03 March 2011

Where To Live


Months ago I came across an interesting thing. It crossed my mind again and I set out to find it today to share with it you. It's a "Hate Map". Now I don't want to go and make this blog all about racism, but it does play a part in my story of being a black mother so here we go.
Have a look at the hate map: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-map. I grew up in a state that ranks in the top five of states who have the most hate groups. I now live in a state that is ranked in the bottom five of states who have the most hate groups. This map shows hate groups, not groups specifically against blacks. However, tolerance of any racism is tolerance of them all. For instance, I cannot defend my black daughter against a racist comment someone in the grocery store may have made and then laugh at a racist joke an acquaintance made involving Mexicans. A joke like this may seem trivial. but children notice. If your black child sees you tolerate a racist joke or comment about another race that child will then wonder what her parent secretly thinks about her race, and learn to put too much emphasis on race. There are certain acts that speak much louder than words. I am guilty of this and continue to work on it. Thankfully I have time to practice while my children are so young. It is partially the result of being raised in the South, yes, but I am an adult and cannot hide behind that fact. ( Not that I mind having been raised in the South. I love that I was raised in the South. I love my home and would not have wanted it any other way. ) It is also partially, and more commonly, due to the fact that it is uncomfortable to confront a friend, colleague, or family member about an inappropriate joke or comment. It reminds me of what my Sunday school teachers tried to teach me when I was a teen. Just because everyone else it saying it / doing it that doesn't mean you have to too? "If your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?"
Well, that went way off course. I started this post for a reason. The reason was to share the desire I have had for the past few years to move back South. My husband and I have always struggled over this decision the entirety of our marriage, half of which we knew at least one of our children would be black. If I would have been honest with myself I would have known the answer to this question of us moving a long time ago. I will always choose my children over anyone and anything else. It goes without saying that my daughter would be much better off here than back home. So, there's my answer right there. Am I saying transracial families should not live in the South? No. I know transracial families who have done it and done it well. It is just fact that a child in a transracial family would have an easier time growing up where I live now than where I was born and raised.
We also want our kids to grow up around family, and Spud's family is here and my family is there. We are not choosing between families any more. We are choosing what is best for our new family that we have made together. Actually, we don't even have to make the choice. The choice is made for us. Our kids will face much less outside judgement and everything that goes with it if they are raised right where we are. When you become a parent you switch to putting your children first instead of yourself. I would love to be selfish and drag my family down to my beloved South to the trees and year-round warmth and people I know and love, but I will always put my children first. I'm not saying, "Look at me, I'm sacrificing for my children. I'm a great mom." I'm just a momma blogging about what being a black mother means to me, and this is part of it. Now where our retirement home will be is a different story.

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