When our son was born, I proudly adopted the hashtag #blindian (Black +Indian) on my social media profiles to denote the mixed-race identity of our family and child. But when recent videos of George Floyd surfaced and the Black Lives Matter movement gained steam, this time to proportions unparalleled to any other, it finally hit me. I have been so naïve.
What’s at stake
While I have been subjected to colorism (a close relative of racism) in India, I would never have predicted that I would have personal stake in making sure that the two people I love most in the world, (my husband and what the world will only see as a black boy), would be given a chance to live, before their lives can at any given moment be cut-short just because they are black.
If you knew how much I loved them, you would know that I will keep on trying.
And yet, how do I ensure their safety? How do I get past the paralyzing fear of losing either of them? More importantly, how do I put in the work necessary to educate myself and members of my own community to go beyond solidarity statements?
Using our voices
Being a person of color is not enough. Not being racist has never been enough. For my family, I need to squash the anti-blackness attitudes that run rampant within our extended networks. For my son, I need to use my voice and privilege to fight to dismantle a system that is pre-designed to impede him as he grows into a young man.
If you knew how much I loved them, you would know that I will keep on trying. Even after it feels like the urgency of this moment has passed to the rest of the world.
In the midst of everything, I asked my son the other day what his favorite color was. Without hesitation he said “Brown, because it’s me!” He hasn’t learned to be wary of the color of his skin yet and I hope he never has to.