Thank you for reading. Well, I won’t go too far off onto the topic of children, but I will say his white wife did have a child, and the girl is blonde-haired and light-eyed. But I sighed when he made this comment: “Could you imagine if I had a kid with nappy hair?” I was too stunned to even comment. I just stared at him. He tried to clean it up some kind of way and say his wife wouldn’t know what to do with her hair and I’d have to help her out, but coming from him specifically, the term “nappy” just sat all kinds of wrong with me.
I wrote this piece with the hope that parents would consider both sides of their children’s heritage, not necessarily to beat up on him. As stated, I really did consider the man a friend once upon a time. This topic was one that lead to a lot of arguments and a couple yelling matches, but we did find a happy medium where he had no choice but to just apologize over some of the ridiculous shit he’d said.
But if you’re never around one half of your family, all you can do is listen to the other half. And if they’re throwing shots at the other side, you either learn to survive and just embrace one side or you start making enemies with the side that raised you. I can’t relate to this. That’s never been my world — outside of a few light-skinned versus dark-skinned moments. As far as him figuring it out, he really did have an instance — on a basketball court no less — where he himself felt like they decided he was “too dark” to play with him and kept dodging him. Instead of calling them on it, he just found brothas to play with at another court. That shit is sad to me because he was an adult at the time, so he’d managed to coast his way through with racist Latino friends. They didn’t care for black people, but I guess he was “light” enough.
And that still blows my mind, especially after having a conversation less than a couple of days ago with a biracial friend (Puerto Rican and black) who was in tears talking about how he’s been picked on his whole life for being “too dark.” He’s way lighter than me, and I wouldn’t consider him “dark,” but you can clearly tell from his hair texture that he’s not “just Hispanic.” Listening to him brought this post back to my mind because he was on the other end of the scale — dealing with knowing he’s got black folks in his family, embracing it and just having to fight it out with those who considered him too different.
This time though, I just quietly listened. I’m learning that it is much more useful to just hear folks’ stories rather than trying to tell them how to live their lives. The other way simply didn’t work for me. The Puerto Rican/Black gentleman told me that talking to me was like … man, I forgot the word, but it meant “pheromones” or “therapeutic” or something along those lines. I think just getting it off his chest with a brown-skinned black woman who would understand was … something he needed to do. I was flattered.