BANGOR – Those raising biracial children or children of a different race face unique challenges.
When Shannon Coiley visited Tropical Tastes and Styles in Bangor for advice about her black son’s hair, she wasn’t the first one.
Store owner, Angela Okafor, says it happens all the time.
“We kept in touch,” Coiley said. “She made some connections and said ‘hey I have all of these people I‘ve met raising black kids in this white area, it’d be good for you to touch base.'”
From that, a Facebook group for parents to support parents was formed.
“Not to take away from black people, I feel a lot of children of color tend to feel and actually be left out,” Okafor said. “The supports their white parents need tend to not be really paid attention to.”
From race issues in the classroom to sports programs, it can be difficult for white parents to understand what their children are facing.
“I haven’t been dealing with racism and microaggressions my whole life. It’s only started the past 10 or 12 years,” Coiley said. “By having someone to bounce things off of, it helps you to be responsive rather than emotionally reactive.”
For Tania Jean-Jacques, a mother who is involved with the group, these conversations aren’t new.
“We get images that certain groups of people are better than other, so I just want to make sure my children have a strong self-esteem and that’s what I work toward everyday,” Jean-Jacques said.
The name of the group on Facebook is Bangor Area White Parents of Black Kids.