Brown

I have been pondering a couple of things lately that have been in the corners of my brain wiggling around trying to get noticed.  Rather than give you a bloggling about all of them at once, I am going to focus on a one at a time to give my thoughts some room to ponder and wander.

At my house we talk about skin color a lot, and freckles (*I’ll get to that in a moment.)  Maybe as much as other trans-racial families, but since my husband is also African-American, like Mea, and Mack and I are white, and her other sisters, and nieces and nephew are all mixed racially in so many various different ways it comes up frequently. 

Now, Mea is Mea.  She is so sweet, and still has that sweet innocence of a child.  (I wish that could stay with her forever and ever.)  To Mea, parents can look different from their kids.  Kids look different or the same all the time.  Families can look different.  It is what it is with her.  She is rarely surprised when one of her friends has a white mom, and a black dad, or vice versa, or an Asian parent, or a Latino parent, on and on, you get my point.

They are just families.

Recently a child at lunch said that Mea was the same color as their chocolate milk.

I know that this is often something that is sometimes said.  I know that there are even trans-racial blogs out there with “chocolate” or other brown foods in their titles. 

I just really don’t like it.

At all. 

But, you know, it’s just my opinion. 

Chocolate is sweet, and yummy, and I can see where this could be some sort of “nice way” to say that someone has brown skin, I think it’s just another way to point out the difference.  My own Mom once referred to Mea as “her chocolate grandchild” and I sort of flipped out a little bit. 

Maybe it’s just me. 

Mea is brown.  She has a beautiful skin tone.  She and my husband actually have almost the same exact skin color, except for Mea’s lack of freckles.

She pointed out a little mole the other day and told me that she was growing freckles like her Daddy.

Things sometimes seem to be getting better when it comes to race and racism, and then things like the Trayvon Martin shooting happen.  When we started seeing the hoodies in all the photo’s everywhere I started thinking of how such a common article of clothing could become such a symbol.  I don’t know about everybody else, but the number of hoodies in my house is a really staggering amount.  I don’t think I could even tell you how many are in my house between, my own, my husband’s, Mack’s leftover’s in the basement, and Mea’s.  There are a lot of hooded sweatshirts.

I just hate that these things are even things that we have to think about.  I know that we do, I know what needs to be said to my kids, I just hate that we still have to.  I know that getting annoyed about someone making a reference to Mea being the same color as their chocolate milk could be perceived as being too sensitive, but I just wish that there wasn’t a reference at all.

Now, I have been known to make fun of my own pasty white skin, but no one is going to tell me that I am the same color as white milk, or paper, or snow, or any other white thing.  No one would think to say it.  Probably not even a kid. 

It’s just one of those things.  I’m not “mad” about it.  She didn’t lose any sleep over it.  But I think it’s just something that has been annoying me under the surface, and making me stew, think and ponder about everything.

What do you think? 

 

*We have been told by a nurse friend, that African-American people who have freckles, have some caucasian genes somewhere in their family tree.  My husband is covered with them, and if you remember, last year we learned he is half Caucasian.  Interesting fact for you.

 

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5 Comments on “Brown”

  1. I hate the chocolate thing too. I think it’s trying to make light of something that is not. Also, the more I learn about people and racism that still exists in this country the more I just want to move to a desert island.

  2. I’m sure the person that said that to Mea didn’t mean anything about it, but to me making an observation like that is a comparison and points out differences. When so many people judge on such differences, why do we need yet another one? We are ALL human, and therefore the same fallible beings that everyone else is. I know I’d personally rather be judged (if I’m going to be) on my actions rather than something on the outside.

  3. westendbaby says:

    My daughter (half Scottish, half Indian) is darker skinned than me (peel-wally Scottish skin) and already a couple of things people have said to me have riled me a little although I know they don’t intend to offend…. One woman said she looked like a little coconut and immediately I was on the defensive – what’s that supposed to mean? Brown on the outside, white on the inside? It turns out she was referring to her hair (sticking straight up around her head at the time) and it was me who was being too sensitive and needing to chill out…but I just never want race or culture to be an issue or confusing for her when she has mixed roots….

  4. Jen says:

    I’m not eloquent on these subjects. I get stuck on the thought, “why does it matter what we look like at all?” People should not be defined by the color of their skin, the number on the scale or their economic situation. I know that’s somewhat naive, but it’s still where I get stuck.


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