Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Identity Is Harder Than You Think....

Some time ago, I’d met someone who told me they weren’t racist, they just didn’t approve of mixed race couples. At first, I thought HEY, WOAH! Hypocrite, much?

That’s like me saying, I hate tomatoes. But, what I don’t say is, I love ketchup. Which, evidently, is true.
A comment can hurt, on the surface. But, what if you don’t understand their reasoning behind it? I didn’t say what I immediately thought. I asked WHY? Why do you think that?

This was his reasoning. He doesn’t believe that the children of mixed races deserve the flack they get. He grew up in NOLA East, Chalmette, to be more precise, closer to downtown, than the outer ridges. He is Italian, but grew up in an African American neighborhood. He watched mixed race children ridiculed and excluded (and those are nice words for what he told me), from a young age, leaving a lasting impression on him.

Perhaps, we need to dig deeper than the average person is willing to do. Open your eyes, and take a good look around. Not everything is as it seems on the surface.

I had a conversation last night about labels, equality and the like. I have been thinking about it since. While, I understand my thoughts seem a little all over the place, it’s because they are.

Such as, how I saw a picture of a very young boy playing dress up: make up, pearls and heels. Which brought up the issue of what toys young children should play with. Which brought back a few articles I was reading about transgender/sexual association/gender identity.

While I understand that this issue scares the hell out of a lot of parents, it is a valid, strong issue some have to consider. What if your six year old daughter comes to you and says, I want to cut off all of my hair! I don’t want to play with those dolls, or put on that pink party dress you’re making me wear!

I’ve read some stories recently about how parents try to impress, maybe even force what they think is right on that child, when they are absolutely adamant. Sometimes, it isn’t a phase, or a whim that will go away in a week. It is the mentality of the child. It is, in essence who they are. We, as parents try to do right by our children. But, in the same token, we have to take that child’s happiness and well being to heart.

If, a parent tries to force their views on an impressionable mind, they might’ve hurt themselves, as well as their child. Perhaps, the child now thinks they can’t be who they are. It is wrong. They now think they can’t come to their parents. What if that child later discovers they are indeed
transgender/gay/lesbian/Buddha/extraterrestrial (you get my point) so on and so forth. They are ridiculed at school, and they have to hide at home. They become withdrawn. The parent begs, pleads to know what is wrong, and they can’t tell them. They can’t risk their parents love. Their only lighthouse in a storm of distrust and vulgar prejudice.

What becomes of them?

At the end of the day, what the parent wants for their child, only goes so far. To be a productive, functional adult, we all have to be accepted, respected, for who we are. People shouldn’t have to hide, only to survive.

So much out there is ready to knock us down. Family and friends shouldn’t be one of them. Take a breath; sit back, read, research. Come back with a level head. What is good for the goose, isn’t necessarily good for the gander. 

1 comment:

author nikki noffsinger said...

My cousin is mixed and grew up in Detroit and black kids did not accept her for the longest time. She is not light skinned. Crazy. My son since he was little has played with dolls. He loves MLP and considers himself a Brony. He isn't into rough play and action figures scare him. He also loves to build things and experiment (which at times has me groaning). He has ADHD and for him he discovers his world more hands on than mentally. He is my son and though I do not buy him Barbies, I let him play with what makes him comfortable. A child psychologist once told me that some boys identify with toys that do not intimidate them; toys that make them feel comforted. I think we need to let children discover their world of play themselves and not over think if every little thing is going to be something that curves their sexuality. I love my son today and if in a few years he felt he had feelings for boys I would still love him every bit as much. That goes for if he wanted to change his sex or wear a purple wig and fake ta tas and sing show tunes from RHPS. My love does not come with strings.