Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I'm Not a White Mama

Everyone has their pet peeves, right?

I'm going to tell you one of mine. Here it goes:
People over dramatizing interracial families. 

It sends my eyes directly into the very back of my brain.

There is this cute children's book, A Mother for Choco, in which a little yellow bird is looking for a mom. He can't find anyone who looks like him and is quite upset. After talking to animal after animal with no success in finding a mom, a sweet brown bear sweeps him up and loves on him and invites him to be her kid. Even though she is not quite what he is expecting his mama to look like, he takes her up on the offer and is welcomed into the family by brothers and sisters, who don't match, just like him.

It is a sweet story. I like it.

What I don't like is when people compare our family to Choco's. 

The difference between a yellow bird and a brown bear is not color. Birds and bears are not even in the same class, order or family, much less species. 

My family, we are all the very same species.

If Choco was a polar bear, he would still be a different species then his new mom. 

My kids and I, we are the same.

Think of Choco as a grey labrador and his mom as a black one.

My seven kids and I are even the same color. 

It started when I was teaching Eva her colors. We got out the box of crayons and we found Salmon, Olive, and Macaroni and Cheese. (Someone was clearly hungry while printing the crayon labels.) 

For a few weeks she was so pleased with herself as she noticed different colors around the house. When she wasn't sure about a color, we could go back to the box of crayons and double check. Thankfully my 4 year old couldn't read the labels. "It is just Pink, Sweetie." 

Her skin perfectly matched Brown. Or Sepia. Holding the white crayon up to my arm, it was obvious to her that I wasn't White. Maybe a nice Tan on a good day in summer.

And then one day, corralling my crew through Walmart, we discovered the paint sample aisle. And we discovered that my hunch was right. 
We are all different shades of the same color. 

We are all brown people, aren't we?

I do not want to negate the differences between the African American and Caucasian commuities. Throw in there Latino, South Pacific, Asian American and yes, we DO have different cultures and different histories. And our different shades and variances are to be celebrated. 

Neither to I want to poo-poo the challenges my Sepia kids will face growing up with mostly Tan classmates. There will certainly be hard things for us to battle together and our family is committed to talking about the struggles.

But I'm reminded daily, and I want to remind everyone else, that my kids are LIKE me. 
We are very similar. 
We all need to sleep and breath and eat and pop molars out through our gums.
We all need school and God and each other.
We are all created for relationship and thrive with love.
We are so much more alike then we are different.
So much more alike then different.

We are not Black and White.

We are Brown. 
Or Sepia. Whatever. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the pictures with the paint swatches! Those are beautiful! We joke that our family had to outsource to get a child that could tan...