Perception of Us Among Us: A Recent Incident

|
I meant to post on this for awhile. Its at the point where while I'm nursing baby, I literally imagine what I will post word for word and if only I had that mind-Jedi thing, there would be lots of posts written from my head, but alas I actually have to find the time to sit down with my computer and type that ish out.
Its kind of a response to a post my sister wrote about what "white people" may think about our hair. I can't remember the title of the post to quote it word for word so forgive me if I'm politically incorrect in the description of the post (for those who are bothered). And its not really a response but its along the same thread of how others view Blacks -except this incident I happened upon isn't an 'other' view of us but a 'us' view of us. Here goes:
My boyfriend is white. I tell you this only because its central to the story. And so my son, is bi-racial. This too is key - somewhat.
So I went for my typical evening walk with my bf and my little boy, the other evening. Baby is in stroller, and I am walking along wearing a hat (to cover my twists) and big earrings (to TRY and look semi-cute regardless). My bf is pushing the stroller when this little 'brown-skinned' boy who lives across the street is standing around with who I assume is his grandmother (older woman) and another little 'brown-skinned' boy. The boy  who appears no more than about 7 or 8, yells from across the street 'I wanna see the baby' and immediately skates over on that scooter thing the kids ride these days.
The other little 'brown-skinned' boy (but darker), who appears about the same age, follows him. He comes over, looks at baby, who is very very light-skinned (I only point this out because it's central to the story as well) and say: 'Aww, how cute'.
Then he turns to my bf and says, 'but what are you doing with HER?' (He pointed to me). Of course I look around me to see who  'HER' is, because I am appalled by the emphasis on her and equally appalled at his brazen-ness in addressing me, an adult, the way he did. My bf (who annoyed me even validating this kid's question with a response) says the typical, 'she's my gf , I love her, yadda yadda,' and the boy replies: 'But he's white (pointing to baby), you're white, and she's......brown (you imagine how the 'brown' was actually said, and if you can't, let me place it into proper context for you: The 'brown' hit me in the face like, let's say, a palm leaf (not fun, feels rough, kind of annoying, but no serious harm done). I swear though, he made a face when he said 'brown.'
 The incredulity of the whole conversation made me laugh but it was actually kind of sad that he thought this way. I said to him: 'But YOU'RE brown," and no lie, this little brown-skinned boy with some crazy things growing out of his head that might be dreads (hair was such a crazy mix of long and short kinkiness, I could not tell) looked me straight in the eye and (with his very dark-skinned friend beside him) said: 'I'm not brown, I'm almost white.'

(Now later my bf would tell me the little boy actually said 'my grandma said I'm almost white' but I don't remember the 'my grandma said' part). Could be though that his response sent me into a mild delirium (out of surprise) because I swear I became disoriented and couldn't remember if I was actually where I was, or in some alternate universe, I was so taken-aback.
For some unclear reason, I thought to rationalize with him, so he could see the flaw in his thinking: I said to him, 'what about your friend? Isn't he brown?'  But I quickly realize this was a futile pursuit on my part when his response was to ramble on about his friend falling and cutting himself. What did I expect after all? I mean I was talking to an 8 year old 'brown-skinned' Black boy, who thinks he is 'almost white.'

Did I already say I just found it immensely sad? How could this little Black boy, want to be someone else so badly that he convince himself he IS, or how could a family member be possessed with such self-hate, that she allow this boy to identify himself as 'almost' some other, as opposed to having him be proud of who he IS. And then to emphasize the distorted world he lives in, he placed me, who is the same complexion as him exactly, in the category of brown, whilst unable to see he is the same color.
I would joke about it later to my bf that if he had seen my hair he might have expressed double disdain! And not just said '..but she's...brown!' but may have remarked 'but she's...brown....AND she has kinky hair!!'
'Cuz if he is 'almost white,' then I'm SURE his hair is also, 'almost straight.'

1 comments:

Bee or Lisa said...

O my gosh! This made me laugh so hard!! I love it! It's funny but like you said sad but still funny...I don't even know. Thanks for sharing that... and the way you told it made it that much funnier, but sad but still funny. ah, what a world we live in!