The sun was splitting the trees, as my Scottish mother would say. It was a rare beautiful day in the small Scottish town. Warm and bright with a cloudless stretch of blue skies reaching farther than the eye could see. All the kids were out playing in the street
The recent summer days had transformed me into a darker shade of brown. The shimmering sun placed a dark glow upon my skin. Radiant and exotic. Dark and foreign. My long dark curls were accentuated by my new summer glow and my large dark almond shaped eyes sparkled against this new backdrop of golden brown skin. Skin the colour of faeces they called it. Jobbies was the word they used. Some of the less innocent children preferred the word shite. I remember my younger half brother’s sing song voice in the school playground, taunting and mocking me. “You’re a brownie” he squealed innocently, laughed. And ran away with his friends.
I knew what I was. I was that dirty word they talked about. An Arab. Mother told me to lie. “Tell everyone your father has some Italian in him and you just take a right good tan”. God forbid I admit to anyone my true self. Half Scottish and half Arab. One of them!
I understand that it’s a mother’s responsibility, if not innate need, to protect her child. Which is exactly what my mother thought she was doing. She loved me. More than anything else in the world. I was her daughter. Her ‘wee burnt scone’, she called me, her ‘Gollywog’. Terms of endearment to a child ears. Confirmation that my mother loved me…
My son is 13 months old. He has afro hair and brown skin. He is the most amazing person I have ever known! The most beautiful too. His father is from Angola. A hard pill for my mother to swallow. My step father and brothers too. Although they insist otherwise. I see it in their mannerisms and apprehensions. Hear it in their tone. It’s evident in their every day micro aggressions. “cut the child’s hair, it’s horrible”. “I hope he doesn’t get his dad’s hair, it’s like wool”. “You can’t call the poor child Malachai, it’s not normal!”.
My tolerance has disintegrated. ‘Not knowing any better’, is no longer an excuse in this hyper techno-globalised world. Not for the privileged. I hear the words “burnt scone” and “gollywog” in my mind and my stomach turns. Clarity crashed down on me in the form of motherhood. I understand that it’s a mother’s responsibility, if not innate need, to protect her child. I love my son. He is one of us and one of them. He is a child of the world in his own right!
#mother #motherslove #mummy #race #racism #mixed #family #son #love #angola #scotland #arab