A frightened mother carried around a copy of her mixed child's birth certificate to prove that her daughter was hers.
Last week, Cindy McCain, widow to the late Sen. John McCain, apologized for reporting a woman -- whose baby appeared to be of a different ethnicity -- as a human trafficker at a Phoenix airport. It's unclear what the woman's race was.
"At Phoenix Sky Harbor, I reported an incident that I thought was trafficking," McCain wrote in a Wednesday tweet. "I commend the police officers for their diligence. I apologize if anything else I have said on this matter distracts from 'if you see something, say something.'"
At Phoenix Sky Harbor, I reported an incident that I thought was trafficking. I commend the police officers for their diligence. I apologize if anything else I have said on this matter distracts from “if you see something, say something”— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) February 7, 2019
The incident reminded Black police officer and mother Amberkatherine DeCory of why she carried her light-haired, blue-eyed child's identification and birth photo around until she was old enough to speak for herself.
“I would get anxiety going out with her in public,” the mother of now 11-year-old Mila said according to The Associated Press. “I was very reluctant to breastfeed her in public or do anything that would draw attention to me.”
Another Black mother, Cydnee Rafferty, has her white husband carry a letter around explaining that he can travel with their 5-year-old daughter. The 38-year-old New Yorker was frustrated by McCain's report, noting that McCain has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh.
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“This is a problem that, to be frank, well-meaning white people get themselves into,” Rafferty said. “They think, ’If it doesn’t make sense to me it must not be right.”
The mother of two shared a post on Twitter directed to McCain, showing a picture of her with her children and explaining how she gave birth to them despite their color.
"Hey @cindymccain, Just an FYI, in case you spot us in an airport - here’s a pic of me and my kids. I know they don’t look like me, but I assure you, I grew them in my belly. And you being the parent of a child of a different race, I’m... surprised at your response," she tweeted.
Hey @cindymccain,— Cydnee Rafferty (@cydviciousraff) February 7, 2019
Just an FYI, in case you spot us in an airport - here’s a pic of me and my kids. I know they don’t look like me, but I assure you, I grew them in my belly.
And you being the parent of a child of a different race, I’m... surprised at your response. pic.twitter.com/PeY8ZsB8Ws
The Star Tribune reported McCain apologized on Phoenix radio station KTAR noting that she was returning from a trip on January 30 when she saw a woman with what appeared to be a child of a different race. The co-chair of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council who considers herself hypersensitive to trafficking situations reported her suspicions to police.
"I spotted — it looked odd — it was a woman of a different ethnicity than the child, this little toddler she had. Something didn't click with me," she said. "I tell people 'trust your gut.' I went over to the police and I told them what I thought, and they went over and questioned her, and by God she was trafficking that kid."
Phoenix Police Sgt. Armando Carbajal confirmed that there was "no evidence of criminal conduct or child endangerment."
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