I’ve been thinking of conversations with people in my life about “living while black,” and to be honest, if another person tells me they don’t see me as black… That they don’t see my “color…” That I’m “not like other black people…” Or my favorite (insert eye roll) “you’re only half,” as if I am supposed to just ignore half of my being. Let’s try and pretend the “one drop rule” doesn’t exist. Even though my kids are a quarter black, they’re black. They will always be black, and we choose to teach them to embrace it. So, I just can’t. Not today. Not ever again. I’m doing my best to remain open, love all, and expand myself. But when it comes to this, I will no longer accept or tolerate ignorance. You are not ignorant when you make those comments and dismiss me when I explain how that makes me feel. At that point, you CHOOSE not to see ME.
On a brighter note, I often have shared how accepted and loved I was by my late Dad, Steve, and while most people probably assume my comments of him accepting me for who I am is simply because I am his daughter in law, it’s not – I am referring to him loving me regardless of my skin color. Caring for him in his final weeks of life, I was only reassured of that love and my heart is filled with gratitude to have those moments. Dad was anything but ignorant. Even in his final days, he was learning and growing.
How did I get so lucky to have two amazing Dads? Both so different in looks, but both so full of love for their children and other people’s children – regardless of what they look like. My Dad Steve loved me, for ME. I never for a second doubted that. I’m heartbroken that I have lost such an amazing man, white ally, friend and father who truly accepted me regardless of what I looked like. He saw me… as his beautiful, free-spirited, biracial daughter, but never made me feel any less because of it. Like my blood Daddy, he encouraged me to think I could do great things, that nothing was impossible. Yet, he was aware of my reality and that I would have to work harder than someone with less melanin, that his grandkids would also share that reality. He never tried to act like he understood my feelings on issues of race but always listened attentively, never made me feel like I was overreacting, never dismissed me or my emotions, and always reassured me of the love he had for me and his multiracial grandchildren. He always wanted to learn more, grow more, to know how he could be a voice and how he could make things even just a little better.
This post is more than just a memoir of who my Dad was in this life, but a call to action in hopes that maybe it will inspire you to stand up and speak out, to love others more – like he did. Start within your own families and circles. Commit to learning and growing, being better for yourself, your children, and others.
White friends & family, I beg you, please don’t be color-blind. And if you have been and want to open your eyes, ask questions, read, and put in the work. Mamademics has amazing resources and articles on advocacy and being part of the change. The answers are there if you really want to find them. With the current state of our nation, and the fact that some people are just now coming to grips that racism is still rampant, baffles me. Why? Because a large majority of our nation is color-blind. They might not be out marching with torches or wearing a hood, but they are everywhere. They’re teaching our children in our schools, “serving and protecting” on our forces, and the sad reality, for some – share a family name.
We need help.
“White supremacy never left because you pretend that you’re color-blind in order to absolve yourself…” Danielle, Mamademics
White people hold the ball in their courts, they always have, from the very beginning of our nation. The intent from the beginning was domination and supremacy. We know that justice for all did not include anyone other than the white male. Today, we take the stand and fight for rights and equality, but our nation was built on the backs and blood of people of color.
We want peace. We want to live, we want to be who we are without fear for our lives. You know, sometimes kids are taught that they are not to start a fight, but they sure as hell can finish it. Well, we can try and defend ourselves, but even then it comes with a price – usually our lives. Now what? We definitely didn’t start this fight and we are tired. We defend and fight back daily in our minds (which most of the time is a battle ignored in and of itself), our homes, in the streets with our black and brown brothers and sisters, in our offices, in our paychecks – or lack there of. We can’t end this alone, it’s always been in your hands.
As my family member, friend, reader, acquaintance, fellow human being, I’m asking you this:
Will you be part of the solution to finish this fight once and for all?
I know many of you might be thinking it’s taking on the world and the thought might even overwhelm you (it should cause there is A LOT), perhaps because you think you don’t know those brown and black bodies in the news, and don’t see how this all affects you. Your privilege is showing.
So could you at least muster up enough f*cks to give for me? Still not sure? How about for my kids?
If you can’t answer that with a yes, save me the time of weeding out those who are silent in my networks and hit “unfriend.” Seriously. Open your eyes. Don’t be silent. Teach your kids to love AND teach them about the realities of life for so many other people that don’t look like them. Love is great, it’s a starting point, but action is needed. People of color are not just being broken down, we are being destroyed – one by one – and it started many years ago, and continues in full force today.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s time to wake up.