I love my kids. That’s surely the understatement of my life, but if I spent words trying to describe, document and emote my love for my babies, we’d be here all day. If you have children, you probably know how much. If you don’t have kids, use your imagination.
Anyway, as most of you know, I just a had baby in January, a little girl whose smile makes me forget my problems and whose kisses are therapeutic. She’s beautiful, happy, smiley and chill as fuck. We already know she inherited her mama’s mouth because she’s been trying to talk since she was 6 weeks old and at just under nine months, she’s making intelligible sounds.
One day over the summer, I took both my babies with me to the mall. My son has stepped willingly and phenomenally into his role as big brother, so he likes when we bring her with us. He helps me carry her stuff and with anything else I need when it’s just us three, so I don’t mind bringing her out with us.
We get to the mall and I put her in the stroller while my son grabs her baby bag. We get on the elevator from the parking lot and it fills up. It stops on the next floor and a white woman gets on. She stands at the front, notices my baby and bends down. Do y’all know this woman says, “Hi, cutie, ” and reaches out to touch my daughter’s leg.
I grabbed her fucking wrist. As I tried to break her frail ass arm, squeezing her wrist like I was wringing out a wash cloth, I let her know, “We don’t touch random children.” She said, “Oh,” and looked away. My son’s eyes were big as fuck because he knows I’m the turn-up queen when it comes to my kids. I know I’m getting older because I actually thought about being arrested for beating that bitch’s ass in that elevator, and my kids being frightened and having to wait for my husband to pick them up. That kept me from making Barb and my fist fast friends.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago and a friend who has an infant texted and told me that two white women tried to touch her baby this week while they were out walking. One even reached to try to take the baby from my friend’s hands. “What the fuck is wrong with them?” she asked. “I’ve never thought to try to touch a stranger’s child.” I replied reminding her that our children were once considered property for white people.
Moral of the story: White people are taught that not only do our children not have agency over our own bodies, but that we as parents don’t even have agency over our own children. It never crosses their mind that their intrigue or adoration of our children does not entitle them to touch them because they still believe that Black bodies exist for their consumption, comfort, utilization and exploitation. Think Ms. Millie in The Color Purple.
And the moral of the moral of the story: That shit is assault. Don’t be polite when it comes to your kids. Think Ms. Sophia in The Color Purple.