DEAR HARRIETTE: People often assume that my biracial son is adopted. I am white, and my son looks exactly like his father. Of course I feel offended -- I carried my child for nine months and can’t even get proper credit for it. Should I correct people every single time? Why would people even make such bold assumptions in this day and age? -- Offended Mommy
DEAR OFFENDED MOMMY: We live in a culture where people have become more and more strident and invasive with their thoughts and comments. Social media has pushed many people over the edge in terms of feeling empowered to say disrespectful things to others, and that has spilled out into everyday communication. I am sorry that you are experiencing this as you go about your life with your son.
I want to say that for the most part, you should ignore people’s comments. Random people you encounter in the course of a day who make false assumptions do not deserve your time or attention. Learning not to react at all to those people will be beneficial to you and your son in the long run.
If you are engaged in conversation with someone who asks you about your son or who states an assumption about his parentage, you can decide whether you want to educate the person. Instead of being defensive, you can say, “This is my son, and I gave birth to him.” You can add, “Lucky him, he looks just like his dad” or something like that. Keep it upbeat. It is important for your son to witness a positive attitude in the face of these comments.