“He’s not your son? Oh good!”

fullAmber Halverson,
Eugene, OR.

“Oh good! He doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!”
My first real encounter with my own race that I can remember was when I was in middle school. My white godparents had just adopted a black baby. They “kept his black name”, DiMario, as his middle name and changed his first name to the “biblical” (aka: white) name Joshua.
We were in the store and my godmother took her oldest daughter to the bathroom so I was with the baby waiting outside. An older white woman came up to me and asked if he was my son. I exclaimed, “Oh, no no no. He’s my brother”. In my mind it was a crazy thing to ask because I was obviously too young to have a baby. Her response was “Oh good. Because he doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!” and then she just walked away like what she said didn’t mean anything.
I was raised in a diverse city with many different races and cultures, but my own race was not acknowledged to me until it was compared to someone else’s.
His was acknowledged right away and was immediately looked down upon, all before he could talk.
I often wonder if his parents have ever talked with him about his race and what it means to him or if they teach him colorblindness.


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