Jenny has made you a pie

Trey Willy Seale, AL I was small and white. Jenny was old and black. She took care of me when I was little when my great aunts that I lived with were away at work. I played with her grandchildren at our home there in the country. Together we would climb the high magnolias, explore […]

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How much do they pay you?

Rosa-Maria Lazarovits, Santa Barbara, CA. This happened when my girls were toddlers and we played at a park. A latino woman approached me and asked in Spanish: “How much do they pay you?” Assuming I was employed as a nanny. She gasped when I quickly replied: “nothing!” She could not conceive these beautiful, fair skin […]

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No, I am not the nanny.

Liliane Dizon, Tampa, FL. Each time I have been pregnant, people (mostly white women) have said the rudest things to me. Most recently, as my daughters were standing next to me, a woman said “You must be excited to finally have one of your own!” I asked her to clarify what she meant. She pointed […]

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Hi. You must be the nanny.

Mayra Cramer, Menlo Park, CA. I’m a brown typically Hispanic looking upper middle class woman living in an affluent suburb of San Francisco. I’ve allways had a hard time fitting in because I was raised in “white” neighborhoods and went to elite and desirable schools. My third child is fair and people in the street […]

Not the nanny. That’s my daughter.

Daphne Revie, Compound, NY. Taking my daughter as a baby to libraries and play groups only nannies would talk to me assuming I too was a nanny because I have dark skin and my daughter is very light. The moms generally didn’t speak to me at all.

Guilt. I loved my Annie so.

Lisa VonTress Las, Sunrise, FL. As a child growing up in the DC suburbs, I had no idea about what was going on. I had Annie, who was with my family 6 years before I was born until I was 13 when my father moved us. I came back to her later as she worked […]

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LuElla’s quilt has kept me warm

Carol Stritikus Aitken, Duluth, GA. LuElla’s Quilt LuElla’s quilt has kept me warm through winter night and summer storm when I would hide beneath its tent and read until my light was spent. It soaked up many a childish tear and now recalls a time so dear; I still can see those dark brown eyes […]

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I’ve been called my sister’s nanny.

Mary Carroll, Columbia, SC. I am biracial and adopted into a white family. Growing up in a very southern affluent area, people were always asking me if I was paid well to look after the child and if I would work for them. When I would tell them that the child was my sister, generally […]

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I’m his mother, not the nanny.

Toya Dragseth, Saint Paul, MN. My youngest son is biracial. Has his Fathers genes, very light skinned, brownish blonde hair and when he is with just me, people look as if he is not my child but a child I may be babysitting. When he’s with his dad they look very natural together.

Rosa, is the balcony really better?

Jeff Howard Washington DC It took me 50 years and working in depth on civil rights movement history to suddenly realize that an incident in my early childhood revolved entirely around race. My family’s Black nanny, born and raised in Culpeper VA was so intent on seeing West Side Story when it hit the local […]

I’m not their nanny, I’m Mom

Michele Ypsilanti, MI My darling boys are Chinese and Black but look more racially non-specific; even while I lived in northern CA, what people think of as some sort of center of tolerance, people constantly assumed that since I was Black I was their nanny. Even though they are older now, I still get surprised […]

My Daughter, I’m not her nanny

C. Fleming New York, NY I am Jamaican-American (black) and my Fiance is white. Somehow even in a place as mixed as NY people generally assume that I am the nanny since my daughter turned out to be very fair-skinned. I think the thing that saddened me the most is seeing the way that many […]

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No, not the nanny… They’re MINE.

Valerie Grajeda Rountree, San Jose, CA. I grew up not speaking Spanish in a very Mexican neighborhood. My mother sent me to schools out of my area to prevent me getting involved with the local gang population. I grew up with other nationalities and met my future husband in high school. He is white. Our […]

Waiting for, “Are you the nanny?”

Emily Miller Oakland, CA I shouldn’t have been surprised when my youngest daughter was born with White skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. She looks just like her Dadddy. But she doesn’t look like me. My eldest daughter has my brown skin, eyes, and hair. But I still shouldn’t have been surprised. I’m mixed race. […]