I have begun to carry with me an old photograph of a plainly dressed woman. In the photograph, the woman is leaning on a door frame-apparently taking a short break from the oppressive heat in which I imagine she has been hanging clothes to dry. Several blonde wisps have escaped the confines of her tightly wrapped bun and hang in long strands below her shoulders. She is wearing unfashionable maternity clothes that hug her swollen belly. It is her belly that is the focus of this picture. She grasps it, coddling the small unborn bundle. Seeing on her face the cusp of a smile-the smile of expectancy of a young pregnant woman-I am reminded again that the child this woman envisions in her expectant look does not resemble the child that a stranger imagines this pregnant woman will bear. You see, this woman, my mother, is white. And the child that she will give birth to-me-is a brown-skinned baby girl.
Durrow, Heidi W.
"Mothering Across the Color Line: White Women, "Black" Babies,"
Yale Journal of Law & Feminism:
2, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlf/vol7/iss2/3