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. My mother is of Russian Jewish decent and my father is West Indian. In America, that means Black, just like our “Black” president. Now that my youngest is nearly a year old, I know that her eyes aren’t going to change color, her skin isn’t going to tan, and her hair is going to stay the lovely amber that it is, for at least a while. When we are out at the park, or the grocery store, or any public place, I remember the story related to me by a Nicaraguan friend whose children look like her White husband. “They ask me if I’m the nanny.” They. Not- this crazy person that one time… They. Multiple people have asked her if she is the nanny. When will it happen to me? When will some “well-meaning” stranger ask me if the adorable little girl in my arms isn’t mine? So far, Oakland has done itself proud and none of its inhabitants have asked the dreaded, but I’m still waiting.

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3 Responses to "Waiting for, “Are you the nanny?”"
  1. C.t. says:

    Have the same sentiments as i also have an older child is tan, like myself, and a younger one with green eyes and light skin. Although i’ve never been asked the “question”, the confused looks and stares happen on a regular basis. At first it was funny to see how people lack the understanding of basic genetics, but now its just annoying.

  2. C Nelson says:

    I *am* the West Indian mother (and yeah, in America, that does mean black) to three biracial kids, and while no-one ever asked the question in that particular way, I got plenty of “oh, he’s so adorable! Where are his Mommy and Daddy today?” This is especially interesting when it’s asked, as it was several times, *while I was breastfeeding the infant in question.* It tapered off when my second was a toddler; they were obviously brother and sister, and her hair was just kinky enough that she looked biracial, even though her skin’s just as light as her older brother’s.

  3. Matt West says:

    One of the costs of miscegenation. An Englishman who bangs a Bantu will be more related to any other random Englishman to to his Bantu spawn.

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