Thursday, October 28, 2010
Don't Be So Shady
I have two sons, who have 2 fathers. My first son was born with blondish hair and bluish grey eyes. His father is black, we've just got that kind of mix in our heritage.
My friends used to tease me and say that his father wasn't his father, but some blonde hottie somewhere under wraps.
My second son was brown-skinned, no question there. Didn't matter to me, they were both mine.
I knew they were very different shades of brown, but it never mattered to me.
Now with my grandmother, things were different.
I'm not saying which one, but between biologicals, steps, adoptives, I have had 5 grandmothers.
Don't get me wrong. I loved my grandmother. She was good to all of us. There were things we might not have otherwise had or done, was it not for her and my grandfather, but she made differences.
At first, I didn't notice. When my oldest was born, she was "normal". When my nephew was born two weeks before my youngest, she was still just a great-grandma (my nephew has one parent of mixed heritage, so he's also light).
When my youngest son was born, she fawned over him constantly. "Ohhhh, he's such a pretty brown!"
Then I would notice things she said...Little Richie on Family Matters, was a cute little, obviously a black and white mixed child, but every time the show came on, she'd say she didn't like that little boy. He wasn't even cute and things like that, but I thought nothing of it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, right?
Then though, I started noticing that my youngest would get held more than my nephew. My youngest would get more attention than all the rest of the great-grands.
It was VERY noticeable to me, but it hadn't clicked why yet. And then one day it did...
My youngest got preferential treatment because he was darker. Then a lot of things made sense.
Of my grandmother's children, one was a different shade than the others and that child was treated differently growing up. Got away with much less. Given more work than the rest. Treated similarly to the lighter great-grands.
I was the only grandchild for a long time and I thought that I got to do so much because of that, I'm thinking now it might have been because I was the brownest too.
Anyway, once I figured out the children were treated differently, I'd get an attitude and usually getting in trouble for saying something smart aleck.
My thing though, as a parent, was don't make differences between my kids. Treat them the same or don't treat them at all. I feel like that in every way. Don't let one child have carte blanche and then military rules for the others.
Of course, now that they're teenagers, I can't treat them exactly the same because of their very different personalities. The base treatment though is the same.
My grandmother must've gone crazy in the 70's and 80's when "light skin was in".
I have real issue with skin color still being a source of discrimination, hatred and different treatment in the year 2010.
Just last night at work, I had a parent change his whole dialect when he was speaking to me. Reminded me of the jive talking nun on Airplane.
My boss, who is white, noticed it from across the room. It was funny to me because anyone who calls me at work, confuses me with a white woman. It's not a "white" voice per se, it's a professional voice. When she talked to him later and away from me, the jive talk was gone. Whatever.
I always thought it funny that professional voice and white seemed go hand in hand, as if *enter slave dialect here* massa don have no negras tha cn ansa phones 'feshunaly! *deep eyeroll*
I have encountered as many unprofessional white, hispanic and other nationalities as I have professional black folks.
The economy is a mess. Education is a mess. Government is a hot ass mess. Quite a few of our children (all shades of em) are being failed by their parents. Do we really STILL have to make color an issue?
Get over it. The DNA might be different, but peel the skin, we're all muscle and bone. Sheesh.