VIRAL BBC Interview: Read These 15+ ‘I’m Not the Nanny” Essays from Moms of Color

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This week, South Korea expert Robert E. Kelly‘s BBC on air segment went viral as he was discussing the recent impeachment of that nation’s president Live when his two daughters burst into the room where he was Skyping his interview.

The Pusan National University political science professor’s wife, Jung-a Kim, shut it down when she burst into the room, ninja style, ducking low, but making a ton of noise and dragged the kids out of the room. Many work-at-home parents can relate.


It is hilarious (You can catch it HERE).

One of the by-products of the video is the discussion among members of the public and  the media who assumed that Kelly’s Korean wife was the nanny, not the mom of the two racially-ambiguous kids.

While one could understand the presumption of many, given the trend of interracial marriages, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to assume the woman was the mom.

The number of mixed-race babies has soared over the past decade, new census data show, a result of more interracial couples and a cultural shift in how many parents identify their children in a multiracial society.  In fact, more than 7 percent of the 3.5 million children born in the year before the 2010 Census were of two or more races, up from barely 5 percent a decade earlier. The number of children born to black and white couples and to Asian and white couples almost doubled.
Victoria Rowell wrote in her autobirography that her nurse refused to give her blonde hair blue eye baby to her after birth before triple checking.

Young & Restless actress Victoria Rowell wrote in her autobiography that her nurse refused to give her blonde hair blue eye baby to her after birth before triple checking.

In light of the recent video with Kelly, there have been a few summaries and think pieces on the unconscious bias and micro-aggression many women of color around the world endure when they are asked by well-meaning people what agency they work for or if they are the mom to their own children.

This is not one.

I have several friends who are married to men of European decent who have children that are very fair and have physical features that are also quite European-looking. I have a few blogger friends as well who have penned pieces on the topic and I’ve written about one from the DC area,  Thien-Kim Lam, whose entire blog is actually titled, “I”m Not the Nanny”.

Because this topic is new to a lot of folks who cannot imagine these women’s perspective, I curated 14 Blogs and Interviews with over 15 women of color giving their first-hand personal essays on this topic. Check them out:

No, I’m Not the Nanny, He’s Really my Son, Stacy-Ann Gooden, Weather Anchor Mama

I’m Not the Nanny — Darker Mom, Lighter Baby, Angela Gray, Huffington Post

No, I’m not the nanny: When you don’t look like your kids, reporting by Pamela Sitt, TODAY Moms

Nope! I’m Not the Nanny, Just a Black Mom, Thanks, Nicole Blades, Jezebel

I’m Not the Nanny: Multiracial Families and Colorism, Allyson Hobbs review of Lori Tharps’ book, New York Times

I’m Not the Nanny, Collection, What to Expect.com

No, I’m Not the Nanny, Jennifer Borget, BabyMakingMachine

My Daughter, I’m Not her Nanny, C. Fleming, The Race Card Project

I’m her Mom, Not the Nanny, Rose Arce, CNN

No, I’m Not the Nanny, Paloma Thomas, The Gal-Dem.com

No, I’m Not the Nanny, Sage Steele, People

No, I’m Not their Nanny, Vivienne Lewis, Chronicles of a Young Mother

Please Stop Asking me If I’m the Nanny, Oriana Branon, Scary Mommy

Here is a young white mom who is mistaken for being the nanny of her biracial son in the Upper West Side of New York.

No, I’m Not the Nanny, Allison, Motherhood Project NYC

Finally, my journalist friend Jamila Bey  and a multiracial San Diego native Phaedra Erring who each are parents to blonde haired blue eyed kids, and New York Times Motherlode blogger Lisa Belkin were interviewed by NPR.

Also on this interview is Carolyn Hall who is a white woman who has two African adopted kids and a bi-racial child with her Jamaican-American husband, who is given harsh looks while out with her African kids because people assume wrongly she “stole” them from her husband’a previous relationship.

. Listen to their stories:

CNN producer shares tales of being confused as the nanny



CNN senior producer Rose Arce shared her experiences being confused as the nanny or baby sitter for her young daughter who has fair complexion, straight blonde hear and Anglo Saxon features.  Arce, who has darker skin, curly brown hair and resembles a “typical” Latino, goes on in length about various situations where people assumed that she was the nanny.
The fact remains that many sitters, nannies and caregivers in America are Latino, but still that has to be quite “challenging”, to say the least, to keep having to correct people all the time.
After reading the piece, I noticed the highly-rated and highly-liked comment of a red-headed woman whose husband is Latino and whose daughter carries the husband’s last name though she does not. She said she is never confused as the nanny though she’s had to prove over and over again, in the doctor’s office and at events that she is indeed the child.  That commenter also said that when her husband dresses nice that he doesn’t get confused as anything but the child’s father.
Herein lies the cultural differences and nuances.  First, it may be less likely that a white person caring for a child that looks to be of a different race as the nanny.  The stereotype, which is based on the fact that there are a lot of Latino nannies out there, has to do with a Latina.  Second, it is a shame that a Latino person should have to dress up to prove themselves worthy while everyone else have the pleasure to dress casually.
Several blacks in America also complain that in order to not get followed in a store or thought of to either be on the verge of stealing something or to be taken seriously as a customer who can afford to purchase an item in an upscale store, they have to dress up and dress nicer than the average customer.  The idea is that unless they do that, they fall prey into the stereotype that some people have that blacks steal and are less affluent, thus cannot afford to purchase nice things.
The CNN piece was interesting and a reminder that we all shouldn’t assume what we think is the obvious.  The author, Arce, is a contributor to Mamiverse, a website for Latinas and their families.  
Read the piece on CNN.

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