Monday, July 18, 2011

An apple is an apple... no matter how you slice it.

I am on an amazing social site for mommies. The women are as diverse as their children and parenting styles. It's quite funny, to watch relationships amongst these women develop and fall apart in a single post. They love each other and hate each and never meet. A lot of times it is evidence of why we needn't spend so much time with technology. Other times, when there is no one else to answer your question or allay your fears but a mommy you've never met, who lives 687 miles away, it is a blessing.

The other wonderful thing I love about cafemom is all of the constructive conversations it sparks. Today there was a conversation in one of my groups about mothers who are assumed to be the babysitter based on nothing other than skin tone. I chose not to comment. I usually don't. Mostly, I read and then talk to my Fiance about the craziness later. I feel like I should contribute to this post though because I remember being there.

My daughter is mixed race. She is a bit darker now than she was when she was born but still, she is nowhere near my coco puffs breakfast cereal skin color. When she asks me, with a child's sense of wonder, why we are not the same color, it is easy for me to make her smile simply by telling her that she is the best part of mommy and the best part of daddy all mixed up and wrapped in a puffy haired bow! It is not as easy to explain to her what people mean when they tell her that she has expensive skin, or that there is no way her mommy can be her mommy. How do I explain to a 4 year old why she is smiled at when she is walking in a store holding my white Fiances hand but the persons smile changes to a tight lipped grin, when they see me round the corner and kiss either of them?

When I was pregnant I believed that somehow we were immune. I was convinced that a face that was to be showered with my kisses, would not be the protective covering of a mind touched by racism. I knew that I would have to bandage skinned knees but did not realize that I would also have to provide the verbal balm to soothe feelings hurt by a thing called racism or prejudice or bias or whatever the PC word is now, that she couldn't possibly understand.

I ended up using her food preferences to explain it to her. She likes red apples but does not like green. If I cut the skin off, she doesn't care which one she eats. A green apple is just as much apple as the red. The taste similar. They sound similar. Sometimes, people just like one better than the other. People are just like apples. At the end of the day, people are people and apples are apples. The outside is just a covering. It's what's on the inside that counts. And she understands. For now...

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