Sunday, May 19, 2013

How I deal with being Black with mixed children...

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...


Donna Hornick said...

Danielle - You have a wonderful way of cutting to the chase, and stating what is important in life! I agree - that family deserves an apology from Walmart and PWC Police.

Anonymous said...

Dear Danielle,

Are you familiar with Numbers 12? Miriam, Moses' sister, and Aaron, her husband, talk against Moses because he took an Ethiopian as his wife.

"The anger of the Lord burned against them [Miriam and Aaron], and he left them. When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam's skin was leprous and it became as white as snow."

Aaron repented and then Moses asked God to heal her, which He did, after seven days.

It's a good warning about judging people by the color of their skin.

May God bless you and your family :)


P.S. Six children! Haha, wow, I'm in awe! Where do you and your husband get the energy?

terrig said...

I missed the background, what happened in Wally World to the other family. But I get this a lot too with John Paul-people ask me if I am babysitting him. When he was a baby I would tell the ignorant who asked if I was his babysitter that I was indeed his mother and his father deployed and when he came home-John Paul showed up. Then they'd look at me all confused and I'd have to tell them that he was adopted but was annoyed I'd even have to give that much info.

Margaret said...

You family is lovely! God bless you.

Marieanne said...

The Wal-Mart incident is a complete disgrace. I agree with you...just keep moving. People will always be ignorant. It's up to us how we choose to respond.

Mine is also a multi-hued family, and when we're out together, I am always amused at the perplexed looks. My younger daughter (12) has been asked, on more than one occasion, whether she's adopted. Her response is always "Nope, and my mom has the scars to prove it!"

Danielle Hollars said...

Lots of prayer! Have a blessed day!

Nicki said...

Darling, you did well by punching that little turd out. I have instructed my kids to do the same.

I'm quite familiar with the type of prejudice you describe. As the only Jewish kid in my kindergarten and first grade classes back in the USSR, I was consistently denigrated because of my funny last name, beaten up, ignored at playtime, and abused by the teachers. I remember a kindergarten teacher who wouldn't let me use the restroom and made me hold it until I wet myself. She then punished me for wetting the bed (they actually had beds for naptime). I remember another kindergarten class where all the non-Jew kids were given sleeping bags at nap time, while I was forced to sit in a hard chair and nap that way. I remember being surrounded by a bunch of little thugs in first grade, and beating the crap out of every last one of them.

I take racism viscerally and very personally, so when I read stories like yours, I want to go on a rampage and do physical and serious harm to every ignorant redneck out there. And of course, you're right - it's not just white people acting like tools. I remember the REALLY nasty looks I got from black women at the restaurant where I worked who saw me walking with my boyfriend who happened to be black.

In any case... I think racism is taught. It's not a natural state of mind. My son had a black nanny for the first year of his life while we lived in Germany. He adored her, we had a photo of her holding him on our fridge, and he never gave her race a thought until we got to Virginia, and he was taught at his new day care center that there was somehow a difference. He came home one day and with a shocked look informed me that his nanny was BLACK!

He didn't know, and didn't care until someone informed him that somehow he should. You can't imagine how angry this made me!!!

Anyway... more power to you!


Danielle Hollars said...

Thanks Nicki... things like this happen more than people want to admit. A lot of people on the left ignores the truth, because everyone, but especially them, are supposed to be so "enlightened"! Hope all is well on your end!

Mark MC said...

I am going to be marrying a beautiful lady. I am white she is black. We have been dating for two years. I have two children from a previous and she has one daughter from a previous. I am looking forward to everything.

we haven't had many issues yet. She has seen a few that I haven't noticed because I am looking at her quite frankly. Usually I find out about hints later. So far, nothing overt and I can't say for certain if anything has happened.

She is heavier set than me too. So people might look at our body builds and think It's weird to see a thin guy with a heavier woman.

Your babies look beautiful. I look forward to ours.