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Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Black Motherhood: Separate & Never Equal

Last night I sat talking to 2 black women about being a mom to a blasian child and an asian & black community advocate, when a white women walked over to our area, starting gushing over my son and then turn to the group of white women sitting next to us and asked which of the women (white) my son belonged to.

shestreams blasian family

*blink, blink* (where's a hidden camera when you need one?!)

I should mention that my son was sitting in my lap, with my arms around him, playing on my ipod touch that has a case with a photo of us on it. For all arguments sake it was clear he was with me.

As I looked at this women who still seemed clueless when none of the white women claimed my son as their own (would they even dare?!) I wondered what she saw....or rather didn't see.

As I turned back to the black women I was talking to, 3 pairs of eyes collectively rolled together. I think we might have sighed also but I cant remember. I do remember the conversation that immediately followed the side eye all 3 of us gave that white women.
  • A conversation with comments validating that my son looks just like me
  • A conversation that validated that people don't take time to pay attention to anything besides skin-tone
  • A conversation about how more people need to know that black women have biracial children that are a different hue, heck even a black mom with a black child can be different hues.
We had this conversation with that white women still standing there being pointedly ignored by me. Let me tell you, it took most of my will power not to turn around and tell her how ignorant and stupid she sounded. But I've learned not to engage with people when the end result would be pointless.

My point was proven when this same women, passed my son and I repeatedly during the night and never stopped to say anything, not a sorry for the misunderstanding, not a can I get to know you, not even a hello. Nothing, just kept looking at us and not speaking.

What's even more interesting is this women knows of me in the mom blogging world. We may not be friends in the same circle but I'm certainly no stranger to her. So again I wondered what she saw....or rather didn't see.

shestreams blasian family

What is it that people are NOT seeing when they look at me as women and mother? This was the thought on my mind as I looked around at the people also at the conference. They were mainly white. While that's nothing new at these types of events, as I entered the area where dinner was being served I felt uncomfortable.

As I looked around to see where my son and I can sit, I made eye contact with a certain high profile mom in the blogging world. The look in her eyes made it clear, in her mind, there's no place for me and my son at this event. I immediately lost my appetite.

As I walked back towards the exit, I said goodbye to the few that were friendly and pointedly ignored the others. Could I have stayed? Yes, I payed the fee to be at this conference but which mom want to expose their child to people who are confused and unfriendly with a family that's different then their's?

That to me seems to be the answer to my question. People in that world still don't see me on the level with them.

Black motherhood is still a mystery, a black mother is still something to be kept as separate and an outsider. For the last 2.5 years in the mom blog world, I've held my tongue, played nice and paid my dues when dealing with rudeness, discrimination and sometimes out right hostility. In the end for what?

At an event where I'm suppose to be part of a community of influencers, I'm reminded my "motherhood" influence doesn't apply to them.

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8 comments:

Jen Marshall Duncan says:
at: September 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM said...

What is wrong with some people? And why do the biggest idiots always seem to find you? I wish I lived near you so that I could run into you and show you that not all white women are like that. In fact, some of us go through the same stupid stuff (and yes, it is always other white folks who say the most offensive things.) My (former) doctor asked me if all 3 of my children had the same father. "Are you their mom?" is a regular question. And for some reason, when they were younger every white person thought they should be able to touch my children like they are animals in a petting zoo. Now they are older and things are different. They've learned to speak up for themselves and no one makes any mistakes about who their mom is. Hang in there. Things will get better when your son is older and can speak for himself, letting people know without a doubt that you are his mom.

Michelle says:
at: September 25, 2011 at 10:17 PM said...

This post is so eloquent and so stinging that my heart breaks. No one should ever have to feel this way. It's so important that you wrote this post and that you're speaking up about these things when they happen to you.

Not talking about it, ignoring it, playing it safe, will only ensure that incidents like this will keep happening and that the structure of this social media world will always be limited.

None of us can let this stuff go by unchecked. Please continue to talk about it and don't be afraid.

Velour says:
at: September 26, 2011 at 1:15 AM said...

I'm glad you're out there, bringing attention to the issue of black mothers to biracial, particularly Blasian, children. I'm sure your voice will make it easier for the rising number of black women forming multiracial families these days. That woman was so dense...how embarrassing for her. She should know that multiracial families exist, and children can be as light or as dark as any one of their parents, as easily as they can fall somewhere in between. Your son doesn't even look white, so I don't know what she's talking about. It's obvious now that he's black and Asian.

I'm sorry to hear about the hurtful experiences you had at this event, though. I don't know who these people are, but it seems like they may lack class, manners and a caring nature even for other mothers. Most people would expect better of mothers. I don't even want to know what kind of children will be raised by women like these. What a shame. I don't blame you for not sticking around. It wouldn't be good for you or your son, nor worth your time. Hopefully, you can find better people to share the joys of motherhood with.

Yakini @ThePrissyMommy says:
at: September 26, 2011 at 1:02 PM said...

That's really hurtful that the mom asked who was Daniel's mom (while he was sitting on your lap and clearly your twin)... but even more shocking that she didn't come back and apologize after realizing she had committed the faux pas. :(

MsXpat says:
at: September 26, 2011 at 3:56 PM said...

Its unfortunate that even at events that are meant to be supportive you find characters like that. I think you where right to leave, you have to pick your battles wisely. I hope next time around you both have a better experience.

Anonymous
at: October 8, 2011 at 11:16 PM said...

I have been there. My son is now 27 yrs. old. One can clearly see in the above picture that you are his mother. One would think things would have changed since 1983, year of my sons birth. Ignore the idiots who are just trying to be funny at your expense.

lois

KalleyC says:
at: October 11, 2011 at 12:14 PM said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I've had my share--believe me. It really doesn't get better in time either, all it does is leave our kids confused.

The last issue I encountered was how a neighbor in my building was talking to my husband, ignoring me, and gushing over my daughter. She then had a nerve to say, "tell your wife hello."

I responded, that would be me, and this is my daughter. She tried doing a backtrack and saying, oh, I don't see you often (bull, I saw her everyday when I left for work with my husband), and she didn't know I lived in this building (again bull). But whatever, people are always going to say ignorant things and be ignorant, I'm glad that you're speaking out about this.

It's good to know that we're not alone.

Anonymous
at: October 28, 2011 at 7:59 PM said...

Ignorance!! How sad being that we have a black president most people of color are still treated this way. If your beautiful son wasn't with you I would have stayed & made the witch uncomfortable...Smh!!!