Growing up in the Midwest, US often means growing up surrounded by a racial binary. Everything is Black + White.
"What are you mixed with?" "Where is that?" "What is this food?" Answering questions about identity when your identity is the only example of its existence in a place is exhausting.
When I visited Brooklyn, that all changed. "Ay, you Trini, gal?" was the question. It felt so refreshing and affirming for someone to look at my face and see a piece of who I was without me having to show it on a map.
Representation matters. The joy on my son's face when he is welcomed by people who look like him and offer him food my grandfather cooked for me every weekend comforts my heart.
I often wrestle with the idea of moving back to the Midwest. The allegiance people from small towns have to a place is unmatched. But, the idea of knowingly placing my son in experiences that erase exposure to images of himself breaks my heart.
Being a Banana Mom is learning and understanding our Banana Babies' identity. Learning and understanding that they will have their own interpretations and experiences. The experiences I choose for him include maximum exposure to his people.
Thank you Brooklyn.