It can happen just about anywhere: A stranger will make an awkward comment about your multiracial child. But just because you don't want to be rude doesn't mean you can't answer, as they say, sin pelos en la lengua. Here's how to respond.
"What are they?"
Well, um, kids? Kimberlee Ratliff, Ed.D., who directs the school counseling program at American Public University, in Charles Town, West Virginia, suggests responding matter-of-factly. "A child could say, 'If you mean, what is my racial or ethnic heritage, I am...' Grounding kids with information related to their background will help them address those questions confidently."
"But they don't really look like you."
Such remarks can confuse children, Dr. Ratliff says. Make sure they know the comment doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. To the stranger on the playground, say something like, "Thank goodness family doesn't have to look the same." At home, talk about differences, making it clear that family members don't have to look alike to love one another.
"Mixed kids are always so beautiful."
While the speaker's intentions might be good, this statement can be harmful by pointing out that the child is somehow different. Respond with "Thank you! I agree that my child is cute, but I don't think it's because she's mixed race," Dr. Ratliff suggests. That's apt to put an end to the inconsiderate comments, once and for all.