This is my weekly non-vegan rant focusing on race and whiteness in the USA. IT just takes a few minutes at the playground with my newborn and 2.5 year old to get some “well-meaning” white woman to insult me by ‘complimenting’ me about the whiteness of my children and how I don’t look ‘black’ (yet I also don’t look American).
This is not an anomaly. This bullshit happens all the time and I’m just sharing it right now because it’s just been one of those weeks….
To those who thought I should have called her shit out: You’re right! I am still stuck in this “I should be compassionate to everyone including those ignant folk who racistly hurt my feelings” mode. I talked to my mother after it happened and she basically said or made several points:
(1) Amie (that’s what she calls me), If I reacted to all the racist shit white people have said to me, I’d be (a) in jail and/or (b) dead from high blood pressure. This is why so many black and brown people in the USA have high blood pressure.
(2) You’re right Amie about wondering if that lady would have mistaken you for the nanny if you had been a white woman. That is what white female privilege means: you can have a multi-ethnic child or even a “white” looking child and you will never been seen as a ‘servant’ to that child, only their capable mother. As a black woman, you are a capable nanny, buy rarely seen as a capable mother.
(3) Raise your children the way I raised you: to love yourself and everyone and not be a judgmental racist, colorist, etc. You’ll get stupid people who identify as white who say racist things to your children. And believe me, at this point in life, Eva Luna looks like she’ll be seen as ‘white’ by most white people. When she’s in school, she will probably be in a situation in which she is around all white children and they may very well start talking about black people and maybe even refer to us as “niggers” . You’ll have to train her to fight back and stick up for herself and your family. This is what it means to live in an ongoing white racist USA… and don’t think you’ll also be exempt from colorism by black folk who bother her about her being not black enough.
She reminded me how, when my parents first moved to our all white rural town in New England, the white man who came over to fill the oil tank for the heater asked, “How can YOU people afford to live here and buy a house?” She said my father told him to leave. Wow, such white entitlement to say that to my mom and dad.
So, maybe this this isn’t really a non-vegan ‘rant’… I remind myself to eat healthy vegan foods, especially my green kale smoothies with spirulina, avocado, fresh ginger, and maca root in the morning. It helps me with the physical stress in life, particularly when dealing with racist situations and feeling my blood boil. I hope I can teach my babies many methods to heal our souls and psyches and bodies from perpetual racism and normative whiteness and neocolonialism. I tell them to try to remember to be compassionate and loving to yourself and when you don’t feel well, are angry, upset, etc, nourish your soul with some green smoothies, kale chips, or a cup of nourishing mineral tea. So, here I go to make a kale maca Spirulina smoothie for all of us…