It's Not All Black and White

It's Not All Black and White: Multiracial Youth Speak Out
St. Stephen's Community House
Annick Press

I think we can all agree that adolescence can be difficult at the best of times. Now try to imagine what it is like for the adolescent who doesn't look like the majority of his/her peers. It's Not All Black and White addresses what it is "really" like to grow up biracial or multiracial.

The youth contributors in this slim resource describe their own experiences of growing up mixed-race through hard-hitting raps, poems, interviews and personal essays. They are all members of the Youth Arcade Program at the St. Stephen's Community House, a social service agency that has served West Toronto for a half century.

This is a great resource for parents, teachers, guidance counsellors and community leaders. There's a particularly insightful interview with Carol Camper, the editor of Miscegenation Blues: Voices of Mixed Race Women. Racial slurs are the most obvious form of racism, but it's the indirect comments, dirty looks and thoughtless behaviour that can be far more harmful. Camper says, "Often people of colour will feel the insult, but they might not be able to describe what the problem is. This can often be more damaging than more obvious forms of racism because it affects how you feel inside. It is also harder to challenge, and it becomes very difficult to believe your gut instinct if you have felt insulted but you can't even explain why."

Karen Arthurton, a mixed-race parent raising a mixed-race child, draws on her own experience as well as her work with multiracial youth to give parents and caregivers 13 helpful tips for raising biracial and multiracial children, helping them to develop healthy self-esteem and a strong sense of identity.

There is plenty of food for thought in this book, and you may think twice before you ask "So where are you really from?" or tell a young girl that she "looks so exotic."

Other related posts:
The Accumulative Advantage: Something To Consider for Your Children
The Girl Who Hated Books
The Trouble With Marlene by Billie Livingston
Dead Time by Christy Ann Conlin
Review of the Hunger Games



Post a Comment