Racism can be found within all groups of our society. A person's sexual orientation, economical status, or education doesn't prevent he or she from being a racist. Failure to acknowledge the racist ideals we promote as being racist only allows for the continued acceptance of racism as natural. It is not natural. It is taught. We teach it when we use fear or anger to describe a group of people who are different than the group in which we place ourselves. We teach it by our treatment of others.
As a purely legal matter, I understand the lawsuit well. A breach of contract occurred and there are punitive damages that should be awarded. As a Black woman, I thought the ask of $50K was too low. I can spend, in 10 years time, $50K on the upkeep of my hair. Truly the plaintive has much to learn about Black culture. The plaintive's words, per her suit, are why I write of her case in my blog.
She and her partner had moved to a small town in Ohio from Akron for the purpose of rearing a child in an area with better schools. She acknowledged that her family has issues with homosexuality and people of color. She acknowledged that the town as a whole is narrow in thinking. My first thought who would choose to conceive in such an environment? What is good about that environment? What could be good about the schools?
The child at the time of this writing is two years of age. The mother has a therapist and according to my interpretation the child is in therapy. I agree therapy is needed for many reasons in life but being Black shouldn't be one of reasons. She speaks of her emotions when taking her child to a predominantly Black neighborhood to have the baby girls hair cut. ( Keep it real moment: Why the hell are you cutting the little girl's hair? Get a brush and then brush her hair each day. Just because it is curly doesn't mean you don't brush it. Don't be afraid to touch your child or her hair.) She spoke of her fears as to how the town or the family will treat her or her daughter. She acknowledged she keeps her sexual orientation hidden to keep the peace with her family. The child doesn't need therapy but her parents need it.
The child has a parent reared in a town where racism in not only an unconscious part of life but a daily practice. This town is also homophobic, it seems, based on the hiding of sexual orientation by the mothers. Until these two women can be comfortable with themselves, they are not ready to be a parent. It is my concern, this child will be reared to be insecure within herself, environmental conditions of household, because she is Black. This world is not in need of another insecure Black woman filled with self-hate.
Prior to my writing today in my blog, I watched the movie Belle. It is set in late 18th century England. There was a moment where I saw this beautiful Black girl acting out in self-hatred because of her skin. She had all of the benefits of being a member of nobility but bore the burden of being Black. That burden drives many women of color, in the 21st century, to dye or to straighten their hair. In India skin lightener is a huge seller in the attempt to not be Black. If the couple chooses to not move and finds it to be a burden, I ask they send the child to me.
Child rearing is not for the weak. If you don't have a true understanding of self , you will rear another self-doubting human. Those who are self-doubting project their fears unto others in the form of some -ism or phobia. It is clear the cycle must be broken. These two women have an opportunity to break the cycle. They should adhere to the advise of the therapist who suggested moving to a more culturally diverse place. Within such a setting they will be able to be stronger within self and to allow their daughter to become secure within herself. I find Atlanta to be a wonderful place for LGBTQ families.
My personal truths:
I had no plans to return to Mississippi with a child but family obligations demanded my presence in the state. I returned determined to not hide my sexual orientation and to allow my child to have a continued experience in cultural diversity. Even in my small narrow thinking town, I spoke up and often for social justice. I didn't model fear for my children. What I did model is a story for another day.
The thought of a woman changing her color is appalling to me. I am also against sun tanning. Love the skin you are in is not just a saying. The most beautiful part of a person to me is his/her soul. Aesthetics hasn't always played a part in the loves of my life. I am more in love with the spirit of a person than anything seen.
My views have more to do with my being weird than being reared in some socially accepting family. My family and my town is racist. Yet it all quiets around me for I am just not into it and don't hide my not being into it. If we remain silent and accept racism as natural it will remain the institution that it is.
Links: As always, read the comments for they shed light on a society