It always surprises me how free people are to comment in others, especially strangers. We are a mixed race family – not strange for us, but so we were reminded this past weekend, still strange for South Africa. Over the years we have kind of gotten used to the odd looks, honestly hubby notices them more than I do. But now that we have kids I notice it more. I suppose in the past people may not have know for sure that we were married – maybe they thought we were dating or just colleagues or something. By now with two cute kids in the mix the amount of double takes has dramatically increased. (By the way we haven’t settled on the term mixed race yet – I like dual heritage – it sounds posher!)
When Jenny was born I had the odd person, usually a stranger (and usually a Pick N Pay staff member!) ask if she was adopted. My standard answers is ‘No, She is homemade!’ – that is usually good for a few blushes! I haven’t been asked in a long time about Jenny and so far no one has asked me about Liam (at least not directly). But this weekend for the first time it was hubby that was quizzed. He was stopped by two ladies who asked did he steal the baby! In some ways it is funny, but is also really sad that we are such a curiosity.
I understand why race is an issue – for too long people have been treated so badly and unfairly just for the colour of their skin, for their culture and heritage. It is hard to get over it and let it go, especially when it still happens, whether consciously or unconsciously. I hope for my kids that they will embrace the fact that they are a mixture of Ireland and Malawi, but that people would be curious to know them as people, not just by how they look. I’m praying that our kids will not be defined and limited by their colour or their parents’ – instead their talents, skills, humanity, humour, kindness and position in Christ will define them, not other people’s perceptions and biases.
Galatians 3.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
There is neither Malawian nor Irish, neither black nor white, nor is their male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus …