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Parents of Biracial Children Say a Solid Foundation is Key to Dealing with Life Issues

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RALEIGH — Like most parents, Gayle and Eric Johnson think their kids are pretty special. The couple encourages Ashlynd and Aneesa to embrace the fact that they are biracial.

"It was clear to me the race issue was not going to effect our decision to have children," says parent Gayle Gonzales-Johnson. "What counts is the heart, much more so than the outward skin color."

"We don't just tolerate differences, we seek difference and encourage the kids to look at that as a positive," says Eric Johnson.

Experts say that kind of attitude can make all the difference.

"Let them meet other biracial people, let them connect with both sides of their heritage and both sides of their families," says Dr. Sandra Wartzki, a child psychologist. "That seems to be the most helpful in having people really know how to adjust and not feel like such an outcast."

The Johnsons do not feel there is as much of a stigma attached to being biracial as there was years ago.

Living in such a racially diverse area like the Triangle makes life easier. And they say it helps being involved in their childrens' lives and being up front when asked about the subject.

"'How is that your mom's white and your dad's black?' And they would ask that as a matter-of-fact question and once they got an answer, it really never became an issue," says Eric.

Eric and Gayle believe if they provide their children with a solid foundation, Ashlynd and Aneesa won't have a problem dealing with any issues.

Even though there has been a lot of progress concerning race issues, the Johnsons admit there are still many people who do not support the idea of multi-racial families.


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