How do we have transformative race conversations with mixed-race children? As critical adults and caregivers, how do we empower mixed-race children to become confident beings in our highly racialized world?
These are the some of the questions that will be explored by writer, scholar and activist Sharon H. Chang in a unique workshop on Saturday entitled “Raising Mixed Kids: Parenting Workshop” aiming to embolden dialogue about race between mixed-race children and their parents. Chang will share her extensive research and findings from her debut novel “Raising Mixed-Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World”. The workshop will provide parents with an opportunity to ask difficult questions surrounding the complexities of raising mixed-race children growing up across racial boundaries.
Chang set out to write a book on mixed-race children after the birth of her son in 2009. The notable absence of parenting guides, children’s books, toys, shows and movies on raising mixed-race children spurred the writer on a journey to conduct her own research and seek answers to questions of race, identity and parenting. She spoke to 68 parents of young multi-racial children to learn about their experiences and add fresh perspectives to prevailing narratives on race.
“I began researching and writing this book when my son was an infant because I felt ill-prepared…Despite feeling highly racialized as a mixed race person my entire life, I had little-to-no understanding of race, racism, and systems of power until only recently. Schooling and everyday lived life offer so few opportunities to learn about such thing,” said Chang.
Growing up with very few multiracial people, Chang faced a number of challenges. She felt that non-multiracial identifying individuals would sometimes underestimate the mixed-race experience.
“The knowledge of being those things and “different” was pushed on me all the time by others through measuring, authenticity tests, comments, stares, innocent to rude questions, acceptance or rejection, etc. The words I’ve had to describe my experiences of difference throughout life have changed and not always been the same. But being multiracial has been (and I expect will always be as long as race exists) one of the defining themes of my existence beginning in childhood,” said Chang.
Saturday’s facilitated workshop invites parents to dig deep into some of the perplexing questions around being mixed-race and how these issues impact children, their families and themselves. The goal of the workshop is to reach a collective and insightful understanding on being mixed-race.
“I’m very excited. I’ll be sharing some of the findings of my research and sharing directly from the text,” said Chang.
The workshop will be held at Heartwood Community Café, 317 E. Broadway, Vancouver BC between 6pm -8pm. Admission is by donation.