Thursday, 20 April 2017

Brown Like Mommy

The other day whilst using Mommy as a climbing post, the little miss, stops and looks at me. She then pipes up that she wants to be 'brown like mommy'. I smiled and said, 'you're beautiful just as you are.'

But my mind was screaming 'no!'

Initially I was going to respond, that she would need to spend time in the sun (to get this dark) and then I thought best not to say that as putting sunscreen on her would be a nightmare and not to mention skin cancer etc..

Regardless, the real reason for not wanting her to be brown like me is simple.

People still make judgements (about me) based on the color of my skin. And living in America, I want to ensure her life to be as free from prejudice and hate as much as is possible.

With Trump in power, the racial tensions that have been hidden behind political correctness and politeness is now allowed to roam freely. Visiting the state of New Hampshire recently, I was slightly perturbed to see huge signs of support for Trump. And from that point on, when we stopped in a restaurant, shop etc. I made sure I spoke, so they would hear my very British accent.

Wrong on all levels as I should be accepted as I am and I shouldn't tar everyone with the same racist brush - but I have to be realistic.

I live in a place where, as I'm darker than my daughter, I'm seen as a nanny. (Thankfully, there is a community here in Cambridge, so people see me day in day out and the majority know who I am and who is my daughter.) Yet step outside of this cocoon and I'm made aware that I'm different color. Something that I didn't have to think about whilst living/working in London/Croydon.

Summer is never my season (hate the heat, the humidity) but I'm definitely not looking forward to it because I don't want my daughter to get a tan. Yes, she doesn't have the, as Hubby calls it, 'northern paleness', he has, but she has enough color.

I know and have seen the struggles to apply for a job, walk into a bar when the first thing people see is your color. I don't want the little miss to be the token employee (employers have to ensure they have recruited a diverse number of people.) I don't want her to feel a hundred pairs of eyes stare at her when she enters a room. When she's older, I will of course have to discuss the intricacies of having a parent of color. But for now, I let sleeping dogs lie.

Instead of being happy that she wants to be like me, I'm quietly discouraging her from something that is part of who I am. I'm this color because of where my ancestors were originally from - pigmentation shouldn't define me yet each day I'm reminded that it is.

Her innocence of a simple want of being 'brown like mommy' is sadly tarnished.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Inauguration 2017

Everything about Trump's presidency is set to be unique and it seems that his inauguration is following suit.

With recent, scathing, comments made by notable Democrat, John Lewis, it looks like Mr. Lewis and forty plus of his peers will not attend the swearing in of the 45th President. Is this correct? Reading some of the tweets, they are not attending because they won't support a man who is derisive and happy to ignore any Russian involvement in the US elections, amongst other reasons.

I understand this, but it's a ceremony that shows the peaceful transition of office. Should they not promote this ethos? Rather than staying away, stand strong in front of the man and say "you may be there, but we are here, we will fight for the American public, we will stand strong and united and show you, bullies can't win."

It's a worrying time and also a confusing one. I'm the first to admit that even after seven years of living stateside, I'm still some what bewildered by American politics. And, it makes me wonder what the forefathers would think of his presidency, the inflammatory words he used to gain the highest seat in the land. Which leads to the question some have asked, what will his speech contain? It's a chance for him to inform the public of his intentions - but what exactly are they? So far all I've seen is his tweeting prowess and lack of propriety when it comes to international relations, as well as employing people with questionable backgrounds.

Trump's disdain of the press also has people concerned. He hates them, calls them dishonest. But he's fine with them when they're promoting him. Can't have your cake and eat it. Obama, Clinton and Bush on average, held 15 press conferences when they were president elect's. Trump has held one. He may think he's showing the press who's the boss and if he wants to say something to the world, he can through his tweets. But it shows complete disrespect for journalists throughout the world and how unprepared he is for the job. He can't handle press conferences because he just doesn't know how to answer tough questions. He needs to learn quickly that he has to answer the hard questions as well as the soft, fluffy ones. It's going to be a very quiet Correspondent's Dinner next year.

When a President should be using his 'power' to unite a torn, hurt country, it's frightening to see he puts his own wants and desires before the people. With all this criticism of Trump and his 'unprecedented' ways, we as a nation, have accepted this man as the next leader of the USA. What does that say about us?