|Pedro Henrique Ferreira|
I have worked as a nanny for 9 years and as many families. I am a Brooklyn Born, Rutgers College Educated African American Nanny with lots of friends and a great sense of humor. I have great references. I work as a nanny because I love it, it pays well and I am great with children.
I seem to notice that a lot of racism rears it's head on the beach. I spend a lot of time on the beach and meet my employer's friends and children. I see some of the same people all of the time. I am quietly friendly and polite. I don't cower or crouch in the background. I play with the children and speak openly.
But the questions get tiring. So let me answer everything you seem to want to ask me while I am chasing a three year old into the Ocean or taking a break and reading a French mystery on my pink flamingo beach towel.
Yes, I swim. No, I don't know why so many people seem not to swim. Yes I am aware Jamaica is an Island with miles of beach. I have heard that many Jamaicans don't swim. I swim. Also, I am not Jamaican, nor am I Caribbean. I'm an American.
No, I don't play tennis. Yes, I have strong thighs. I am not a particularly fast runner, but I do wonder are you asking because of my strong thighs or because you imagine I've had so much practice running from the law? No, my parents don't live in Trinidad, remember, I am an American. My parents live TOGETHER in Brooklyn, DUMBO. My father is a retired machinist and my mother is a NYC kindergarten teacher.
No, I don't think I have that "steel wool hair" or that "good black hair". I have my hair. Yes it gets wet. No, I am not afraid to get it wet, did you see me in the ocean? I don't want to answer your questions about whether or not this is my real hair. Is that your real hair color? I don't want to educate you on hair extensions and weaves. No, I cannot approximate the cost of a full weave.
No, I have never gotten sunburned, Yes, I wear sunblock religiously because my health and skin is important to me. Yes, most of the children I care for are white and tend to be fair. No the parents don't need to worry about me "remembering" sun block. I get it. Did I mention I have a Bachelors of Art in Mathematics? And I'm a fairly functional member, of society? And I've worked with children for over 12 years.
No, I don't have children. No, I don't send money home to my children in Jamaica, remember, I'm a Brooklyn gal? Yes, I imagine that would be hard to work here and send money to support your children in another country. I have no other information about said arrangements, but thank you for your concerned and sympathetic eye contact.
I can't speak to whether Black Women are notoriously hard to work for, but you phrased it in such a way that you clearly don't need my answer. I have worked as a nanny for a rainbow of families and they have all treated me well. Why would any nanny stay with a family that didn't treat them with respect and appreciation.
No, I don't think my boss hired me because she could be sure that the kids wouldn't accidentally call me Mommy or the Mommy and me teacher would assume I was the baby's mom. I think she hired me because I was the best. It's horrifically offensive to assume that the mother hired me because the father "wouldn't be tempted."
Yes, there tend to be a lot of Black Baptists. No, I don't care to talk about religion with you. And on that note, unless I know you and we are having an actual political conversation, don't ask me about Obama. "Let me guess you voted for Obama both times," what is that, humor? I love to talk politics and religions but I also believe in tact and grace and the place for that isn't with people I just met on the beach surrounded by shovels and sandy Chips Ahoy cookies.
"You've got that good black skin," I was told at a barbecue last week. As opposed to what? The regular, garden variety, bad black skin?
I am not hardened. I have not lived a hard life. I did not grow up in public housing. My parents graduated high school. My mother had her Master's degree. I don't have a recipe for fried chicken for you nor can I tell you "the secret to good grits." What is my favorite food? Bacon, lettuce and tomato. (No, I'm not Muslim and no, I don't know why young black men seem to be popping up as Muslims.)
Yes, this is my real nose. Are you asking because it isn't as wide as you think it should be? What music do I listen to? Jazz and 70's soul. I don't have an opinion to share with you on police brutality or #blacklivesmatter. Thank you for clarifying that all lives matter.
And my favorites, how do you spell your name? THE REGULAR WAY!
and "you are so well spoken." True That.
Thanks for listening,