Flashback Friday: “Not the Nanny Syndrome Doesn’t Discriminate”

Is that your child? You wouldn't think so, but it is.
Is that your child? You wouldn’t think so, but it is.
Hi Meltingpot Readers,

In a few weeks I am going to have a big, exciting announcement to make. It’s about my writing life, so don’t think I’m going to tell you all the sex of my unborn child. That train has long left the station. In the meantime, I’ll give you a clue by linking back to this post I wrote in 2012 about that pesky situation of being mistaken for your child’s caregiver when you don’t look like your offspring, biological or adopted. It’s maddening. And it doesn’t only affect women of color. Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:

Get a group of women together who have children that don’t look like them and we can tell all kinds of hilarious stories, besting one another with the more outrageous comments people have thrown our way. And truth be told, sometimes they are funny. But a lot of times, those comments hurt. They hurt in a way I never expected. It’s not because I feel so insulted to be mistaken for a nanny. And it’s not even because I think people are being small-minded or insensitive by questioning my child’s parentage. At the end of the day, it hurts because there’s something visceral, I think, about wanting to see something of yourself in your offspring. It’s that simple and that complicated.

I have never been told, ‘gee your kids look just like you.’ And it’s not something I ever dreamed about hearing either. I’d rather hear, ‘gee your kids sure are smart/talented/healthy.’ But to be told over and over, your kids look nothing like you? Aye, there’s the rub. What’s more, I think that for women of color to be mistaken for the nanny, the underlying insult comes not from being mistaken for a domestic worker, but for not be respected enough to be mistaken for the mother. Ya dig?

To read the whole post, you can click here. And stay tuned to The Meltingpot for my big announcement in the coming days.


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4 Thoughts to “Flashback Friday: “Not the Nanny Syndrome Doesn’t Discriminate””

  1. a

    Well first off the off putting remark to me is more about the ‘help’ why is it assumed that a black women is the ‘help’ i could care less about the appearance i supposes bc in my family we have two + races or heritages so if my kids come out looking white they will look like me if they come out looking black they will look like me. I suppose its a challenge if you are a completely different race from your husband, however if you dig far enough in your family tree lol somebody prolly fall out. And then yes your child looks like you. But its really nobodies business

  2. Wendy

    Oh I love this!
    This past fall I was at a teacher workshop. At my table there were four women. Three of us had kids. When we all pulled out pictures of our children, they didn’t look much like us! I’m White with a very Brown kid (adopted)! My coworker is White with a Brown kid (biological)! And the 3rd woman, a person we just met, a Black woman with a White kid (biological)! It was an such a funny/bonding moment! It was nice to be with people you didn’t have to do much explaining to!!

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Wendy, I love these stories and they’re what keep me (and I’m sure you) laughing through this colorful life.

      1. claudia

        I totally know what you mean. For those of us who have biological children who are a different hue I just wonder why people can’t see beyond color. When I look at my darker daughter it is startling to me how much she resembles my sisters (and I guess me too) even though they are fair haired and blue eyed. But no one tells me she looks just like me.
        A couple of months ago I was sitting in a restaurant with my granddaughter and a white gentleman dining alone next to me commented that she looked like me. I was a bit surprised and taken aback. He then pulled out his wallet to show me pictures of his two biracial granddaughters. I know that he had just given me what he wished someone would give him some acknowledgement of the continuation of his DNA.

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