As a soon-to-be first-time mom, you can find me on Pinterest saving breastfeeding tips and life hacks for newborns. I’ve learned about natural childbirth and C-sections. I’ve taken notes on what milestones to watch for over the first year and ways to seek help if those baby blues visit. Yet, the topic I have possibly given the most thought to is how we will share our culture and the cultures of others with our daughter. In other words, how are we going to raise a multicultural baby?
As a 3rd generation Mexican-American, the Latino culture was what I first experienced. I grew up in a diverse ethnic area, but the majority of my friends and exposure was with the Latino community. My husband was a bit different. His father was born in Bolivia, South America and his mother could trace her roots to south Georgia for several generations. He grew up just outside of Atlanta and went to school with Bosnian & Somalian immigrants and more.
And, our daughter? Well, we’re hoping that we can incorporate not only our heritage into her everyday life, but the traditions and languages of others around her. She’s going to be born right here in Charleston and while Charleston demographics may not necessarily reflect it, we are quite a vibrant city. We have multicultural events and enlightening festivals throughout the entire year and that alone will give us opportunities to share worldviews with her.
Here are just a few ways we plan on sharing different cultures with her:
- Create a Family Identity I plan on giving equal respect to each of our cultures. Mexican music. Bolivian arts. Southern food. We firmly believe that it all begins at home and we want to give equal value to all aspects of her heritage. She will be American with roots in other countries, as well. She will also speak English and Spanish (I hope!)
- Expose Her to Diverse Materials Racially diverse dolls and bilingual books are at the top of my Christmas list for her (yes, I know we’re nine months away). I also want to try to prepare different foods from around the world. I’m talking about trying food from Asia or Africa or Europe – she may not like it, but she’s going to try it.
- Participate in Cultural Events The Latin American Festival, MOJA Arts Festival, and Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival are just a few festivals that we have right here in the Charleston area that will help expose her to parts of her world that aren’t necessarily part of her family.
So, ultimately, why do we have this at the forefront of our minds when thinking about parenting? With Charleston growing at such an intense rate, it is inevitable that she’ll meet individuals from different walks of life. I want her to simply be open-minded, and, as a result, more tolerant and accepting of others as we all become a bit more inter-connected. She (nor her culture) are not better than anyone (or their culture), but simply different.
Are you looking for ways to expose your child to different cultures? If you have any ideas for recipes, festivals, or even items that help share traditions and languages from around the world, be sure to share them in the comments.