“Are you the nanny?”: The awkward encounters of a mixed-race family in the suburbs

Krystal A. Sital, writing for Salon:

“But you’re brown and they’re so white,” my neighbor said to me, stressing words that didn’t need emphasis. This conversation had already gone on too long. First she thought I was the dog sitter, then she thought I was the baby sitter, now she wouldn’t believe I was their mother.

 We’ve shared backyards for over a year now, I wanted to scream. But my kids and I had been having a good day, one of our most successful since my husband went back to work. Rearing two under 2 had proven brutal, and I was determined not to let this woman ruin my magnanimous mood.

“Their father is white,” I explained.

“Oh. They have nice skin and nice hair,” she said, stroking both my daughters, one of whom was wrapped around my torso and fast asleep. My older daughter pulled away from her touch, and I was happy one of us showed displeasure at this exchange. I pushed the stroller in the direction of our home.


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