I've been told I look young. This was highlighted when I was pregnant. I lived in southern New Mexico and women of all ages would glare at me. Old women would sometimes give me looks of encouragement. I wasn't quite sure what all this meant. I thought perhaps it was some look of,"wow she's going to be a mom, that sucks,hang in there." I didn't give it much thought. One day at the supermarket an older woman, a stranger mind you, approached me. "Oh mija," she said, "just promise me that you'll get your GED." At the time I was finishing my Masters degree. What gave her the impression that I was a teen-mom high school drop out? My young looking face? The color of my skin? The cutoff Jean shorts? Either case what if I was 16 and pregnant? Did that mean that my life wasn't going places?
Stereotypes are aggravating. They are our minds being lazy while we allow our perceptions to run rampant. They are often two fold because if they are incorrect we find ourselves defending ourselves which also puts down whoever the stereotype does apply to.
I have 2 boys. One of them has my complexion while the other has my husband's. When I am out with my sons. sans husband, people have asked me about their father's. They assume that they have two different dad's. When I correct their pediatrician, he was pleasantly surprised and offered a condescending, "good for you." That left me to consider, what are his perceptions of women that have children who come from different partners? Would my children's medical care have been different? When I take my children to the park moms give me apologetic looks while whispering to the other moms, "typical." What does typical mean? Are they assuming that because I am young and black that I am unlucky in love or that I am not expected to be in a committed relationship? I've given up on trying to understand the Bigot Mind.
I've even been labeled as the nanny whilst out without my husband. You see when the four of us are together it's easy to see where our kids get their looks and how they are the perfect blend of each parent. However when it's just me, well I am the help. Really? In 2016 diversity still sends your mind into a frenzy? And again what if that was all true? What if I do have two kids from two different men? What if I am a single mom? What if I am the hired caregiver of two beautiful children? Does that give you the right to assume that you are better than me?
Just stop it. No one wants to be put in box especially one that is so small it only contains your perceptions. For the record, when it comes to other people we are usually wrong.