Another day, another Kim Kardashian story. Sorry. Between her press tour for the recently released Tyler Perry‘s Temptation and the ongoing hoopla over her pregnancy, Kim Kardashian is unavoidable these days. So, I’ll cut to the chase: recently, she sat down with BET.com to talk about the new film, and shared her thoughts on raising a bi-racial child.
“I have a lot of friends that are all different nationalities and their children are bi-racial, so they have kind of talked to me a little bit about it and what to expect and what not to expect,” she said. “But I think that the most important thing is, how I would want to raise my children, is to just not see color.”
We are not yet “post racial”
Sigh. This isn’t remotely likely to happen, given that Kanye West is the child’s father. West is after all, the one who threw down a cut card by announcing on live TV, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” And he can barely make it through a song verse without addressing race. Despite Kardashian’s Utopian vision for their baby, there’s little doubt the child will learn about color at home. Now will it be the right message, given West’s affinity for dissing black, especially darker-hued women? Who knows?
But back to Kardashian’s kumbaya outlook. I believe she meant well. Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Seeing color isn’t the problem. The various hues of people, and the distinct characteristics and the cultures they hail from, are all worth celebrating and acknowledging. But given the way black cultures and brown girls are marginalized, Baby Girl Kardashian-West will need her hue, her fuzzy hair, her other black features, and her culture celebrated and acknowledged more than most to make up for all the ways she will be singled out, slighted or unfairly mistreated because of the negative assumptions that will be made about her solely because she is black (or bi-racial, if you’re feeling PC today). Sure she’ll be wealthy and carry the fame (infamy?) of her parents’ surnames and global brands, and that will inoculate her from judgment on occasion.
What the future holds for young Kardashian-West
But just like Oprah got locked outside the Hermes store in Paris despite being, you know Oprah ™, young Kardashian-West won’t be able to escape the ramifications of being black and female in a world that’s not always so fond of either and even less fond of both together, no matter how far Mommy wants to bury her head in the sand about it.
It’s no coincidence that we rarely hear an of-color person talk about a colorblind society, or worse post-racial living. It’s because race defines and affects nearly every aspect of our lives, from health to marriage to employment to shopping, to just hailing a cab or just walking down the street. Only those not on the receiving end of racism, and also those gaining from it, have the privilege to ponder whether color is seen or should even be taught.
The black female double standard
Enter Kardashian, who has the benefit of being the product of a white ethnic group. And for that, she’s been given a lot of passes in life that she clearly doesn’t recognize. For instance, if her Baby Girl were to attempt to follow Mom’s footsteps to fame by building a brand off a sex tape, her black (or biracial, if you’re being PC) daughter would be shunned like Montana Fishburne, who tried the same thing. (If you just thought, “who?,” that’s my point.) White women from means (and with beauty) get passes for “youthful indiscretions.” Black women, even from means (and also with beauty) are more likely to be categorized as damaged goods.
Race shouldn’t matter. We should all be striving for folk, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, “not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.” But it does matter and for Kardashian, or any other mother, to pretend that we’ve arrived at the pinnacle of King’s mountaintop — that’s not just being naive, that’s also doing a disservice to the black child in the process.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria), in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk.