By Kori D. Miller, Editor
People like lists. I know I do. They’re scannable. They’re easy. So, here’s my list.
- My children can pass.
- I don’t have to worry that my son will be shot, by a police officer, at a playground.
- My children’s friends accept them as “one of them.”
- Teachers don’t assume that my children are troublemakers.
- Teachers don’t assume that my children aren’t intelligent.
- My children were never suspended from a pre-school for “bad” behavior.
- Store owners don’t assume my children will steal from them.
- When they get stopped for speeding, because I’m sure that’ll happen someday, they’ll probably receive a warning.
- No one will ask them if their hair is real, or if a fork can comb through it, or if they can get sunburned.
- Their job applications won’t be picked over because of their names.
- My children will have to learn to be allies for their darker-skinned cousins.
- When my children proudly profess that they’re part black, they’ll be ridiculed.
- Because of where we live, when they begin to date, their dating pool will be more limited than mine was. And, that will cause them pain. Parents see things differently than children do. This will be a hard lesson for them.
- They won’t have to learn “the rules.” Keep your receipt handy. Don’t carry anything into the store except your wallet or purse. Keep your hands on the wheel when stopped. Don’t talk back to an officer. Don’t run from an officer. Stay on the sidewalk. People of color know “the rules.”
- No one will assume that they’re lazy, shiftless, drug dealing thugs.
There are advantages to marrying a white man. None of those are it.
Like most people who get married, I fell in love with someone with whom I shared common values, aspirations, and ideals. We had many late night chats about what our children might look like, and what that could mean for them, and us. Ultimately, we believe that diversifying the gene pool makes our species stronger. Some may not like that, and that’s okay. Their gene pool will slowly fade away as more and more multiracial people are born.
Multiracial people will make a difference in how everyone interacts in the United States. When we see more people of color, and specifically multiracial people, positively represented in books, we’ll witness better understanding, and hopefully, less conflict. When we can no longer simply use the color of one’s skin to decide a person’s level of threat, we’ll see fewer police shootings of people of color.
Will this happen in my lifetime? I don’t know. But, in this moment, like many other people of color, I’m angry. I’m angry knowing that because I married a white man, my children are safer than so many others. That is wrong.