I grew up with a loving grandmother from the deep south. She used the N word. She didn’t allow us to watch any tv “programs” with dark skinned people in them. I remember very clearly when I was in second grade she was driving me home from school and on the sidewalk there was a black boy with a white girl holding hands. She slowed down the car, pulled over to the curb, and screamed to the white girl, “You are too good for him. Get away from him. He’s nothing but a …” You get the idea. She kept going with her rant. You see, I was also blessed to grow up in a home where my parents didn’t teach me about race. Instead they taught me about love. I remember being horribly embarrassed about my grandmother’s behavior and told her to stop what she was doing and to take me home. I eventually got her to pull away from the couple, but I never forgot that day. I couldn’t believe what my grandmother did, and still can’t. I mean, I’m part of a biracial couple. I married a man with brown skin. What would Grandma say to me fifteen years ago if she saw me with my husband? I don’t want to know. But what I do know, is that my grandma has changed. She phased out the N word. She watches programs and sports with black men and women in them. She was really put to the test when I brought home my husband from Nicaragua. She told us later that she was sure she was going to hate him, but thankfully she didn’t. She saw past his skin to the man he is inside. She learned tolerance, acceptance, dare I say… LOVE. She adores him, and I’m not just saying that. It has made me so happy to see my grandmother change. My daughter was born two years ago, and let me tell you, she came out brown. Her color has faded a bit, but my was she brown when she was born. Absolutely perfectly brown. Beautiful. I was a little worried about my grandmother’s reaction to her.. but again my grandma showed me that she loved us unconditionally and color just didn’t matter.
The biggest surprise came this past Sunday when we were at her house. I always take a bag of toys for my two year old to play with while we are there. I stuck her brown baby doll in there. Yes, my child also has a white baby doll, but since she came out brown, she also has a brown one. I hesitated before I put it in the sack, knowing about my grandmother’s past, but decided to put it in anyway. I was surprised to see that my grandma got the baby doll out and rocked it and told Ali, “You have such a beautiful baby.” It gives me hope to think that people are always growing and changing, even my eighty-something year old grandma.