Randi Zinn, the mom behind the popular podcast, The Going Beyond with Randi Zinn Podcast, has made a career out of helping other moms find themselves again after having kids, through mindfulness, wellness and self-love. Previously, we featured this talented mama of two in our “meet a mom” series. Recently, we reached out to her and asked her to share some of her experience as a mom to biracial children, after seeing her insightful social media content on the topic as well as her recent podcast topics. We are grateful to her for sharing more in our interview below.
Can you tell us a bit about your family?
I have a wonderful partner in life; we’ve been together 10 years now and consider our relationship the grounds for deep work, learning and daily commitment (in other words, each day is a new day). We have two kids, Micah who is 8 and Zarah who is 4. They are spirited, creative, and both drive me crazy AND give me all the joy I could ever want. So, normal motherhood basically.
Sounds about right! Would you tell us a bit about your own experience raising biracial kids?
We made a very deliberate choice to raise our kids in NYC because seeing families of different types is pretty normal. We wanted our kids to feel like they belong in a colorful world and that for the most part has been our experience because of our wonderful local public school and diverse group of friends and colleagues. I’ve had one or two experiences where individuals or families who see themselves as “color blind” have had a hard time understanding that kids of color need to be accepted because of the color they ARE and not because others don’t see it (a big pet peeve perspective of mine), but overall NYC has allowed me to have an overall comfortable experience raising biracial kids. I am learning though that there’s a lot of subtle dynamics and even micro-aggressions that I totally missed as a white person but my partner has not missed, as a black man. We as white individuals have inherent blind spots and we need to do the work to understand how these moments work, what they feel like, and how to address them when they do happen. I’m getting much better at that.
I’d also like to say that we’ve been outside of the city since March and have felt deeply how much “whiter” it’s been here in The Hudson Valley. I see it with new eyes and notice how hard it is for my son, in particular, to simply engage with less people of color. I could easily miss that as a white mother, but now that I’m tuned into my son’s black identity, I see that he needs to see himself through others in order to feel whole. I’m doing my best to support him and surround ourselves with our non-white friends (but social-distancing has limited this clearly).
How has the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and other events affected your family?
The death of George Floyd and the other lives lost recently has been a tragedy that has been incredibly hard to witness. I don’t know why suddenly people are seeing these deaths in a new light (myself included) when it should’ve been viewed as a tragedy and a call for action a very long time ago. But something about seeing these murders in plain view during a stay-at home order during a pandemic has created a necessary awareness for more people. The veil has been lifted and now we can’t pretend that we DON’T see, so what are we ready to do? What are we ready to sacrifice? Suffice to say, time’s up and sitting back and enjoying a life that is not aware of how black individuals must manage is no longer acceptable.
On the personal level, it has been difficult to hold space for my son’s anxiety, to explain how on one hand police can protect our family and on the other hand, the system is brutal and people do die because of their skin color. It’s super complex for a kid and yet we have to have the conversation. As a white mom, my job is let him know that I see him and hold the space for his fear. I took him to our first protest and it was very powerful to share that with him. My daughter is only 4 so her understanding is limited, but I do see that her identity as a brown girl is shaping and so I try to always keep it positive and reinforce everything she is. For my partner and I, I believe this is bringing us closer because I can actually understand parts of him that prior felt challenging. It’s all still a work in progress and I doubt there’s ever a complete arrival point, but I’m on the journey with an open mind and heart.
We are Black and Jewish so discussing racism and hate must be part of the conversation. We balance it out with extreme positivity about life, but we must also be real about who we are.
What message would you want to share with other moms of any race?
The choices you make in your daily mom life matter to the developing perspective of your children. Don’t accept playdates with only families like you. Ask the Black families in your kids class to get together. Go to cultural events in the neighborhoods you don’t normally venture to. Assess your own friendships—are all your friends White? Or Asian? How can you show your kids what it looks like to connect with individuals who are different than yourself? Read books with characters of color. Talk to your kids every day about real life topics. Don’t hide. These things won’t go away. Your kids will face all of it the second they leave your home…..so get vulnerable and be the example.
What are your biggest concerns for your kids? And hopes for their generation?
The concerns are that they will be victim to the unacknowledged trauma in our country. My hopes are that we’re finally opening up to it and they will benefit from all the tough conversations and brave actions so many are finally taking.
You’ve made it your life’s work to help other moms find (or not lose) themselves in motherhood. How are you pivoting your platform to address these topics?
I’m about to launch the next iteration of my brand called The Going Beyond Movement which commits to empowering women to get real and vulnerable with themselves. This level of vulnerability is necessary for societal and global change. My mission couldn’t be more timely. My podcast called The Going Beyond Podcast is all about vulnerable and authentic conversation and we’ve only gone deeper! I’ve had amazing women of color on the show who’s voices need to be heard. I’ve opened up more about my own experiences with race. We’re having virtual conversations and events where our community can ask questions and give voice. I’m mentoring women as they move their brands to further activation. So everything is anchored in the original commitment to SELF but it’s grown toward a deeper commitment to change on a bigger scale.
Watch the replay of the Going Beyond Podcast’s recent event on Cross Racial Friendships here.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for your curiosity and willingness to share my perspective- it’s so important to invite diverse perspectives into the mix, right now and always!
Please subscribe to The Going Beyond Podcast on Apple iTunes or anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow me on IG @randizinn