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Craig Melvin opens up about raising biracial kids: 'The reality is my kids are black'

Melvin spoke about the challenges of raising biracial children with wife Lindsay Czarniak as the death of George Floyd sparks discussion of race in America.
/ Source: TODAY

The discussion about race in America that has taken place in so many homes following the death of George Floyd has admittedly been a tricky one for Craig Melvin and wife Lindsay Czarniak.

The 3rd hour of TODAY co-host spoke Tuesday about the challenge of raising biracial children as protests continue across the country over Floyd's death in custody of the Minneapolis police.

"My wife and I are in a unique situation because we have biracial children, and Lindsay and I have always lived lives that we like to think we don't see race first,'' Craig said. "We're acutely aware of it, but we've tried to live these lives where we're not consumed by it.

"But since we've been married, we have become more aware of it than we were before we were married. Since we've had children we've become even more aware of it, and we've talked about how do you rear biracial children in an environment like this?"

The couple are parents to son Delano, 6, and daughter Sybil, 3, whom Craig believes will be seen as one race by most people despite being biracial.

"The reality is my kids are black," Craig said. "And they at some point will have to become aware of the fact that that is how society views them. I think for some children it's a little trickier because you see both in yourself and you have these identity issues."

Figuring out how to talk to their children about race has been a challenge because it's different from their own upbringing.

"So we're starting to talk about how we're going to be able to help them navigate issues that we didn't have to deal with," Craig said. "My wife is white, she grew up white, I grew up black, that was it. It's a weird thing."

Tuesday's discussion built on a talk on TODAY Monday between Craig, Al Roker, Sheinelle Jones and Dylan Dreyer regarding tough conversations they have had with their children about racism in America.

"We like to think that we live in some sort of post-racial America, and the reality is we are reminded time and time again that we do not," Craig said Monday.

Al continued that theme on Tuesday when he spoke about why parents raising their children to be colorblind is a bad idea.

"I think we made a mistake, because we're not colorblind," Al said, before later adding, "My color is part of me."

"We like to celebrate diversity," Craig said. "I think we like to celebrate more than anything racial ambiguity. I think a lot of people have convinced themselves that we are a lot farther along."

Al noted that he sees more commercials featuring biracial couples in a suggestion of a post-racial America, but that's not what he sees in the real world.

"I keep looking, and when I go to parties and stuff I think, 'Where are all these people who are married? Where are these parties where there are black and white people?'" he said. "To be honest, the only parties I ever go to where there are black and white people are the parties Deborah and I throw!"

Sheinelle has seen through her children's eyes how racial differences are perceived at an early age.

She shared how her 7-year-old daughter, Clara, first noticed the difference in her hair from her classmates when she was in first grade. Clara wore her hair in an Afro puff, while the white girls in her class had long ponytails.

"I remember her coming home saying, 'Why don't I have a ponytail like the white girls?'" Sheinelle said. "It was race, but it was more about 'I'm noticing this.' ... It's OK to notice that you're different, you just have to not feel 'less than.' That's my thing."