Not The Nanny

On May 13, 2010, in Biracial, Conversations, by Honeysmoke

I was pleasantly surprised to see an essay by Veronica Chambers about mistaken identity in the June issue of Essence. Chambers is the mother of a beautiful 2-year-old little girl, who looks a lot like her white father. As a result, Chambers has been mistaken as her nanny, not her mother. It’s not the typical essay for Essence, a black women’s magazine. Thank you, Essence, for realizing black mothers are raising biracial children. Thank you!

I am a fan of Chambers’ writing. I even have a copy of her memoir around here somewhere. I nodded my head as I read her essay, because I could have written it, with one exception. Chambers said she was “dressed in a Lanvin blouse, jeans and Jimmy Choo heels” when she took cupcakes to her daughter’s school.

Umm, what’s a Lanvin blouse? A quick search revealed blouses that cost upward of $780. Sheesh. I am all too familiar with jeans, and I have heard of Jimmy Choo shoes. The latter go for about the same as the Lanvin blouse. Thank goodness, I didn’t inherit the high-heels shoe gene, and we all know I couldn’t even bring myself to buy a BlackBerry that I need.

For the record, when I grow up, maybe when Simone is a heart surgeon and Nadia is a corporate attorney, I want a Lanvin blouse, jeans and some Jimmy Choo heels.

The essay does end with a bit of advice for mothers who may find themselves being mistaken for the nanny. Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of the magnificent Diana Ross, told Chambers that when people say strange things to her, she thinks to herself, “How embarrassing–for you!” I’ll keep that in the back of my mind for the next time I find myself in a similar situation. In the meantime, I have a heart surgeon and corporate attorney to raise.

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  • I hope the editors are realizing that their readers don’t necessarily come with the same thought process. By the way, the only reason I have a subscription is because my MIL buys it for me. I let mine lapse many years ago.

  • Blanc2

    Interesting. I’ve read Essence quite a lot over the past 20 or so years. I’ve found that it has historically been negative, sometimes strongly negative, on the idea of BW/WM relationships. It does seem that this negativity has softened somewhat in recent years. I’ve not seen this particular article (my wife let her Essence subscription lapse a year or two ago) but it does feel like it is consistent with Essence’s editorial bias toward running articles that discuss some negative aspect of a BW/WM relationship.

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  • I’ve never heard of a Lanvin blouse either! I do love “How embarrassing–for you!” What a great attitude and thought to keep in mind when people express all kinds of strange assumptions or ask weird and inappropriate questions.

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