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.