The idea

The idea for the book arose from my own experience as a white mother of my half Surinamese (Creole) daughter. The experiences I had over the years with her have, and still have, are specific to our ‘bi-racial’ situation. There is not much in to find about this subject in the Netherlands. Not online, neither in the bookstore. I want to do something with this. First I had the idea of a series of 10 photographs. But it got bigger and bigger. I heard the stories of other mothers and thought, these are stories that the world should hear. Netherlands is more and more mixed, we must celebrate it!

I think it’s a significant group, the bi-racial children, they say: “The Mocha children are the children of the future.” It is a fairly new phenomenon in the Netherlands, even though this does not seem to us so. Half a century ago, you saw only a single mixed couple. In America this group is already booming for years, there are figures that you really do blink your eyes. In our Randstad, the major cities, is happening right now.

Unfortunately, the “marriage” between white and black has a troubled history. Our children will learn about this, talk about this cruel history with us.  I think that racial literacy is very important. I feel honored as the mother of a mixed daughter that I can tell her that we can walk freely at the streets in Amsterdam and love one another without creating dangers. That we may celebrate our diversity! We should celebrate that we are a result of the increasing migration of past centuries, increasing tolerance, unity, our freethinking spirit and above all: our love. Our children are the children of the world.

Identity and identity formation of Bi-racial children in the Netherlands.

My daughter is Dutch. But this is not how others recognize her immediately. She has a brown skin color. What are you? Where are you from? Children with a mixed ethnic identity sometimes have it a bit harder. In the sense that they feel divided between two cultures, two groups. Not for every mixed child. But it’s there. We can not deny that society wants to put us in a box and expects something from us. Whether we identify with it or not, our children have to deal with this. It goes beyond color, and is very personal per family, per child. I want to open the conversation by my book. Some parents wriggle away this theme, like “Oh, we do not see colors, our children are not thinking about color at all.”

Why only black / white and no other mixed families like Dutch / Asian etc.?
Because I am this situation.The most obvious contrast, literally and figuratively.

Why only the mothers and children?
I find the subject very close to myself as I said earlier. I’ve deliberately kept the subject very small and close to woman. So it is really a “mummy project”. I am also very interested in the reverse situation of myself and my daughter: the dark mother with her half-white child. The book therefore consists portraits of white mothers with children with a black man and black mothers with children with a white man.  It does not matter whether the parent is necessarily Dutch, for example, a Spanish Basque (white) mother with her daughter half Nigerian will be in the book. She lives in the Netherlands though. As well there is a mother who is bi-racial, dark skinned. She has a lot of the same experiences as the black mother, and thus fits the book.

* With black I mean ‘African origin, such as: African, Surinamese, Antillean, Aruban, Cuban etc.’


The interviews with the mothers answering questions like: “What do you experience as specific experiences in raising a bi-racial child? What were or are the reactions of the people around you? “The book is a feast of recognition for everyone who is directly or indirectly with someone of mixed descent or is itself.

See more at: www.mixedmamas.nl


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