Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm terrified of having kids.

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[TW - Discussion of internalized racism]
Cross-posted from Tumblr.

:-\ I really hate people. This has not been a good week.

Something that's been on my mind for a while now, and while I'm sure I've tried to vocalize it many times, I just need to get it out:

I'm terrified of having kids. 

It's not even so much anymore that I'm afraid of fucking them up. Depressed, anxious, suicidal parents probably aren't... well, we'll get to that when we do.

It's everything else in the world and the fact that I won't be able to protect them from it. The fact that any POC children I may have, whether biological or adopted, will grow up facing the same prejudices and bullshit that we do now. (Because we all know that nothing will change by then. Nothing ever changes. I'm allowed to vote and a black man is the official leader of the country, but look how many hundreds of years that took.) And I see how much it fucked me up, and I fear that for my kids. I'm learning now that there are ways of circumventing that, and ways of undoing the damage, but to be perfectly honest, it can hurt just as much. Maybe more, since the first time sometimes you tend to become numb to it all. You have to, to keep it up. You try so hard to pretend it's not real, that you can be immune to it if you just try hard enough. In koolaid terms - you pretend it's like a magical potion that will make you white in their eyes, if you can drink enough. It's poisoning you, literally tearing at the very heart of you, but the more you drink it, the more they seem to like you. And the more you have to pretend it's all alright.

I don't want them to grow up being told that their natural hair is disgusting and unprofessional, that they're dirty and low class and not worth as much as a white child. I don't want my 5 year old asking me why they can't be pretty with blonde hair and blue eyes like the other kids, because all of their classmates treat them different. 5 year olds tellin kids they can't be a Disney princess because their skin's too dark and their hair's too short and it isn't straight. They learn this shit from birth. I don't want them growing up believing in whitewashed history and dead white men. My mother taught me about great black women, and other POCs, but it wasn't enough to counteract what turned out to be conservative brainwashing. (13 years of conservative Catholic schooling...) I don't want my children growing up with a massive inferiority complex. You can't even begin to comprehend this kind of self-loathing and denial.

And that's not to say that every POC will grow up to feel that way. Most probably don't. It has a lot to do with circumstance maybe, and whether they have a strong support system to keep the poison at bay. But that doesn't change the facts of the school to prison pipeline, or institutionalized racism, or whitewashing, or what white privilege feels like to someone who doesn't have it. It doesn't change the fact that all of these things mean dehumanization. It literally means that I am constantly told that my existence and the existence of people like me is not only worthless but toxic. It's my little sister telling me that she's better than me because she has lighter skin (and is therefore seen as more desirable, because she is closer to "white.") -- and then the poison is controlling you once again. Like a hallucinogen, and completely internalized. Insidious, seeping into every single inch of you, every thought, every action, until you're nothing but a token -- a prize for your oppressors. Another one claimed. Isn't that ironic...

Unlearning and detoxing is pain, but it is worth it. Everything you tried to suppress and ignore will come rushing back at you, and every careless comment made by a friend will feel like a slap in the face. (And the fact that they CAN be so careless will make it so much worse.) And it will make you angrier than you've ever been, because you are so deeply hurt and here they are acting like there was never anything wrong in the first place. That they're not still actively working to be oppressive towards you and people like you. And you start to deconstruct everything you thought you knew -- about yourself and about the world-- and you realize just how deep pain runs and just how much everyone else around you sucks. Even your friends. Especially your friends. And they mock you for knowing. They don't have to care, so why should anyone else. "You're too sensitive. Relax. You're making a big deal out of nothing." They think their opinions on your experiences mean more than your experiences ever could. And they don't see why it's wrong or hurtful. And they don't care when you try to talk about it. And they will try to tear you back down all over again -- and never think for a second that it's a part of the system. They don't understand that your need to fight back is self-preservation, your refusal to be made inferior and inhuman. It's "you have stolen everything from me and I am taking it back." It's your assertion that you are human too and they will fucking respect that.

And you will be angrier than you've ever been.
So I said I was considering doing NaNo again. This is what I wanted to write about. Starting back then, what it was like. Semi-autobiographical fiction. I have a more specific plot in mind, but this is basically what it would be about.

1 comment:

N3R0S1S said...

Hey just wanted to say I like your posts and yeah. What you say is really real and I appreciate that.