When grandma insists she isn’t racist

My mom wasn’t happy about the fact we were planning to hire a nanny. She kept saying over and over that “your own blood” takes care of your baby the best. When I asked if she was suggesting that I quit my job, she told me she didn’t want that, but what other option would there have been…? When she found out we finally hired one, she immediately asked me what the nanny’s race was. When I told my mom she was Jamaican, my mom responded, “Does that mean she’s Black?” She said the world “Black” in a near whisper. Why do Asian people of her generation always do that?

I told her to stop being so racist and that there was nothing wrong with Black people, or specifically, having a Black nanny. I told her we obviously vetted this person through not only references but also a trial, so we knew she’d be a good fit for us. My mom was nervous and completely unconvinced. It wasn’t until two weeks passed when she felt more at ease… after I let her know that Kaia greets our nanny with a smile each morning when she walks in.

“Can you send me a picture of what the nanny looks like?” my mom asked. “I want to see how dark she is…. I mean, what she looks like.”

“WHAT?” I responded, incredulously. “What is wrong with you? It doesn’t matter how light or dark skinned someone is, and who cares what she looks like if she’s getting the job done?!!!”

“It’s a reasonable request,” my mom insisted. “I just want to see what the nanny looks like. She takes care of my granddaughter all day, so I have a right to know what she looks like. I’m not prejudiced. I’m a Jehovah’s Witness. Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be prejudiced.”

Uh-huh. Sure, they can’t.

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