To black girls with white mothers: You are in fact still black. That is to say that your blackness is valid and you are not somehow “less black” solely because your mother is non-black. To black girls with white mothers: You are not a bad daughter for coming to the realization that you and your mother are not the same. It’s okay to not be the same.
When yet another stranger assumes that you are adopted or when someone who doesn’t even know you questions whether or not you’re “actually” your mother’s daughter, it will sting. You’ll have to force a smile when you explain how you ended up with all of that melanin and explaining your entire ethnic make-up to all of the random people you meet can result in constantly feeling extremely f*cking exhausted.
The weird backhanded compliments, in addition to the everyday microaggressions, invasive prying and sense of entitlement from outsiders will force you to become acutely aware of the fact that you probably don’t look like your mother’s daughter. Every once in a while, this feeling might make you start to resent the woman you came from. On occasion, this feeling might make you even start to resent your own body and your own skin. When this happens, it is vital that you realize that your blackness is not a curse.
“It is vital that you realize that your blackness is not a curse”
Sometimes, white mothers can become complicit in the “othering” of their black daughters. Young girls often look to their mothers for guidance and pick up on subtle cues from them. When white mothers make black culture seem strange, deviant or otherwise different from the norm, they’re communicating certain cues about their views of blackness to their black daughters. Studies show that racial microaggressions negatively affect the mental health of recipients of it, and microaggressions are made all the more powerful when they’re thrown at you by someone you love and respect, particularly someone like your own mother.
Studies have also shown that racism and discrimination can increase a person’s risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, and mortality, among other things. Dealing with racist sh*t regularly can literally kill you. You do not have to quietly accept the fact that your mom clutches her purse closer every time you pass someone who looks like you on the street. You do not have to internalize these acts and allow them to shape your ideas of blackness. You do not have to be silent. It can be hard to speak up, but sometimes it’s necessary and it could be vital to your survival.
To black girls with white mothers: Because so many things are not, this one is for you.