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?

6 thoughts to “Crossroads

  • Rania

    I was lucky that on my youngest children’s bc I was able to choose both races. I think it’s nice regardless though that the races of the parents are included which helps explain the baby’s race, however now I think u could only choose one race for us… hmmm…

    Either way, I think that one drop rule is slowly fading because no one wants to deny a part of themselves and I think it’s more acceptable nowadays not to have to make people choose one or the other (or the other in many cases). Thank goodness for that. 🙂
    And like you, I am checking all and every box that applies for my kiddos.

  • dylan

    Our adopted son is biracial, and we put that down on his registration form for kindergarten. The school asked us to clarify which races.

    Our friends are an interracial couple, and their kindergarten registration form didn’t have biracial as an option, so they checked african-american and caucasian. Their school called them to ask them which one they meant to check.

    Go figure.

    • Percola

      sounds like i’m in for an education. if i get that question, i am going to say i meant both.

  • Blanc2

    I don’t remember what we put on the birth certificates. I seem to recall checking both, but I can’t be certain.

    Nowadays, we let the children choose. Our daughter more often than not chooses “black” or “african american.” Our son, who lives his life in a foggy dream-like state (probably with a video game permanently running in his imagination), is unlikely to check anything at all, or if he does, it’s probably random.

    We do reject the “one drop” rule and also have warned the children about not letting people force them to “choose.”

    • Percola

      I will keep that in mind as Simone and Nadia get older.

  • Nikki

    Growing up, I wasn’t sure what to check for myself, but I check all boxes for myself and my children now.

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