By ANNI K. REINKING
Here’s an Open Letter to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle:
First and foremost—Congratulations! Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, demanding, and overall exhausting experiences. Raising a child, regardless of race, is incredible.
However, as new parents to a biracial child in the world today, a lifetime of questions, experiences, and mind-numbing conversations may be in your future. Questions and conversations focused on skin color, hair, and traditions and culture will just be the beginning of where news articles focus, where headlines will concentrate, and face to face conversations will lead.
Speaking for Parents of Biracial Children …
We—parents of biracial children—are overjoyed to have the royal baby, a biracial baby, be in the spotlight, showing the world that children come in all colors. What matters most? Love. This idea, the importance this baby represents in our world, was also evident in an article by Sarah Gaither in Vox: “Biracial representation is sorely needed in a country with a fraught relationship with mixed-race people.” This is true in both the US and the UK.
When I heard the royal baby was born, the first thing I imagined in my mind’s eye was Meghan’s mother at their wedding months ago. She was unapologetically herself—a black woman supporting her daughter on her wedding day. Now, she is the grandma to the royal baby, a biracial baby in the world of judgmental and sometimes unaccepting individuals.
The British royal family now proudly displays a photo of both grandmothers admiring Archie on Archie’s official website. (Scroll down on the page to find that photo.)
The World Needs Biracial Representation
Visible representation of biracial children is needed in our world, and specifically in the United States. As much as our media documents the royal family, the royal baby is a symbol that reflects one of the fastest growing groups in the United States and the United Kingdom: mixed-race demographics.
So, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle congratulations and thank you. Thank you for being who you are and showing the world: Love is love. When conversations or media begin down the path of racist remarks or marginalization of your family, I urge you to be like Meghan’s mother: Unapologetically yourself in a world of ignorance.
I am fully aware that your experiences may be different than mine or other families who are not in the limelight, but I also understand the importance of this moment worldwide.
What is my hope? My hope is that the royal baby represents a new generation. A generation where biracial children are not questioned, do not feel marginalized, and become a demographic of individuals that represent love. Will this happen? No one knows. But, hope is hope. Love is love. And skin color is only skin deep. Melanin does not determine your worth, but can influence your experiences.
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ANNI REINKING is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Southern Illinois University—Edwardsville. She is the author of the new book Not Just Black and White: A White Mother’s Story of Raising a Black Son in Multiracial America, available from Amazon in hardcover, paperback and Kindle. You can learn more about Anni’s work—and also inquire about public appearances—at her website.