Fusion’s Xavia Dryden is afraid. She’s pregnant and there’s a possibility something horrible is going to happen: her child might be white.
In her article on the subject, “When you’re biracial but your baby could be white” Dryden goes into detail about the potential perils that may come with having a white child and the fear of the baby seeing you as a stranger. Dryden, married to a white male, is bi-racial (half-white, half-black) and is concerned that her child isn’t going to be able to relate to her on a cultural level because of the “privilege” he might receive. I wish I was making this up, but this is Fusion we’re talking about here.
“These are the fears I harbor for the quarter of my son that is black. For the whiteness within him, and for myself, I harbor other fears—fears of erasure that fill me with shame, because while I pray that my son will not suffer the slings and injustices of American Otherness, I also pray that his privilege, should he inherit it, will not divide us.”
“I fear that my son—insulated for nine-odd months in the warm shelter of my womb—will burst into the world and not recognize me. I fear that he will, in the midst of latching his tiny mouth around my nipple, see its darkness against his impossibly pale skin and see not his mother, but a stranger.”
I guess I’m a little confused as to what exactly she is trying to (covertly or directly) convey in expressing the angst that apparently is keeping her up at night. Would she feel more comforted if her child to be shared her exact same skin color?
She finishes the article, feeling soothed maybe, by saying that she knows her baby is “woke” because his kicks and pounds are rhythmically synched with that of rapper Kendrick Lamar’s album “To Pimp a Butterfly”. When she says her baby is “woke”, she’s referring to the baby connecting to his blackness and having an understanding of what is going on in the community in relation to racism and social justice. Amazing. Simply Amazing.
Newsflash to the author: Life is hard. It’s hard for blacks, and it’s hard for non-blacks. Here is a word of advice from the late President John F. Kennedy: “Don’t pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men.”
Below are the referenced excerpts from the April, 29, 2016 Fusion article titled “When you’re biracial but your baby could be white”:
XAVIA DRYDEN, FUSION: The sudden onslaught of adulthood, pregnancy included, is nothing compared to what I’m experiencing as a biracial pregnant lady married to a white man. While I’ve always been aware of the challenges of being black in America, I’m now faced with the equally terrifying possibility that my son may enter the world under the veil of whiteness—an identity rife with dangers of its own.
My dilemma is one that is both increasingly common, with intermarriage in the U.S. at an all-time high, and maddeningly singular. After all, there’s no book called What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Biracial Child in a Country Still Plagued by Racial Injustice.
I’ve gotten used to feeling that my body is not entirely my own. My yam, though, is a different story. The fact that strangers feel so comfortable pawing at my unborn child terrifies me; it reminds me that, as a person of color in a nation that claims to be “post-racial,” my body, as well as my son’s, seems to be a public possession—one that may never know true autonomy.
I worry, should my son be born darker, that when he is stopped and patted down on his way home from school or work or a date he will see this not as a violation, but as a fact of life. I worry that perhaps when my son is born, he will feel the unwelcome brush of strangers’ hands against his body and recognize it from those days in the womb—as natural as the pulsations of my heartbeat or the far-off vibrations of my voice.
These are the fears I harbor for the quarter of my son that is black. For the whiteness within him, and for myself, I harbor other fears—fears of erasure that fill me with shame, because while I pray that my son will not suffer the slings and injustices of American Otherness, I also pray that his privilege, should he inherit it, will not divide us. I fear that my son—insulated for nine-odd months in the warm shelter of my womb—will burst into the world and not recognize me. I fear that he will, in the midst of latching his tiny mouth around my nipple, see its darkness against his impossibly pale skin and see not his mother, but a stranger. I fear that my son, as he grows into a teenager, will feel his pale cheeks flush with shame when I appear to check in on him and his friends, not because of my tendency to hover—helicopter parenting transcends race, after all—but because of my residency in a body whose darkness is so vastly different from his own.
As he grows bolder within me, I fear for my son, but I am not without hope. A few months from birth, I find that my He-Yam moves most palpably, most forcefully, most gleefully in response to the rhythmic pulsations of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. As I feel my unborn child’s tiny hands and feet pounding in time with Lamar’s defiant proclamations that we are, despite it all, “gon’ be alright,” I cannot help but press pause on my fears. Because even in the womb, my baby—in every sense of the word—is woke.