Thursday, May 23, 2013

White Father Accused by Walmart of Kidnapping His Bi-Racial Kids

When I came across the following story about a bi-racial family accused of kidnapping their own kids, it really struck home with me. 

DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG

Apparently, Joseph went to Walmart to cash a check and when he arrived home with his three daughters, he found the cops waiting for him.  It seems that the police had been alerted by Walmart because Joseph and his daughters, "just didn't fit."
"He asks us very sincerely, ‘Hey, I was sent here by Walmart security. I just need to make sure that the children that you have are your own,’” Joseph says.

"I was dumbfounded," says Keana. "I sat there for a minute and I thought, ‘Did he just ask us if these were our kids knowing what we went through to have our children?’

"He took my ID and asked my 4-year-old to point out who her mother and father were."

Joseph says the officer told them a Walmart security guard reported seeing him in the parking lot with the girls and thought it was strange.

Soon after the officer left, Keana called Walmart demanding an explanation. She says after asking to speak with a manager, she was transferred to a Walmart security officer who denied raising the alarm. The officer said it was a customer that came forward.

Keana says she was told, "Well, the customer was concerned because they saw the children with your husband and he didn't think that they fit. And I said, ‘What do you mean by they don't fit?’ And I was trying to get her to say it. And she says, ‘Well, they just don't match up.’” (source)
I know that some will see the feel-good angle of a concerned citizen acting to protect children of colour and not recognize the racism in this case.  As disturbing as this incident is, I can tell you as a member of a bi-racial family it's not unique or isolated to Walmart.  While we have never been approached by police to prove that we have not kidnapped our own children, we certainly have seen the stares and looks of confusion when we are out as a family.

When my children were born, they were both a lot lighter skinned than they are today and I was asked if I was their nanny.  Though they both look a lot like me, family resemblance was thrown out the window because they were supposedly to light to be mine.  Now that they are older and have developed a darker skin tone, it's the unhusband who gets the looks and questions when he is out with our sons.

Socially it is understood that White men don't belong with women of colour and therefore offspring from a union with a woman of colour is inconceivable.  I would be ready to bet quite a bit of money that had Joseph been a Black man and his wife White, he would not have faced such an issue simply because it makes sense to people that Black men would want a White woman.  Women of colour are the last resort, we are the women set aside for the one night stand - for sexual exploration and most certainly not the ones you marry let alone reproduce with.  A White man is not supposed to settle for a woman of colour when he could have a White woman.  Bi-racial kids are the children that their White fathers are supposed disavow as a mistake of youth, certainly not love and raise.

In this case, the children clearly looked like their father with darker skin.  Had the complainant bothered to look beyond skin colour, this would have been evident from the get go.  Also, families interact in a specific way and when out with their father, children don't tend to be afraid, or act strange unless their father is abusive.  Joseph probably looked like any other father out with his daughters with the only difference being that they are bi-racial and he is White.

The irony of this entire situation is that we live in a world that is supposedly post racial, with White people claiming on a daily basis that they don't see race.  Well, someone clearly saw it in this case. Joseph didn't fit with his daughters because of their race.  The only good that came out of this situation is that their daughters are too young to understand what clearly happened but this will not be the last time that they will be subjected to similar treatment when they are out with their father.  I am glad that this family is being proactive but the truth of that matter is that until White supremacy ends and women of colour are valued, such situations are going to continue to occur.