Dear Future Child: Race & Covid
Dear Future Child,
Alongside an abundance of love, we will raise you acknowledging what it can mean to have the colour of your skin, even if there is solid chance society will have already showed you this in its own way.
We will do our best to inform you what it means to be the child of interracial parents. Whilst you will be mixed race, politically you will be seen as black.
If you are a young black male, we will have that talk, if you are a young black female, we will have that talk. Non binary, that talk. Oh the stereotypes that are out there and the many things we’ll look out for and be aware of.
You may be complimented or fetishised. Hair. Skin tone. If only people loved black people like they love black culture. There may be assumptions you’ll be great at sport, talented at music. Maybe you will. Maybe you won’t.
This is not to scare you, our child, but because awareness is important as the system is very unfairly structured (understatement) and designed with a wealth of barriers that you may face.
We won’t shy away from these conversations with you. We want you to feel able to have them with us. We won’t have all the answers. We’ll learn from you too.
Your mother started very late on the journey to understanding more about whiteness and still has a long way to go, where ongoing conversations are important in our home. Growing up involved a very white circle with little to zero conversations about race around her until her late teens, not that that’s an excuse.
You have Jewish heritage on her side. Though different, comes with its own set of stereotypes and antisemitism to understand.
We feel strongly about you knowing your make up. Many white family and friends know little about any covert, often daily micro-aggressive racism experienced. Only when it’s a bit more overt perhaps, as a lot of white people will understand this more. Which is not what we want for you. We want you to be able to understand both forms. Any racism is racism.
You are being born into a world where it’s very much there and it often takes horrendous, disturbing footage to get (especially white) people talking.
Mummy and daddy talk about race a lot in our relationship. Daddy is black and mummy is white. Our everyday experiences differ greatly. Mummy will experience different things being female. It’s important to us to share and debrief. To look after each other.
Yet topically after a horrific time people talk more for a little while. That’s often how the news works unless it directly affects us. We get angry for a bit. Until when? Another death that’s filmed? So much happens daily, not captured on film but just as brutal, and yet many, ourselves included, will continue to move on after the initial media storm passes.
One could argue we can’t just be sad, angry, and so on forever or we’d never enjoy life. This isn’t about that. We don’t want your everyday thought to be around this. We just need to raise you as a conscious child.
There are some organisations, charities, activists, community organisers that fight daily, continuously for what can feel like unreachable justice and thorough attempts to combat future oppression, education, awareness. They make a point of it. People may get depressed, distraught, exhausted, distressed, bored of looking at and reading about it. You think campaigners have endless energy too? They really don’t. We have a duty to gain knowledge ourselves. To help better protect you against a society that doesn’t want you to thrive.
Mummy will birth you during a time where some of the most affected individuals and families by the coronavirus are BAME people. That BAME males are some of the most at risk which puts your father in that category. If mummy was a BAME mother, that would be another dimension to consider as the statistics for black mothers and deaths / poor treatment during childbirth are worse than for white mothers, covid aside.
We love you dear child. We are two people who love each other so much, your parents. They say love can conquer all and if only love was enough, then all children and adults of colour would be as safe as the white of the world.
So whilst they’ll be a lot of silence and (arguably unintentional) ignorance (though we wish it wasn’t the case) we won’t be silent with you.
We love you dear Kubs.
We’ll face this world together and try and give you the best possible life we can make for you.
Often people have matters that are sensitively dear to their hearts that they might advocate more for. Mummy talks about mental health and grief…but she is aware there are specialist black spaces that are better served for understanding emotional well-being, deaths and bereavement journeys which will differ from white ones. Our key focus is your heart at the moment, beating with CHD but currently protected inside of mumma.
We know a little of what awaits but unknowns remain unknown as they always will. We’re here for you how we can be Kubs.
Mummy & Daddy. X
P.S Words have been used like ‘may’ when it’s probably ‘will’, and words like ‘if’ when it’s likely ‘when’, but it’s 4 in the morning so thought would add some hope.
To amplify some voices, reading and literature to help educate:
Farzana Khan (Healing Justice London & Shake project)
Emma Dabiri- Don’t Touch My Hair
Reni Eddo-Lodge-Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race