As you can see from my family's photo, that light skinned man (his mother is Hispanic, his father is white), is my husband, and all of those light-skinned little ones (or high-yellow as my sister jokes) are all of my children. My husband came across a story yesterday morning that made my blood boil, and I came straight to the computer, without eating breakfast, or drinking my morning coffee, so bear with me.
Virginia father says he was suspected of kidnapping his kids by Walmart security -- due to his children being mixed
Now, as a background side story, my stepmother is white, my father is black, hence my youngest sister's high-yellow joke. She is a mixed child as well. When I was in the 1st grade (1985), my baby sister was born. Back then parents could bring baby siblings to school for their classmates to see. So, my mom brought my baby sister into my class, and I was so proud to show her off. For the most part my classmates were very happy to meet her. However, there was one boy who hated the racial makeup of my family. He came up to me in recess, told me I can't have a black dad, a white mom, and a mixed sister that he called a freak. Then this boy, who outweighed me and was about two inches taller, shoved me to the ground. Well, my father didn't raise no wusses, so I got up off the ground and punched the crap out of that kid, breaking his nose. I was marched off to the office, and waited for my father to arrive. He was still active duty Army, so he showed up in uniform, and I just knew he was going to beat the living daylights out of me. However, his first question to the principal was, "Did he touch my daughter first?" Her answer was, "Yes." He responded by saying, "Then my daughter did exactly what I taught her to do." My father then took me for Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. Now, I will add that for all of kindergarten and all of first grade, I was the only black kid in my classes. I moved to Maryland from living in Georgia, so I had a heavy southern accent, and big lips, and was teased mercilessly about how dark my skin was. I hated school, and it took me a year to be able to hold my head high. One day I eventually promised myself that I would never be a victim, or use race as a crutch in anything.
Now back to future times... This story hits close to home for two reasons: One, my husband and I shop at that Wal-Mart all the time, and two, we've been looked down on because of our races. I have had women ask me in the store, even in this particular Wal Mart, if I enjoyed babysitting all of these children. To which my response is, "These are all my children." I most times get looks of surprise, some of disgust, a few of joy. I always wonder what is going through their heads, that their first assumption was that I was their babysitter, and then realize the arrogance of their comments. Was it because I am black, and they are lighter, and black women don't have that many children anymore? Probably. I really want to answer someone in my heavy southern accent, "I'm their mammy, I birthed all of these babies!" ala Gone With The Wind. But I don't think that would go over very well.
My husband has had people look sideways at him when he walks with my oldest, and she has had to tell people that he is her dad, not some sick boyfriend. Our older children have cried when they were younger when we told them, "No, you cannot have a toy or candy." Would security think they were not our children because someone thought that we "don't fit"? I've had people try and cut in between my husband and I because they assumed we weren't together. I've gotten nasty looks from other black women. I'm guessing because I married outside of my race. I just keep on moving and smile!
My husband and I are raising our children to be God-fearing outstanding citizens, who judges someone on the content of their character, not the color of someone's skin. They were much older before they started asking why mommy and daddy's skin was different. We told them that God loves a multitude of colors, and we love each other for who we are, not what we look like. We just keep on moving!
How do I deal with this? I pray that God gives me the strength to deal with ignorance and stupidity, and pray my children aren't too affected by it all. I stand by my husband, and we raise our children with pride.
I am disgusted that this was Wal Mart's and the Prince William County Police Department's response. That family deserves an apology from both parties, and this makes me wonder if my family will be next...