Don’t ask why families don’t match

jan_03662011Alicia Barnes,
Starkville, MS.

Shared race is not a qualifier of being a mother to a child. Some of us birth kids who don’t look like us, and it’s hurtful for people to question our status.

When I saw people trying to figure out if a white mother with brown daughters had adopted them, I was upset because people’s minds more easily go to adoption than to interracial relationship to explain a photo like that even when there’s physical resemblance.

It’s bothered me that even in 2014, it was not even in the realm of possibility in some people’s minds that these kids are biologically hers. They saw her skin and automatically assigned her the role as adopter while minority moms with fair kids are too often assumed to be the nanny.

As a black mom with a fair-skinned biracial child, I know it’s hurtful from the mom perspective. I can’t imagine it’s nice from the children’s perspective to have strangers seeming to question the validity of their families. I know people are not meaning to be malicious. I’ve had people use it as a conversation opener to tell me about their family members who don’t look like they belong, but the fact is by bringing it up, you’re telling someone you think their family doesn’t belong together, at least visually, and that’s no good.

Not all families have matching skin, but that doesn’t open the floor to ask insensitive questions:


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