Friday, July 8, 2016

A Letter to my Daughter About Race

Dear Ana, 
I am really proud of you. I know you are only one year old, but your life is an example, before you even speak. You ARE, and that makes you incredible. You are MINE, and that makes you irreplaceable. 
I know that I was blessed in life so that I can bless others. As a white, middle-class American, I receive and have received many privileges others didn’t. But there are some things I can never do. I can never be.  Some things I will never truly understand: But you can, and you will. 
There will be a time in your life (as in everyone’s life) when you just wish you were normal. And you will never fit in the normal box, wherever you are. You may even get mad at me for the choices I made that made you who you are. You will have to struggle to find where you fit—because no one will tell you where you belong—you have to create that space. 
If anyone tries to tell you that you are “Half” anything, I hope you remember that you are whole—in fact, you are double: black and white. You are triple: Brazilian, American, Jamaican. 
If anyone tries to tell you that you don’t belong here, I hope you remember that you are welcome and loved by people all over the world. That you are an international traveler and scholar. That you are bilingual (please make it more). That your true home is heaven. 
If anyone tries to tell you that you that your hair is bad, I hope you remember all those good times we had together, doing your hair: talking, laughing. The times we would not have had otherwise. The culture and stories behind your hair. 
If someone says you are too dark, tell them to buy a flashlight. If they tell you that you are too light, tell them to wait until summer. If they say you talk funny, say thank you. If they say you are not as important as someone else, tell them that is not true. 
The secret is, darling, that most people aren’t happy with how they are. And it isn’t about color, it is about character. A person unhappy with themselves will be unhappy with others. I feel sorry for them, and hope you can pity then, rather than think their words are true. I hope you can love them past their hurt-hate.  

1 comment: