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Strangers’ suspicions rankle parents of mixed-race children

This undated selfie shows Amberkatherine DeCory with her daughter, Mila DeCory. Until her daughter could speak, Decory, a police officer who lives outside Minneapolis, carried her birth certificate and even a picture of her at the birth of the African-American and native american had to prove that her light-haired, blue-eyed child was really her own. Families such as the of them were not surprised when they heard that Cindy McCain reported a woman to police for possible human trafficking, because McCain saw her at the airport with a toddler of a different ethnicity. (Amberkatherine DeCory via AP)

PHOENIX – Amberkatherine DeCory carried photos of her daughter and her birth certificate in her diaper bag in case she had to prove that the lighter skin girl was really her. Cydnee Rafferty gives her husband a letter explaining that he has the right to travel with their 5-year-old biracial daughter.

Families such as the of them were not surprised when they heard that Cindy McCain had reported a woman to police for possible human trafficking, because the widow of Sen. John McCain saw her at the airport with a toddler of a different ethnicity. Officers investigated and found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Parents whose children have a different skin colour to say that they are regularly confronted with suspicion and the assumption that they need to look at other people’s children.

“This is a problem that, to be honest, well-meaning white people find themselves in,” said Rafferty, who is African-American, and who the man is white. “They think: ‘If it makes no sense to me it must not be good.”

After McCain’s report, Rafferty posted on Twitter a selfie of her with her two children, ages 5 and 5 months.

“I know that they don’t look like me, but I assure you, I grew in my belly,” Rafferty wrote on McCain.

Earlier this month, McCain claimed Phoenix radio station KTAR that the woman was waiting for a man who bought the child to get out of a plane and that her Jan. 30 report, police had stopped the trade. She urged people to speak when they have something strange.

“I came from a trip I already had on,” McCain said. “I saw — it looked strange it was a woman of a different ethnicity than the child, this little toddler that she had. Something is not on with me. I tell the people, ‘trust your gut.'”

She said that she talked about her suspicions with the police “and they went about and asked her. And, by God, she was human trafficking that boy.”

The Phoenix Police Sgt. Armando Carbajal confirmed that McCain called for a welfare check of a child at the airport, but said that the officials “there is no evidence of criminal behaviour or the child in danger.”

McCain has declined interview requests and has not said that if there is something in addition to the difference in ethnicity led her to the suspect of human trafficking. A spokesman for the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, said McCain was “only thinking about the possible consequences of a crime, not the ethnicity of the potential trafficker.”

After the police refuted her claim, McCain stressed the importance of speaking when something is wrong.

“I apologize if anything else I have said on this subject derives from ‘if you see something, say something,'” she wrote on Twitter.

Rafferty, a 38-year-old New Yorker, was surprised that McCain, who has a daughter from Bangladesh, it would be the same slightly-not-correct assumption that mixed-race families grapple with constantly. It is not always the summoning of the police. Other, more common ways of calling out the differences to cross.

For Rafferty, the questions are frustrating and offensive: “Whose baby is that?” a woman in the supermarket. “Where is her beautiful golden skin and curly hair?” of a client at the office, who had a clear idea of how a biracial child should look. “You are …?”, followed by a pause for her to fill in the blank with “your mother.”

And as she pushes a stroller on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, everyone assumes she’s the nanny. In the park, nor the mother, nor the caregivers know whether to embrace her in their camp.

DeCory, a 38-year-old police officer out of Minneapolis that African-American and native american descent, said the anxiety between mother and baby is a constant challenge for mixed-race families that are not talked about enough.

She remembers that is haunted by a frightening vision she could not shake: Someone would ask if she was really the mother of her daughter, and she wouldn’t be able to prove it. She thought that her daughter, Mila, who between her and a white woman, while someone who has the authority looked to see which way she crawled.

Until her daughter could speak, DeCory carried her birth certificate and even a picture of her birth, she had to prove that her light-haired, blue-eyed child was really her own. If Mila has gotten older, her hair is dark. She is now 11.

DeCory not have the same fears with her other two children, who have a dark skin closer to her own.

“I would fear to go out with her in public,” DeCory said. “I was very reluctant to breastfeed her in public or do anything that would draw attention to me.”

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