Can you imagine how it would feel to have complete strangers question whether or not your children were, in fact, your children? I can. In fact, I don't have to imagine what it would feel like, because as the mother of two biracial children, I know. I know how it feels, for example, to have someone I've never met approach me in a grocery store and say of the daughter I gave birth to weeks before: "She's absolutely adorable! Where did you get her?" (Why, just down the street at the Cute Asian Baby Store, of course! They're even having a sale!)
Thankfully, the experiences I've had along these lines have been more annoying than anything else. Nothing like the terrifying episode Virginia parents Joseph and Keana (last names withheld) recently went through.
Joseph, who is white, and Keana, who is African-American, were out running errands one day with their three young daughters -- just your average family outing. Until they got home, that is, to find a police officer waiting for them.
At first the couple was confused. Then the cop explained why he was there: A security guard at Walmart, where they'd just been shopping, called the police to report a possible kidnapping. "I just need to make sure that the children that you have are your own," said the police officer.
Keana says she was "dumbfounded. I sat there for a minute and I thought, 'Did he just ask us if these were our kids knowing what we went through to have our children?'"
When Keana and Joseph called the Walmart demanding an explanation, they were told that a customer alerted the security guard because he was "alarmed" at the sight of Joseph with his daughters (a 4-year-old and 2-year-old twins). The customer "didn't think that they fit," apparently.
Keana wasn't about to let that one slide: "I said, ‘What do you mean by they don't fit?’ And I was trying to get her [the Walmart employee] to say it. And she says, ‘Well, they just don't match up.’”
This whole thing is beyond outrageous, but what's truly sad is that Joseph and Keana say they're "not surprised," and neither am I. Even in this day and age, narrow-mindedness runs rampant; combine that with our society's tendency to judge and condemn, and you have ... a big mess. It's just a shame that innocent families have to deal with it.
Are you surprised that this dad was accused of kidnapping his biracial daughters?
Image via Vox Efx/Flickr