Must Read Moms: Losangelista
That's my mom over there. The white lady in the green shirt." That's how my 9-year-old son pointed me out to his baseball teammates as I sat in the bleachers.
It wasn't the first time I'd heard Olinga or his 6-year-old brother, Toussaint, describe me as white. It wouldn't be remarkable, except that given my looks, my kids are probably the only people who'd say I'm white. My mom's African-American. Did they feel there was something wrong with being black?
As we walked home postgame, I asked, "Why do you guys say that Mommy's white?"
They looked surprised.
"Well, you are," Toussaint said. "Daddy's black, we're brown, and you're white."
I found myself explaining the "one drop rule" to them -- the American racial tradition that says even one drop of black blood makes a person black. That's why, I told them, people might think calling me white is crazy. "Black and white aren't mutually exclusive, though," I said. "There are lots of 'white' people with black ancestry (whether they know it or not), and vice versa. And genuine love between the two is possible. That's a more forward-thinking idea than dwelling on who's what."
My kids are happy to dwell. Yes, they're still saying I'm white.