Red and Yellow Black and White

Honey-Marie Braswell,
Durham, NC

I come from generations of mixed race and multi-ethnic people on both sides of my family. We come in all hues. Nobody has been authentically black, white or Native American since the late 19th Century on either side of my family. I’ve had people ask which of my parents is white. When I say neither they look puzzled. I have had a teacher use me as an example of what a mulatto house slave would look like. One time a beautiful Indian girl of a dark complexion thought I was Spanish and repeatedly said that she wish she had light skin like mine. It was heart-breaking. Now that I am a mother of two, a boy and a girl who I perceived to be multi-ethnic I pay attention to how they are perceived. My daughter is a friendly, skinny girl of light-brown skin, with long kinky hair and takes after her father’s side of the family. My son, has skin the color of ivory tusks with light to medium brown hair and dark brown eyes. Our daughter is darker than both of us and our son is lighter than both of us. We love them both the same. On the outside my daughter will be perceived to only be black and my son will be perceived to be biracial and various things under the sun despite having the same parents. Regardless of what me and their father looks like and what I look like only one thing matters and that’s love. Without love and compassion in our hearts it doesn’t matter what any of us looks like.


Tweets by Michele Norris