Earlier this month, Cindy McCain mistakenly claimed that a woman who looked like she was a different ethnicity than the child she was with was trafficking her, subjecting her to public embarrassment over the incident.
Although she did apologize, the encounter disturbed families of mixed race children like that of Amberkatherine DeCory and Cydnee Rafferty, since they too have kids who don’t exactly look like carbon copies of their parents, the Associated Press reports.
Since reading about McCain’s report, Rafferty who is Black and whose husband is white, said this is a persistent problem that she finds herself always preparing to face.
“This is a problem that, to be frank, well-meaning white people get themselves into,” said Rafferty. “They think, ‘If it doesn’t make sense to me it must not be right.”
Rafferty said she makes sure to give her husband a letter ahead of time to explain that he has the authority to travel with their 5-year-old biracial daughter.
DeCory said she tucks photos of her daughter’s birth certificate in her diaper bag in case she’s forced to prove that the fair-skinned child really belongs to the brown woman she’s with.
DeCory is a 38-year-old police officer who lives outside Minneapolis. She reportedly has African-American and Native American ancestry. She said she constantly has anxiety when it comes to her kids and how they look.
She said she has carried her child’s birth certificate and even photos since giving birth for fear that her light-haired, blue-eyed child Mila would cause people to question if that was her baby. Her daughter Mila is now 11. She said however, her other two children didn’t cause any concern because they have darker skin.
“I would get anxiety going out with her (Mila) in public,” DeCory said. “I was very reluctant to breastfeed her in public or do anything that would draw attention to me.”
Rafferty posted a selfie to Twitter and tweeted to McCain to prove that while her two children, ages 5 and 5 months may look “different” than she, they are her indeed the babies she birthed.
“I know they don’t look like me, but I assure you, I grew them in my belly,” Rafferty wrote to McCain.
McCain was blasted for calling Phoenix police on an unassuming traveler with a toddler in tow at the Sky Harbor International Airport last Thursday. She told a local radio station in Phoenix about the ordeal which didn’t go over well for her and erupted in criticism on social media, The Daily Mail reported.
“‘I came in from a trip I’d been on and I spotted – it looked odd – it was a woman of a different ethnicity than the child, this little toddler she had, and something didn’t click with me,” McCain told KTAR News 92.3FM.
“I tell people ‘Trust your gut,’” she boasted in the interview. “I went over to the police and told them what I saw and they went over and questioned her and, by God, she was trafficking that kid.”
“She was waiting for the guy who bought the child to get off the airplane.”
However, McCain’s claim that the child was being trafficked by that woman wasn’t true, according to Phoenix law enforcement officials.