Thursday, 12 December 2013

While you sleep

My great grandmother, my grandmother my mother and my daughter are all alive, a precious bio-fact like a jewel I hold so dear. But on nights like these when I watch my daughter sleep I cant help but think of the history of evil that has impacted our lives from slavery, rape, servitude and incest, all four generations of us are all survivors of some of the worst types of evil this world has to offer.

And then I look at her sleep, so delicately peaceful, and unaware that even as a fetus she was called a "mutt" by her white father's white coworker and friend. Then I remembered the 1st time she came home and explained that she wished she lived in Jamaica where people looked like her. And as I asked her to further explain her feelings, it all faded to black as my heart sank. I stood there motionless with every racist encounter I've had flashing thru my mind and body, triggered, angry and speechless.

I focused on her words as she explained her discomfort and her new acknowledgement of the racial divide in authority figures at her school. I remembered mumbling something about our city's history and the need for more diversity and the pace of change.
But really, how do I explain to a small child that as different as she feels she will not only experience a multitude of racist encounters, racist people, racist systems of white idolatry but will also be treated differently because of her light skin privilege? A privilege that must always be checked.

 For now I stand here over her bed watching her sleep, praying to my ancestors, the universe and my black god(dess) that she (my peacefully sleeping daughter) will be as fierce, as brave, as strong, as wise and even more resilient than the five generations of women who have all survived and are all alive, loving her and teaching her the best way we can.

*Image - Family Tree (Limited Edition Lithograph) - Keith Mallett

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