One of the upsides of pregnancy is really detailed and very odd dreams. I’ve been insulting people in very poor French, working as a secret agent, a vampire, and last night consumed a massive buffet of sweets, all from the comfort of my own bed.
One of the most vivid dreams I had involved the baby being born, which was great and then we took the baby to meet Mr Outlines’ relatives. So far, so good, I’m there on my very best behaviour pulling my most convincing demure-good-girl-not-like-those-bad-western-girls-you-hear-about-honest face when someone turns to me and says “I hear you’ve decided to call the baby Oreo, after the biscuits”.
“What?! NOOO!” I scream and to the horror of the assembled relatives, I have a massive temper tantrum, the kind where you bring your fists up and kneel on the floor with rage.
I woke up and my first words to my husband were, “Don’t call the baby Oreo”. Since then, that’s been the baby’s nickname.
I am aware that Oreo has another meaning see here (warning: links to Urban Dictionary, so some of the definitions may be highly offensive.), related to racial perceptions, which brings me to the fact that baby Oreo will be mixed race, insha Allah. Racialicious is one of my favourite blogs and lately, they’ve been doing a lot of features on mixed race identity, which has really got me pondering.
Genetics are highly unpredictable. I am super-duper only slightly darker than an albino pale with blue eyes, my family are all pretty similar. Mr Outlines is olive skinned. He looks Arab, but for many western people, looking Arab means dressing like a Saudi and being in the vincity of a camel, so they often think he’s Spanish or Greek. He’s in the midpoint as far as skin colour goes in his family. It makes me sad that what colour Oreo comes out as, will affect his/her life.
I don’t write this to sound colour struck, I honestly don’t care, I just want a healthy baby, insha Allah. I’m the sort who’s into forward planning and I want to be ready, insha Allah. I grew up white, in a majority white country, likewise Mr Outlines grew up within the racial (and religious) majority in his country. For us, childhood racism happened to other people, we don’t have those experiences. Oreo may have very different experiences and I don’t want to be one of those white parents who go “Oh don’t be silly, people aren’t racist, you’re just being too sensitive”. I guess a key staring point is to ensure that Oreo feels comfortable with both sides of their heritage and sees how Islam is a unifying factor and how it relates to the other areas of your life.
I know several people reading this are in interracial marriages and have mixed race children, so I’d love to hear your opinions on this.