My birth certificate says I am “Negro,” and Ken’s says he is “Caucasian.” Simone and Nadia’s birth certificates say they are “black.”
I had not given much thought to which box I would check. I was more focused on their health than I was on forms and documents. Faced with the options and instructed only to check one box, I figured I had three possible choices: “white,” “black” or “other.” None of them worked. If I checked “white,” I would cast aside my heritage. If I checked “black,” I would cast aside Ken’s history. If I checked “other,” there would be no culture at all.
I considered checking two boxes, but I didn’t want to mishandle such an important document, especially without knowing the consequences of such a decision. Ken and I figured the girls would look more like me than him. So, we agreed I would check the “black” box.
So much has changed since then. I now reject the one-drop rule, the rule that says that anyone who has one drop of black blood is black. Simone and Nadia are biracial. They are neither black nor white.
After I realized what we had done, I thought about all of the other parents who had visited that crossroads. How had they come to their decision? Do they believe they made the right choice?
There are so many more boxes to check. Soon I will register Simone for kindergarten, and I will check all the boxes that apply.
So, which box did you check? Why?