Friday, July 25, 2008

No Telling has an online story about twins - one white and one black - born to the same parents July 11. That's right. One black kid and one white one. Add a pink one and you've got neopolitan.

I note the story because of something strange that happened to my family as we were out for a walk yesterday. Seeing me on one side and Irie on the other with Gabby in between us, a woman walked over and the first words out of her mouth were - I kid you not - "You can't even tell."

Now, it turns out that this woman has biracial children of her own, so I didn't take her words to be hostile. In fact, even if she didn't have biracial children, Irie and I want to encourage more discussion about race and so we encourage people to struggle with words. That's how we learn language. By trying and failing and trying again. This is one thing that people of color have over white people when it comes to dialogue about race. They've been talking race all their lives; they are fluent. They know how to negotiate the rough places.

But nevertheless, "You can't even tell," does seem a bit outrageous. That's what we say about mustard stains, not children.