confessions of a black mom


I sometimes find myself wishing I had waited and had children with a light or fair skin man. I sometimes feel as though my kids’ lives would be better had their skin been lighter in color. I happen to be very middle shade of brown, like the perfect mix of milk and coffee. My kids are a shade darker than me, coffee with a bit of milk.

But I didn’t always feel this way. It started with my oldest one’s desires to be light like her aunt and friends. It started in pre-school, when a classmate told my daughter that she should be light like her. Since then, it has been a struggle for her to appreciate how God made her. At times I felt so bad for her that I wished I had done things differently.

Daniel Maidman, The Prayer, 2010-11,
Daniel Maidman, The Prayer, 2010-11,

The feeling is perpetuated with every story I hear of violence towards black children. There have been so many in the past few years. And each of them have been my color or darker. This article names a number of them if you were wondering.

Now, I don’t feel as though I am a target for such things. Nonetheless, I do avoid engaging with the police (the less interaction the better). And I just realized the friends I hang out with have become lighter. (Perhaps subconsciously I feel that being the token black provides some privileges and protection.)

I do wonder though if being lighter would have made them attractive enough to others to not want to hurt them. I wonder if having a white father would have afforded them some protection from the hate and violence. I wonder if had I chosen differently, would their lives have been filled with more self-esteem and confidence?

I want to prepare them for the reality they will face out there in the real world, but I don’t want to make them fearful of people. How do you teach that everyone is equal and should be treated respectfully regardless of skin color, when so many don’t do the same? How do you teach that no skin color is better than any other when they have been overtly and subtlety told otherwise? What a wretched world we live in.

Advertisements