(The Root) —
"I've been dating a lady for a while, so I figured it was time for her to meet my son, who is biracial. She was very nice to him. However, on the way home, she said she was surprised that as a white guy I'd had a child with a black woman. This hurt me, but I was afraid to confront her about her attitude because she's the only woman I've dated since my son's mom broke it off. Finally I did confront her, but the discussion didn't go well. I told her if we're going to be together, she needs to accept my situation. She kept asking me if I'm sure I'm his dad and why I would 'do such a thing.' Confused now, but don't want to break up. Do you have any advice?" —D.W.
I'm going to give you a heads-up that you're probably not going to like what I have to say about your girlfriend, for whom you obviously care very much. However, your feelings for her are causing you to overlook some glaring red flags that are not in the best interest of your family.
I'm not surprised that your girlfriend was "surprised" to learn you had a half-black child. If I were a white woman dating a white guy and he told me he had a kid, by default, I would assume the kid was white, too, if only because despite the rise in interracial marriage and dating, most people still procreate with people who are the same color as they are. If I then met the child and the child was brown, I'd be like, "Oh!" — not good or bad, just an observation — because the child looked entirely different from what I pictured in my mind.
The problem here is not that your girlfriend is surprised but that her commentary on your brown boy seems to indicate that his color is a problem. In general, people only ask, "Why would you do such a thing?" when someone exhibits exceptionally bad judgment. Having a child with a woman of a different race shouldn't be considered exceptionally bad, or bad at all. Only someone with real issues with black people, like your girlfriend, would make a big deal about it.
Further, she seems to be hoping that your brown son really isn't your actual son. It's just … weird to ask a parent who introduces his or her child if indeed that child is his or her own. Would she have asked you that if the child were white like both of you? Does she think people of different races are not able to procreate? Or, more likely, does she think they should not procreate? Her comments lead me to believe the latter.
At best, it sounds as if your girlfriend isn't particularly fond of black people. At worst, she's straight-up racist. Being either of those is bad in general, but more so when she's dating a man with a half-black son.
You mentioned that this is the first woman you've seriously dated since your child's mother broke up with you. I understand completely why you don't want to be hurt again. And it's unfortunate that after you've become emotionally invested in a new person, she is now revealing an ugly side that you did not expect. But having strong feelings for your seemingly racist girlfriend isn't a justification for dating her when you are co-parenting a half-black child.
I'll give you credit for putting your foot down and telling her she needs to accept your situation. But you seem to be overlooking her response, which was to look down on you for having a half-black son and to question the child's paternity. That's not acceptance; that's obnoxious. And racist. And rude.
Since you clearly don't want to break up with her, let's try giving her one last chance. Ask your girlfriend point-blank if she will accept your half-black child. If the answer is no, she has to go. As a responsible co-parent, you must act in the best interest of your boy, and keeping a girlfriend who has a problem with the child's race is not in his best interest or yours.
If she is willing to accept your son, then she needs to actively work on her issues with race, and I prefer that she do so with the help of a professional. By all means, keep her away from your child until she can handle his biracial identity.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.