Equal means the same. However when it comes to humanity equality is different. It is not the same as cutting and sharing pie equally.
For humanity to be truly equal one must consider the fact that people are not treated equally and some people may require more than others to get to the same point. Acknowledging this fact creates a starting point where we are able to effect real change. If we approach the equality of humans in the same way we approach equal slices of pie some of us will always be left behind.
My motherhood journey as a black mother of a mixed heritage child means I have had to teach my child that equality isn’t given freely, it is not something we all have the privilege to access. Some of us have to demand it, march for, protest for it, resist for it, die for it, create hashtags for it.
As a mother I have to grapple with things that are unfamiliar due to our ethnicities being similar but not the same. As a child of mixed heritage the world sees my daughter a little differently, slightly more equal, and at the age of 10 she is acutely aware of it. “Mummy why do magazines talk about black girl magic but the picture is of a mixed race girl? Mixed race girls can be black too, but most black girls don’t look mixed so that’s not fair”. I have to explain the dynamics of colourism and how black is valued by its proximity to white and that her black is preferred because of this. I have to do this without burdening her, without her feeling responsible whilst also ensuring that she understands her privilege as the preferred face of blackness.
Thankfully she gets it because in our house conversations about equality aren’t optional they are part of our survival and lead us to create space where we can thrive. I have to prepare my child for the world she lives in, a world where as cute as it is Disney is problematic AF for a 10 year old intersectional baby feminist who questions why Princess Tiana spent most of her time as a frog 🐸🌚.
I grapple with triggering statements like, “her Dad is from where? No wonder shes so cute”, implying that she wouldn’t be cute if she was just black… like me.
HOWEVER I also have the joy of engaging in many powerful conversations which make my daughter aware that issues of equality are manifold. Her views on LGBTQ make me so proud! Her sense of her African identity probably makes the ancestors smile. She has developed a sense that she is entitled to equality and can use her privilege to make space for others.
Ps… turns out I’m actually talking about EQUITY!!!1