Lauralie is a beautiful name and it fits my daughter perfectly (when it’s pronounced properly). She’s 2 years old and she’s smart, polite and independent. She’s a great listener and loves Disney World. She pulls my chair out first at dinner (I didn’t teach her that), she asks if I’m OK when we go over a speed bump on the road and she likes to tell everyone that my cell phone is “mommy’s phone”. If she doesn’t want to do something, she kindly says “no thank you” (which I take credit for).
We are currently in the potty training stage and she’s doing great. But what would I expect from a daughter who never used a pacifier? She’s full of energy and loves singing her ABC’s and nursery rhymes. Posing for photos is now added to her hobbies list which includes jumping, riding her bike, playing at the playground and pushing the cart around the grocery store (that may be hard to imagine, but it’s the cutest thing). I look at her everyday with love and admiration.
As she’s getting older, I begin to wonder about her future as a “mixed” child, despite all of her great qualities listed above. How will she be treated at school by other children? Will she be comfortable in her skin? Will she tell her father or I if something inappropriate happens? Will she be judged or will she judge others? When she encounters racism, how will she handle it?
I am African American and her father is Irish. He grew up in a small town in upstate NY. Before me, he had never dated a black girl. Needless to say he learned a lot. Now he’s raising a mixed child, when within his childhood there were hardly any minorities around.
I’ve had white men tell me they I’m “pretty for a black girl” and that they can “make an exception” for me because I’m different from the “other” girls. Through my eyes, they just blatantly admitted to me that they’re racists. But instead of getting angry or walking away, I would choose to actually have a conversation with these men.
In those moments, I felt that I had to be the spokesperson for my race. I’d let them tell me about their racists thoughts and stereotypes they believed were true. I’d respond with truth, examples in history and my honest opinion and experiences. I’d remind them that although they had these ignorant thoughts, they were still holding a conversation with me.
I wonder how Lauralie will respond in these situations. I wonder what will go through her mind when she has to check a box that corresponds with her ethnicity. I wonder how she will react when someone points out her hair and skin are different from others and vice versa. Who will question her about her mother being so dark and her father being so fair skinned?
I know the world isn’t the nicest. I will teach my child to judge no one. I will make sure she knows her history both good and bad. And both sides of it (Black and White). I will educate her the best way I can in regards to street smarts, being aware of her surroundings and understating that unfortunately racism does exist.
“Lauralie’s Aunties” are a group of young women that are White and Spanish. We all have been close for years and they’ve loved Lauralie since she was conceived. Love is colorblind among us. I wish the world was too.