Regarding my previous post, I got a number of comments from friends, family, and friends of family about what my daughter meant when she asked, "Mama,do you feel weird?" while sitting in the Black hair care shop.
Some people remarked how sensitive and empathetic my daughter was by being concerned about her mom. Indeed she was then and is now a very empathetic person. Others wondered if she herself had felt "weird" in past experiences as a minority child and was applying that emotion to her mother's possible feelings being the only white person in a shop full of Black people.
I guess there are a few things to keep in mind. There are slightly more "Anglo" (White) people in Albuquerque than Hispanics (the label of choice by Hispanic people in New Mexico vs "Latino"). Albuquerque is surrounded by Pueblo Indian reservations as well as the Navajo Nation being not far away. Many Mexican people live here. The African-American population is relatively small compared to other cultural groups. My point is, there are a lot of brown faces in New Mexico. The neighborhood we live in is very mixed. And, my husband and I often remark at the number of mixed-race couples you see in Albuquerque, specifically a combination of African-American and White. I would imagine compared to other communities around the country, in Albuquerque, racial interactions are not as antagonistic or edgy. That's not to say that racism does not exist here. But we as a family do not get stared at or have hurtful comments made toward us. There is less racial tension in general, at least in our experience, which is why we choose to live here. My daughter was about 4 years old at the time of that story. She thought with the mind of a child. By that young age, she'd not been exposed to a lot of racial tension.
My daughter is now 16 years old. She saw me writing the blog post and knew the content of it. After the comments of some readers, I asked her if she remembered how she felt at the time, and why she asked me that question. Her response:
"Oh, I don't know Mama. You know how I've always liked being around Black people. I think I was just wondering if you were enjoying it as much as I was."
And that would be YES!
Ahhhhh. Well said, baby girl. Well said.
Susan Parlato Revels
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