I’m a mother to two sons and a daughter. They inherited my dark eyes, curly hair and tanned skin. They also inherited my husband’s height…well, Cameron did.
They inherited the heritages of two totally different families- one side is German, and one side is African-American, Russian and Polish.
My kids are pretty much the melting pot our country has become. This is a good thing. I grew up being the only biracial kid in almost all of my classes, if not the whole grade, until I got to high school. It felt weird and made me wonder why I was the only one. Why did I have to stand out so much? Fortunately, my kids don’t have this issue.
Growing Up Kentuckian
I have lived in Kentucky my whole life, so I’m used to standing out. I’m used to weird looks when I was with my mom as a kid, and even now. My mom, even at 61, does not care what you think about her, but if you come for her babies, she’ll cut you. She’s only 4’10” and weighs maybe 140 but she is pretty fierce.
My husband, however, wasn’t really prepared for those looks. He’s a tall, white, big boned country boy. We look very weird together, but the kids turned out to be adorable. He’s gotten used to the looks and comments from his family (but we stopped seeing those jerks) and we know anyone who doesn’t accept our life together needs to look at their own.
So here we are in 2017. There’s police brutality everywhere and I’ve got two sons, one who is about 5 years from driving (Cameron) and one with special needs that not all police will bother to understand (Julian). I have had to talk to my husband about this…what if our sons are stopped just by how they look? It’s a reality. They don’t “look” black, but they are. I’m half, so guess what that makes them?
My fears are this:
– In Julian’s case, he freezes up and the police just goes wild on him and I lose a son. This is entirely possible. Many police officers aren’t trained on how to deal with people with autism. Julian does have a tendency to freeze when he is anxious and he sometimes will not respond when talked to in this situation. He knows to talk to policemen/women but…the fear remains. It’s legit. I don’t see him getting aggressive. That’s not his thing. I see him freaking out and things going bad. This isn’t saying I don’t have faith in my son, this is saying I know my son and I’m preparing myself for the worst.
– In Cameron’s case…it is a bit simpler to think about. I’m just worried about him being profiled. My kids are more likely to be mistaken for being Hispanic because of their skin tone (this has happened to me a lot) and that is not a horrible thing but in this circumstance, it can go bad. Kentucky is full of prejudice and racism, even in a big city like Louisville. He’s a smart kid and a respectful one, but I worry.
These are things I shouldn’t even have to worry about, but I am. This is the world we live in. My anxiety will probably rise as they get older. Maybe not. I can only hope the issues that surround us now ease before my sons reach an age in which they are driving and going out to places that I can’t always be.
I can only hope the world becomes more peaceful for us to live in.