In our biracial household, race is a topic that’s discussed openly. Otherwise… it would be rather awkward. This is something I don’t normally discuss publicly/with others, but today I’ve decided to share some experiences that left me scratching my head.
A couple of weeks ago, in Zara, I had just finished maneuvering Braveheart’s stroller and was about to take off his shoe to try on a cute baby sandal. In the meantime, I was actively talking to my hubby and asking him if he thought we should size up or wait for his feet to grow before buying the sandal since he’s in between sizes. A woman interrupted me, an infant’s shoe in hand, and proceeded to ask me questions about available sizes and such.
For a brief moment, I was perplexed. I could only just stare at her, puzzled. But once I got over the initial confusion, I realized the mistake she’d made. I just smiled politely and said “I don’t know.”
To which I received an, “Oh sorry, I thought you worked here.”
Now, why would she think I worked there? I was wearing a bright red, lace-effect top and jeans. I did not have a name tag, a uniform, or a radio (as all the other employees did). Not to mention I was maneuvering a stroller and about to take a shoe off my own baby.
Minutes before that encounter, a woman walked past me, looked at Braveheart, and then glared me slowly from head to toe before walking away. I’m not a confrontational person so I just smiled and said hello, but on the inside I wanted to say… many things I won’t repeat here. Lol.
That one, could be anything. Maybe she just didn’t like my looks. Maybe she was jealous because I had a [very handsome] baby in tow. Maybe she was having a bad day. Or maybe she didn’t appreciate me mingling with someone outside of my race. I should add here, that later on, she walked past hubby and I and gave yet another stare – hubby was oblivious. haha
Could those two scenarios be overt racism, or could they just be misunderstandings? I suppose they could be either.
Lately, I have been seeing more and more mixed families and mixed children. I have seen the awkward stares from bystanders. I’ve read discussions that parents have had with their biracial children. I’ve read statistics that state most biracial children identify as black.
Then there are questions that come up such as: but what if my child looks fully white? What if my child looks fully black? [I’m saying black and white in this blog because not all blacks are African-American… yeah, there’s a difference].
Braveheart is rather fair skinned, and often, people barely get a good look at him before saying, “He looks just like daddy.” Or they’ll look at his curly hair and say, “He must’ve gotten it from his daddy” (probably because mummy’s hair is flat ironed straight most of the time haha).
A coworker of mine saw a picture of Braveheart on my PC recently and said, “Goodness, he got NOTHING from you, huh? I’m sorry.”
To which I teasingly said, “I gave him LIFE, thank you very much! And don’t be sorry, he’s gorgeous.”
All joking aside, the truth is… yeah he does look a whole lot like his papa. He has my shape of eyes and my nose, but the rest of his face is his papa’s. If he was darker skinned… would people think he looked more like me?
We have had many people give us strange looks as we walk by. It’s always the same: a glance at the baby, and then a disapproving glance towards papa and mama. In those cases, we honestly just smile politely and keep walking. We’ve noticed that the majority of disapproving looks we’ve gotten were from much older individuals. Which shows that, despite all the madness we see in the media, the world has definitely become a lot more accepting.
Most of the time, I’m not fazed by racist remarks or reactions, but if I overthink things, the comments kind of bother me. Those incidents in Zara definitely made me stop and think. But I know this is the world we live in and I’m prepared to have many difficult conversations with our little biracial wonder. How a situation turns out is influenced a whole lot by the way you react to it. So I always choose to react as positively as possible in the moment.
Any other mixed families out there who can relate to these awkward encounters?
Thank you for reading!