“I don’t see color”. I’ve heard that well intended phrase many times. I know anyone saying it means well and doesn’t intend to be rude or harmful so it doesn’t bother me. I know other people who are greatly offended by this phrase and believe it is impossible.
As a white momma of biracial children, I am more aware of color than I ever have been in my life. I see color more often than I use to. I am now noticing color everywhere I go.
I am as prepared as possible for the questions, comments and looks. I handle them with grace as often as possible. If we are in a restaurant, library, at a doctor appointment or even an event, I quickly notice the diversity or lack of it in a room or location. I’ve quickly noticed I’m the only white person or my children are the only biracial children. I also notice quickly when there’s people of all different colors and when I see that, I relax a bit and feel more comfortable. When I see a room or location filled with people of all colors, I feel like we will all be embraced.
Realizing and admitting this to myself has been difficult. I wish I could not see color! As I’ve analyzed this, I believe I’m noticing color more because I am a parent. I need to protect my children. I believe I am more aware of color now as part of doing my best for my children. I’m ready to protect them and helping them learn self-confidence.
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Color at school
We recently went on a visit at a school. The school had great reviews and we have heard good things about this school.
While there, we received an incredibly warm welcome. The people could NOT have been friendlier.
As we walked around, I realized we were the only family that wasn’t all white. It suddenly made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t fearful. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t angry. I felt confused as to if this is where we want our children to learn and grow. So, despite it being a great school and how wonderful everyone treated us, we didn’t feel being the only biracial children in a classroom would be good for them.We’re hopeful it’s the right decision. It was this night that made me decide that I cannot deny that I do see color.
Color at the barber shop
I recently walked into a barber shop. It had been eight weeks since my boys had a haircut. That’s TOO long for them or for me! They are young and I tend to like it a little longer. I typically keep some sort of style for them. This time, as I walked in, I was the only white person and I was glared at by several men as I asked for Marvin. He was unexpectedly off work. I should have just said thanks and waited for Marvin … however, I didn’t want to be rude when one of the guys said, can I help you with something. Marvin knows I am not great with styles. He sends me you tube videos. He recommends product. He helps me actually create styles instead of just keeping their hair incredibly short.
This barber wasn’t as patient with me. He told me their hair was too long. He told me their hair was not moisturized enough. I told him I wanted their hair longer on top and shorter on the sides or in a shag type of style. He wasn’t amused. He said they need short boy haircuts. He said we’re going into summer.
I’m sure this barber was seeing color with me. He finally told me, it would be easier for you if you just kept their hair short.
Maybe I’m not looking for the easy way out. I want the boys to have styles and I will learn. I am willing to put the time in. I have spent so much money trying to find the right products. I have watched many youtube instructional videos. Doing their hair and learning about their different textures and different curl types hasn’t been easy. I actually enjoy it though and as long as the boys are patient with me, I’m willing to help them have any style they want as long as it isn’t something that disrespectful!
Color at the park
As we get ready to go play, I’m coating myself and the boys with sunscreen. This time, another parent says why are you putting sunscreen on them, they won’t burn. She made a couple other comments too. I thought about it for a second and politely said, they need it, we’re here to play. Have a good day. She was a stranger and I didn’t feel she needed a better response.
I guess it is things like this that keeps me aware of color everywhere we go.
Color at the doctor office
I’m at the doctor with a sick little one. I’m comforting my sick child and I’m worried about my child as he has some medical conditions that have to be managed. So, needless to say, I’m already in a state of being stressed and sleep deprived as this is day # 3 of him being ill.
A lady says, “his family is lucky to have such a caring nanny, you’re so good with him.” I was taken back. I hadn’t been called the nanny yet. Her tone was nice. She smiled as she was talking. I had a choice.
While inside, I am angry, insulted and wanting to shout and say ugly things, somehow, I was able to simply calmly say, I am his mother. She was obviously very embarrassed. She apologized profusely. I personally believe handling her with calmness may have actually helped her learn a more valuable lesson than responding in anger would have. At least, I hope it did.
Maybe next time, she will remember and apply the lesson she learned. Maybe she’ll be quiet or give a compliment that could apply to any situation.
I see color more
While I see color more, I don’t see it at home. Our home is our sanctuary where we can all relax and be ourselves and comfortable in our own skins.
I wish it were truly possible that none of us ever seen color or felt color. We have many great days, many great times where we don’t think about color and don’t feel it is part of our life or decisions.
Then, there’s those times where it is obvious someone is looking at or noticing or treating us differently because of our color. I’ve been told I am not white anymore and that’s a blog for another day.
As I always have said, there’s good and bad in every single color. The color of our skin does not indicate our hearts, character, integrity or the person!
I do see color and I know there’s many great people doing wonderful things … and their skins are of many different colors! ~ Francine Dylan
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