Recent acts of racial violence triggered a double down, a double wake-up call that racial violence is now my lived experience as a white mother of a half-black, half-white fire-breathing little girl we named Malia.
I will never forget the moment she realized that our skin was a different colour. “My skin is white, your daddy’s skin is black and your skin is a latte mix of both” I said as I watched her eyes in sheer disbelief and denial. She always saw us as the same, she needed to hold her head next to mine to see the evidence of my statement; she also needed to have that process of understanding be held in love and acceptance.
Kids are wired to look for sameness and similarities, connection and love. We are the ones that teach the next generation whether our differences are good or bad, or whether they are to be celebrated as being different. We choose to teach them separateness and hatred because of ones race, sex, religion, ability, sexual orientation, economic status etc. It’s time to choose a different lesson, once and for all, it’s time to go back to the beginning and re-learn what was innate in us at birth.
I’ve read Malia countless Maya Angelou children’s books and I’ve cringed every time I open the cover at her raw depiction of how white people have treated black people. That past tense is still present and my desire to change the storyline is strong and so is the shame that comes from the white privilege I was born into. Acceptance of this heavy shame is now my story to tell, while I can’t change Maya Angelou’s plot line, I can certainly be a part of changing the present one.
Malia, as your mother I will stand for your ancestry – both black and white.
Black women and men everywhere, I will stand for your right to feel safe, protected and above all else, EQUAL.
It’s time to stand for something else, to acknowledge history and rewrite the present so that the future looks like a world that is ready for your brilliance. We all need to change the storyline and we need to do it now.
Pinky swear, she said.
By Sabrina Banadyga, Head of Marketing at Sympli
Sympli stands for inclusivity in body, mind and soul.