I read an article in Harper's Bazaar by Nandini D'Souza, who like me is a mother to a biracial daughter (http://www.harpersbazaar.com/magazine/feature-articles/raising-mixed-race-children-0810). It is always interesting to be privy to someone else's story - especially one so near and dear to me. Nandini is Indian American and her husband is Irish/German American. Their beautiful daughter favored the father more in complexion and the result for Nandini has been interesting. In her experience, others have brazenly questioned her tie to her child; others have assumed her role as a caregiver; others have ignored her in favor of addressing her husband; others have snapped at her as she parented. I was dumbfounded reading about this. She shared that she initially tried to be understanding, but eventually became aggravated and embarrassed any questioners, and then finally seemed to gain a better sense of how to navigate the murky waters of how others viewed her and her relationship with her daughter.
While I am surprised that I have not had her experience, I am enormously thankful. I can't say for sure how I would respond if someone were to assume that I were Bella's nanny. I am not sure how sensitive and understanding I would be to someones lack of ability to be open minded or show care in their inquiries. Bella is only 20 months, so I still have plenty of time to find out. It was good for me to read Nandini's article; to know about her experience and how she handled it. I think it will help me as I navigate the murky waters of how others might view me and my relationship with my daughter. Perhaps I have already been sized up and questioned, but maybe the inquirer employed tact and discretion so that I remained unaware.
I guess I get it. I get that people are curious. But I also think that we all have a responsibility to be appropriate; to not be offensive. I need to use my words just as carefully as the next person. In a world where biracial and multiracial is becoming more and more normal, individuals need to learn to understand and accept that families look different today than from years ago. Nandini and her family are a part of the Highbred Nation and I like how she described the differences of her own brother's biracial children: "It's the difference between fluffernutter, peanut butter, and Nutella. All different flavors, but all tasty." Well said!