As much as I’d like to forget the hurt, the memory is etched into my mind. It was one of those moments that seem to come out of nowhere but end up shaping life going forward.
I was standing in the checkout line, minding my own business. Nothing was new or different except that I usually have multiple children by my side. It was rare for me to just have one kid in tow. I waited to pay with a toddler (that I loved) on my hip. The line was long and eventually we caught the eye of the lady in front of us. When she saw us, she did a double take. She proceeded to stare us down with what appeared to be disgust. She didn’t know a single thing about us, but the fact that I stood there with a child on my hip that looked very different than me obviously repulsed her. The worst part was she didn’t stop. She continued to glare. It caught me so off guard that I didn’t know how to respond. I thought to myself, “Please just let me get to my car before I start crying, please!”
As soon as I latched Kaden* into his car seat, I dropped my head and covered my face. I had so many emotions flooding in and they proceeded to run down my face in streams. I was sad. I was hurt. I was confused. I was frustrated. After reflection, it hit me like a ton of bricks. That moment was the first time I had personally experienced racism.
The look in that lady’s eyes spoke clearly to me. I was being judged harshly and although it hurt at the time, I have since become appreciative of her glare. It altered my thoughts. It inspired me to grow. It stirred in me a deeper love for people who have skin that looks a little different than mine. It wasn’t until then that I realized that my family is making a difference in this world by showing others that every life matters. Every human deserves love… no matter how dark or light their skin is.
These days, when we are out and the looks come our way, I respond very differently. I have become grateful for the stares because they are allowing me the opportunity to be an example. I usually smile and purposefully give some extra love to the angel in my arms. Whether or not our skin matches doesn’t matter. Our hearts match. When our family catches the eye of others, I’m hopeful that it helps them see that while we celebrate uniqueness, culture, and differences, there is only one race that matters…
the human race.