Angela D. Huff,
I am a white woman with two children: a white daughter, and a biracial son whose father is black (if you were to ask my son’s father, he would tell you he doesn’t like being called African-American). My children grew up in my small hometown community, attending the same school as one another for many years, and playing sports with their peers.
I was never questioned as to whether my daughter was “really mine,” but I have had that question concerning my son. I’ve also overheard conversations about my family among soccer parents who had no idea that I and my son’s father were sitting several rows below them on bleachers. They discussed how my son’s grandparents would often drop him off for practices, and how they were “pretty sure” he had been adopted by the grandparents. I turned and asked which child they were talking about, even though I had heard them call my son by name. They repeated their story to me, and I responded that I was his mother, and his father was sitting next to me, and that under no circumstances had he ever been “adopted.” I told them that I was unable to get him to practices because of my work schedule. I received one soft and mumbling “sorry,” and none of those parents spoke for the rest of the practice.
Those grandparents – my parents – had done the same for my daughter when I couldn’t make it to soccer practice. Those parents didn’t assume that she had also “probably been adopted.” There were no assumptions made whatsoever. So, why the difference? Sometimes what is not said can speak volumes.
This is just one example of many, many situations we’ve gone through and continue to go through. My daughter has been questioned about her brother, and vice versa. The three of us all have different last names. I’m judged by that, too, but not as much as being judged by having biological children of different races. And why should it matter? The answer is that it shouldn’t, but today, in the communities in which we live, work, and visit, it is sometimes painfully clear that it matters.
Skin color does not equal worth. See what you may see, and follow with kindness in thoughts and actions. That is what matters most to me and my family.