Proud Black Woman Shares About Her Son's Whiteness
When Sa'iyda Shabazz was pregnant, she imagined she would be raising a mixed race toddler with "a big curly afro and light brown skin". Shabazz is a black woman and the father of her child is white. A few hours after they placed her mixed race baby in her arms, he looked "as white as his dad". Shabazz thought that her little boy would get darker as time went by. But all she got when she posted his pictures on Instagram was: "He is so white!" something that disappointed her a little.
When she would go out, people would be surprised that she was the mother. And when they went to visit the boy's godmother (white), people automatically assumed she was the mother because the boy looks more white. And when the godmother implied that Shabazz was the mother, all they had were looks of confusion; as if they were asking: 'Did he really come out of you?'.
Besides getting remarks about how cute the baby is, an older black woman once told her that she was "lucky to have a white baby".
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"I was gobsmacked. Why was I lucky? Were white people going to accept me more if I had a "white" baby? Did that make me special? Then I was annoyed. What made her think that her comment was okay to say out loud?"
When Shabazz is out with her son, people are always trying to figure out her relationship with her 'white' son. And when he calls her Mummy, that's when it hits them. She adds:
"Often they [their eyes] become cloudy with questions and judgment, but they never say a word. I know what some of them are thinking, especially the women. They consider me a traitor. But my son's whiteness does not quantify my blackness. Having a child with a white man doesn't make me or my son any less black.
As if I could forget that we are black."
To her son, Shabazz is just Mummy; not a black woman who doesn't look like him. But much as he may not look black, he is black and she wants to prepare him for the world. To her, Black Lives Matter is more than just a hashtag - its real. And she wants her son to celebrate his blackness. "His blackness is just as much a part of him as his whiteness", she says.
Shabazz ponders about the future of her son:
"Will his intelligence and ability be doubted as a result of him having a black woman as his primary caregiver? Will teachers and administrators assume... that I'm just his nanny? Will kids or their families treat him differently if they saw him and then saw me? If you look at me, you don't know that I have a college degree, but you do know that I have brown skin. On the flip side, I know that he'll experience other privileges as a white male. I don't see such privilege as a bad thing if you're aware that the privilege doesn't exist for everyone. The colour of his skin could keep him alive in a bad situation, but what happens when he tells someone he's mixed?"
Much as his son looks white, all Shabazz wants is that he accepts both his black side and his white side and be equally proud of them. And if doors open for him because he looks white, she says she "would push him through wholeheartedly".
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