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.
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.