Multiracial citizens get mixed feelings

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that there were nearly 7 million multiracial Americans in 2000.

Many of the multiracial people face unique challenges in their search for acceptance and identity.

Danielle Robinson, a 23-year-old, SBI student from Manhattan, N.Y., describes her family as supportive and straight forward about racial issues.

Robinson, whose mother is black and father is white, said from an early age her parents raised her as “black.”

“My parents were very open,” Robinson said. “From the beginning they told me, ‘mom’s black, dad’s white, and you’re black.”

Robinson said she has experienced very few problems with race in college. She attributes the level of tolerance and acceptance on campus to the level of education.

But through it all, Robinson is happy with who she is.

Meanwhile, some parents have faced problems while raising their multi-racial children.

Mickie Clark, a 39-year-old medical receptionist from St. Petersburg, and her husband are raising her biracial child from a previous relationship.

Both Clark and her husband are white.

Clark said they are raising 11-year-old son Bryce “as white,” but added that he was not always seen that way. Clark said that Bryce is now beginning to face serious challenges with race.

“At first we tried to blow (the problems) off, but as he got older we had to sit down and explain how it really is out there,” Clark said.

Clark has chosen to help Bryce fight bigotry the best way she knows how – with love and understanding.

“Other kids have teased him and used the ‘n’ word with him,” said Clark.

“Their words are going to hurt. I stand him in front of the mirror and tell him there’s nothing wrong with him – that God gave him to me.”

Lexi Whitt is 2 years old. She has green eyes, tan skin and curly brown hair. Her mother Chrystal Whitt is white and Lexi’s father, who maintains a distant role in his daughter’s life, is black. “I haven’t had any problems raising her,” Whitt said, and added that most people treat her daughter no different than they treat other children.

However, Whitt’s family has not completely accepted her non-white daughter.

“When I first found out that I was pregnant, my mom wasn’t happy, but she got over it. My grandparents didn’t.”

Whitt recalled painful memories of her grandparent’s disapproval including comments such as “Do you think anyone will know (Lexi’s race)?” or while looking at pictures, “Is she getting darker?”

Lexi’s color became an issue again when Whitt met with a guy on a blind date. The date went well, and at one point, the two began looking over some pictures when he saw Lexi.

A few days later when he had not called, Whitt called him to ask what was wrong. She found out the real problem.

“Is your daughter mixed?” he asked.

It was the end of that relationship.