The problem people have with bi-racial kids, still.

Imagine walking through the airport with your child and having a report filed against you because a stranger has reported you to the police for human trafficking.

That was the reality for Cydnee Rafferty, New York mum of two when she was passing through an airport with her child earlier this year.

Cydnee is an African American woman and has bi-racial children with her white husband. A woman passing Cydnee and her child at the airport thought the child looked a different ethnicity and it looked “odd” so wanted to go “with her gut” and reported them to the police for possible human trafficking.

I can’t even begin to imagine the feeling of having a report filled against me for human trafficking after doing something as ordinarily as passing through an airport with my son.

The woman who reported Cydnee, Cindy McCain (the widow of former US Senator John McCain), who actually has an adopted daughter of a different race (which makes it all the more puzzling) said something “didn’t sit right” with her. This is the problem isn’t it? Mixed families still don’t sit right with society.

Why? Because “different” is clearly “bad” in a lot of people’s minds still which means mixed families run the risk, every day, of being scrutinised. Scrutinised for being different tones of black, brown and white. And how stupid does that sound? We’re talking shades here.

But it’s much deeper than that of course. People have their expectations and their narrow minds will only go as far as their expectations let it and in this case, what they think a bi-racial child should look like. That’s if they even have any expectations in the first place. The problem for some could even go as far to say that they don’t have an expectation because they’re not used to seeing it. They just see a woman of colour and a child noticebly fairer and they just can’t comprehend it. They assume the worst.

But if there are of course expectations to live up to in these people’s minds and mixed families don’t meet those expectations, that’s it, we are “different” therefore “bad” and hostility and ignorance is our fate.

Photo credit: LA Times

There are many shocking experiences I have read since I began sharing these types of issues on my blog and my Instagram. But for as many messages I got from mixed families and their experiences, I got just as many from lots of people not even realising it was a problem still today. Why don’t they realise it?

Other than lots of people wanting to bury their heads when it comes to something as a real as this (ignorance is bliss for many) it’s because of the internet I guess. We see mixed couples on our social media – you only have to think of the Kardashians. But that does not mean the problem doesn’t exist and that it’s not the harsh reality for many families across the world. You only have to take the stat of 7% of interracial couples in the U.K. which I spoke about before to get the idea. If a mother can’t even go to an airport without being accused of human trafficking for simply having a child of a lighter skin complexion to herself, what hope is there for any of us?

The anxiety builds in the minds of many parents of bi-racial kids when we read stuff like this, including my own.

What kind of world is my son growing up in? Will he face hostility and hate because he is a different colour to me?

I am worried. That’s the truth.

Was McCain right for going with her gut? Absolutely not. And not just because she made the wrong call in the end. The problem is deeper than that. We need to ask ourselves why she made the wrong call? What encouraged her to jump to this sort of conclusion of a stranger passing by? The issue here lies with the damn right ignorance installed in her. I’ll repeat. “Different” is bad for a lot of people. And that’s why raising awareness, speaking about this openly may just have the power to shed some light on bi-racial kids and mixed families. To give people the knowledge that yes, two people from two ethnic backgrounds do get together, they do have kids, and their kids do not need to visually look like an even split of both parents just to please the pre-constructed image you have in your head.

Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or share your experience on the comments below!

Read the full article on Cydnee Rafferty here.

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3 Comments

  1. Aieshea
    March 6, 2019 / 3:53 pm

    Something similar happened to my sister when returning home from a holiday with her baby daughter. My sister is mixed race and as you can imaginr after spending a month in St Kitts had a good tan, her daughter on the other hand is very fair skinned with blondish hair and bright blue eyes which she inherits from my mom. My sister and her partner are both mixed race and both of their children look white. And she got questioned at the airport as to who she was to the child. Like it couldnt possibly be her daughter. Im due to travel for the first time with my son but without my fiance and so im taking my sons birth certificate with me.

  2. Leydi
    March 26, 2019 / 8:41 am

    This read was so interesting.. I’m Latin American but my skin tone is fairer than my daughters and everyone always telling me your daughter looks nothing like you blablabla.. just because her skin tone is bit darker than mine as she gets from her dad side but it bothers me a lot because not all children will exactly look like both parents it just varies.. I can only imagine when we go on holiday and she gets darker .. the world we live in I dont understand what they expect

  3. littlewelshveggie
    May 24, 2019 / 9:19 am

    This post really resonated with me. As a mixed race child, I looked fairer than both my siblings and remember comments and surprises that I belonged in the family and that my mum and siblings were full blood relations. I’m in my mid-30s now and still deal with issues to do with identity and belonging. I’m in a mixed race couple myself now and worry what our future kids may deal with because of the ignorance of others.

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