I was walking to the subway holding and hugging my now three year old daughter recently, when I heard a man walking by us say, "Black women are the best!" The man walked by us and smirked while making this comment. He had most likely assumed that my daughter was the result of a union between a black man and white woman. It certainly seemed this comment was aimed toward us.
I leaned into discomfort and said to the man that if he had something to say, don't say it under your breath. Tell us to our faces. That's right. I told this man "us". Tell my daughter to her face that her parents shouldn't be together. He looked quite shocked that I said something. He actually apologized and said he meant nothing against my daughter. I could certainly look at this as a moral victory. However, it didn't feel as good as I would have liked.
I knew to expect these types of comments or looks, being a black male married to a white women. But, I'm tired of this. Don't bring this attitude to my daughter, who represents a bond made of love. The argument against my union is that I have turned my back on my race. I believe this is a cope out. I am a proud black man. I have worked my entire adult life to support and empower children, specifically children of color, and especially African-American children. If you spend 30 minutes with me, you know my heritage is one of the first three ways I identify. I am convinced that people need to focus on their own (ahem) stuff, and let me focus on my own.
Eventually, I will have to talk to my daughter about racism and prejudice in much more detail. I am not sure about all the aspects of this inevitable conversation, but I do know the theme will be to stay true to herself while honoring her multiracial heritage. We can't avoid these comments, but I can empower her to know there is nothing wrong with her family. Nothing.