Family, Different Colors and wear them proudly on the playground.


Give these strangers the tools to understand that their viewpoints stem from outdated bigotry. Start with a question that will provoke thought. I’m curious, why did you ask me that? What is she? She’s a beautiful girl. Will you be more comfortable knowing her genetic background?

Most of the time, these statements will make the person realize very quickly that their question was presumptuous. But it will also foster a more thoughtful approach that may help them move beyond their shallow definition of what seems “right.”

Shield your children

Of course, it is difficult to completely shield your children from people’s audacious assumptions. But you can help your child form healthy attitudes about race and ethnicity. Boost your child’s confidence by providing ongoing support, and engage them in multi-racial classes and activities so they don’t feel alone or out of place. Also, point out people of color or multi-racial people who are successful in our society…..such as the President of the United States!

With these tips and tools, you’ll be sure to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child—and you’ll be doing your part to further evolve societal perceptions of race, identity, and culture.


29 thoughts on “I’m Not the Nanny!

  1. This has happened to me with my children. I do not get mad or upset. It reminds me how well my parents taught me manners and etiquette, and how not everyone is raised in that way.

  2. I am tired of the same old people run some new young honest people to riun our country!!!

  3. My best friend has biracial grandchildren that call me Granny Faye We live in the south and that has always been a sore subject I just ignore looks or comments Not any bodies else’s business

  4. Its difficult to teach people who ask stupid questions in the first place. Why can’t they just say she’s a beautiful little girl instead of the judging in front of the child.

  5. I’ve dealt with this plenty of times I just let it roll off my back because not everyone was raised the same!

  6. my parents were very strict , but for a reason. i grew up with 3 hippie brothers and every time they got into trouble , my parents were there every time to bail them out . they happened to care . they never hit us , although they deserved many times . but , all in all , it was a family unit . which i miss to this day. no-one to this day know what that means and that there is a shame

  7. If we are all equal (which we ARE) then ANY topic about color, or any law that punishes or benefits someone because of race or color is IMMORAL.

  8. Sadly there are no shortage of rude, insensitive people in the world. Not sure if we should try to educate them or just kill them.

  9. no matter what color, people are people, and it does not matter what race a person is it matter’s what is in their heart!

  10. racism is bigitry. when i look at a person he or she is the same as me. there is no color involved at all.

  11. They just need to find new people for running, they need to ignore the other people who already ran.

  12. Americans need to concentrate on the more important things. Like the health insurance issues please.

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