Paul David Binkley
My wife of twenty two years and I are interracially married, she black and myself white.
Over our years together we have dealt with countless thoughtless comments and questions.
Here is one such event recalled here to explain my six word story.
A few years back, when our youngest still fit in a grocery cart, I was shopping alone with the three of them, engrossed in a price comparison, when an older woman approached and asked bluntly, “are those your kids?”
Wincing, I glanced over at them. My oldest daughter was tracing the colorful letters of a cereal box with her finger. My son was standing with his binkly in his mouth and fingers of one hand gripping the cart. And my baby girl was just sitting there quiet, not even remotely misbehaving.
Reconsidering her question. “Are those your kids,” I realized its true nature. Thinking myself clever, I answered, “Would I bring them to the grocery store if they weren’t?”
To which she humorlessly rejoindered, “No. I mean are they your REAL kids?”
Too desensitized to be deeply offended, I gritted my teeth and answered plainly, “Yes, they are my REAL kids.”
Only later did the true implication of her question occur to me. What if my wife and I had been unable to have children and had adopted three siblings of light complexion? How hurtful would the question have been, “Are those your REAL kids?”