Raising Biracial Children in 2020 Elko: A Conversation with Emily Covert

This week, I (Anthony Crosby) am joined by an extraordinary guest! You probably wouldn’t be able to guess what makes her so special on your own, so I’m just going to go ahead and tell you- she’s the mother of my children and my ex-wife, Ms. Emily Covert! Yes, you read that correctly! We sat down and had a little chat recently over a few beers. Her part of the conversation went a little like this: “Anthony. You are literally the greatest human being I’ve ever met. One a scale of one to ten, you’re a seventy-two. Your parenting skills go unmatched, and my world would crumble without your light in my life!” Okay…fine. She didn’t say any of those words. But, come on, how often does a person have permission to quote an ex to hundreds of people all over the world? All joking aside, Emily and I did genuinely sit down for a very real conversation that I’m excited for you all to read!

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On top of being the mother to a beautiful eight-year-old daughter (my awesome little homie), she, as mentioned, is the mother of our two little girls, ages three and four. It can go without saying that conversations about race and equality are prevalent in our world right now. As a black man, there are things that I have had to work through, racially, throughout my entire life. However, I’ve shared many of those stories on other AAT platforms, and since many of us are using these times to learn and grow about our neighbors and our differences, I wanted to hear Emily’s perspective as a white woman raising biracial children in 2020 Elko, Nevada.

How are you doing, Emily? Is this weird, me interviewing you like this? Are you ready for some real talk?

“I told one of my friends that we were doing this interview. She asked me if I was nervous or anything. I told her that, honestly, I never thought that my parenting experience with our children might differ from that of my oldest. I’ve always had it in my head that I had the golden ticket because I’m simply raising all girls, and I wouldn’t have to worry about all the things involved with raising boys. Maybe I was oblivious to some things, and the current situation of everything happening in the world right now has had me thinking. What if our girls come home from school one day and tell me they’ve been bullied for the color that they are? These last few weeks have made me realize that there could, [but] hopefully not, be a time where I wouldn’t be able to relate to them fully on something like that. I’d have to call you up and have you help tackle that one, Anthony, because I might not know what to say.”

Dang, that is a lot for anyone to have to take in. Do you have any specific stories that you think might be good to share with the readers?

“There was one time I was at a Target in Twin Falls, Idaho with a friend. She had her older daughters with her, and our daughters were babies at the time. One of the cashiers looked at our youngest and made a statement about her must being Mexican. I corrected her, explaining that she was half white and half black. She told me that I was wrong and that she must have some Mexican in her. I told her, again, as her mom, that she didn’t! Yes, I was arguing with this woman about whether or not MY newborn baby is a certain race or not. It just blows my mind that there are people who would even say these types of things to others!

“Another time, when you and I first started dating, the two of us and my oldest were in Walmart. You were carrying her because she was like two at the time. I noticed this lady was giving you the dirtiest look the whole time. I even heard her say said something about it. I asked you about it and you said that you didn’t notice it. I didn’t understand how you didn’t because she was so obvious!

“Things can also be subtly different where people may say things that they or we may not even connect that specific comments are about race. For example, we used to get told all the time that we would make some beautiful looking babies whenever we decided to have kids. Did people think that because we were an interracial couple or because they thought we were both hot? I don’t know! I remember this one time we were shopping with all three of the kids and people throughout the store were telling us how beautiful our two daughters were, but they didn’t say anything about my oldest (who is fully white). Finally, after like the third person said that, she looked at us and asked why nobody thought she was beautiful like her sisters. It was heartbreaking.

“A recent story involved a man that I was helping, noticing a picture of the girls. He asked if their dad was a black man, and I said yes. He then asked who babysits my kids when I’m at work. I explained to him that nobody “babysits” my kids. His eyes get big when I say this. I went on to tell him that they go to their dad’s house because he mainly works from home and takes care of them. And, on top of that, I told him that he also has been helping their big sister with schoolwork after Coronavirus hit. He looked at me and said, “Oh. Guys like that don’t normally stick around!” He knows nothing about you, Anthony, and still would make a comment like that. This is 2020; how are some of us still in this place?”

So, after all those stories and your recent realizations, how do you think that’s going to shape you as a mom going forward?

“I don’t know. I think maybe I have been aware of certain things in the past, but perhaps I still don’t get fully what it is people who have experienced racism have gone through. Having these conversations with you is helpful.

“I definitely know I don’t have “it” all together as a mom, especially as of late. I just know that I want my kids to be happy.”

Amen. Jeez, parenting all around is just tough! Maybe we need to join some sort of “parents of bi-racial kids” support group!?

“No, not support group…party club! Because there’s nothing negative about having kids of different colors!”

As usual…you are right!

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See you around, Elko!

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