So, in case you did not know, I am black. I know...enter shock value right now. And to make it even better, my parents are straight from Africa. That is right, the continent. I am the firstborn American child so when I say I am African American I literally mean I am African but born in America. So, with all that is happening in the world how am I coping being African American and married to a white man and raising two beautiful mixed babies, let me tell you. It has been hard.
I wish there were days where I felt equal to my spouse, I wish they were days where I could go into a store and not be racially profiled by the color of my skin, I wish they were days where people didn’t look at my family and think “why is someone like him with a girl like that“. But I signed up for this right? I mean let us be honest I knew what people would think when I started dating my husband. I knew heads would turn when you go out in public together. It has been 10 years since we have been together, and I have been able to handle the side eyes or the snarky remarks or the low-key shade being thrown at us. But now we have children and they did not sign up for any of this.
They did not ask to be brought into a world where they would be judged by the color of their skin. They did not ask to be brought into a world where running around your block may potentially get your shot just because you are darker than the guy next to you. How, as a mother, can I keep them safe in the world where it feels like everyone is against me. I remember being five and being called the N-word and my parents not knowing how to deal with it because they never had to in their country. And now as my daughter starts kindergarten, I need to now give her the talk that was never given to me and it breaks my heart. I want to shield her from all of this craziness, I want her to stay in her bubble where everyone is nice and friendly and no one is sick and no one is hurting each other because I know the minute I tell her about all the evil in the world that my little girl be gone forever.
And it breaks my heart that I have to do it but I know it has to be done because I don’t want her to come home from kindergarten the same way I did when someone says something not nice to you and not know how to react. I want her to have the best experience at school and the best life, but I also want her to be prepared for what’s out there. So I’m sitting here writing this as my kids are sleeping knowing that in a month from now, they will start school whether it be virtually or physically but I need to tell my daughter this news and it makes me want to cry.
Why is it that it is 2020 and I feel like racism has gotten worse, not better? Is it because of social media, does it make things look worse than it really is? Or is social media finally bringing to light what has been happening in the dark? I could tell you stories of myself being racially profiled throughout my life even up until this day and you would think as I got older, it wouldn’t be as bad but it’s sad that it’s only getting worse and it’s sad that there are times in my life I feel more comfortable going places with my husband because I know if he’s there, he can protect me. There are times where I won’t drive after a certain hour at night because I am scared I’m going to get pulled over and not make it home but I know my husband will make it home safe so I’ll send him out instead. And it sucks, it sucks that because my husband is white he can pretty much do whatever he wants and knows that he’ll make it home but our son when he’s my husband’s age won’t have that same luxury just because he’s black.
Yes, I said black, not half black… black. When my son walks down the street the average Joe won’t see him as a mixed race child they will see him as a black man and if the average Joe is racist towards Black people they will be equally as racist to my son who will not deserve it. And do not think that I do not feel racism on the other side. Sometimes being with a white man you have African Americans looking at you like “wow you’re too good to date a black man?” And you have people looking at my children like “wow they’re not black enough to be Black because their father is white “. Why is it that there is always someone who has a problem with who I love? Why can’t I love who I want without people staring at me sideways and why can’t my kids look whichever way they want to look without being judged by either side?
As a mother of mixed-race kids, I deal with these questions and sit with these issues daily to the point where I want to cry. I just wish that by the time my kids have kids it will be more acceptable to be mixed because everyone at that point will be mixed. Clearly if you are reading this you are not one to judge me and I appreciate you so much. You are a true ally and I feel extremely comfortable speaking my truth to you. I know that if you were to ever see me on the side of the road, you would stop your car to make sure I get home to my babies OK. And I know you will be raising your kids to do the same.