So…yeah. There are times that I don’t particularly like living out here. I mean, I enjoy my home. I really like the schools. I thoroughly enjoy how quickly I can get to the beach, but there are times that I REALLY don’t like living here. There is an immense lack of diversity, well that is not completely true. There is a ton of diversity, but it does not include Black people. I typically brush off the fact that I am the only one, but I often worry about my children. I grew up in a predominately Black neighborhood and I don’t know how it feels to be the ONLY Black child. I imagine that it can be a bit different and my imagination was confirmed on a trip to the park.
I decided to take my children to the park Monday. It was a beautiful day (most days are) and we took a stroll around the lake watching the geese and ducks. I planned to let my children play at the park and have a short picnic by the water. Everything was going great and my daughter even made a “friend”. I was so ecstatic to finally be sitting down on a bench enjoying the day, until…my daughter looked my way with a very confused look on her face. I quickly got up to see what was wrong with her and noticed her bring her hands to her hair. When I got to her, I asked what happened and she said (pointing to the little girl she was playing with), “she said I have to be the boy because my hair is black”. I kind of stepped back for a quick moment because the first thing I wanted to say was, “look you little snot, she can be the princess”, but I didn’t do that. I looked at the little girl, who for the record had no mother watching her that I could see and she simply said to me that she could be Rapunzel because she was blonde and my daughter could be the boy from the movie because she had black hair. Hmm, so in that split second I realized that the little girl was sweet, ill cared for, but sweet and she actually meant color of hair and not texture or the fact that my daughter was Black. I told the blonde child that princesses can in fact have black hair and that they could choose another game of princess like, my daughter being Princess Tiana and the other girl being Charlotte from the “Princess and the Frog”. They seemed fine with that and went off playing, but I was disturbed a bit because I wondered about the times I won’t be there to help my daughter. I mean, some of this has to be internalized in a way and I wonder what would I have said had Disney never made a movie about a Black princess.
I was so ready to go after the incident that I gave my children the 10 minute warning and proceeded to have our picnic. I kind of looked at my daughter and my heart ached a little bit and then I saw a Black guy walking behind her in his black ball cap with his doo rag underneath along with his black shorts that were sagging for everyone to see his underwear and I shuddered.
I constantly feel like there is a battle. Thank the heavens that my children have an example of me and their father, so hopefully no outside influence will greatly affect who they think they are or what they should be.