Mommys are white and Daddys are black. This is how Jocelyn views the world. She has expressed this in various ways in her short two plus years—first by mistaking every black man for her Daddy when she was eight months old, and just recently she pointed to the father in a story that we were reading—a white man—and said, “Mommy?” I explained to her that he was the Daddy. She pointed to the baby boy, who was getting his belly kissed, and she said, “baby and the belly?” I said yes, and then she again pointed to the father. “Mommy kiss belly?”
There will be many conversations like this as she and her sister grow older, each one more in depth than the other. I assume there will be questions that I can’t answer, and I won’t be able to simply correct her. I know that she knows not ALL Daddys are black. She understands that her friends have fathers with different color skin. But I think that she relates on a more personal level to the stories in books. Which I think is what I’m going to take away from this. I can’t explain race or identity to her in a way that she’ll understand right now. But she understands love and family and books. She’s creating her own story, and I’m just the crazy character she calls Mommy. Or Bechelle (her pronunciation of my name). But I prefer Mommy.