With the Birth of My Son, I Stopped Hiding

With the Birth of My Son, I Stopped Hiding

Modern Love
The New York Times

Tina Chang, Poet Laureate of Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn, New York

Brian Rea

Fearing judgment of her interracial relationship and mixed-race child, a woman keeps both from her family. Until she doesn’t.

My son, Roman, turned to me from his book and said, “Mom, can you throw me a blanket? This is my favorite part in the book and I don’t want to stop.”

When I look at my son, I see myself: the inability to tolerate pain, even from the smallest of physical hurts; the deep fear of the dark, of the deserted street, of that strange insect on the ceiling; and the intense, abiding love of reading.

Most of all, I see myself in his face, the eyes like mine, left slightly larger than right, especially when he’s tired, and the toothy smile that breaks through the most serious situations. All of it: me.

Yet when he and I walk along the street, so many people feel the need to tell me how much he isn’t like me, how incredibly unalike we appear, how he looks just like his father. They say it with such authority.

My son is biracial. His father is Haitian-American and I’m of Chinese descent; Often, I have to work to prove that my son is mine. On our daily subway commute to school, at least one person will look at me, then at him, and then back again. I am forced to see what they see: His skin is darker and his hair wavy, while I’m fair, prone to freckling, with hair that won’t hold a curl. If their eyes happen to meet mine, they’ll catch me glaring, holding them accountable for what I deem to be their silent judgment…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,