Desmond grew up in Sarasota. His dad and mom met within the Northeast, then moved to Florida earlier than he was born. His mom, Pattie Paradise, is white, and his father, Wesley Desmond, was Black, which didn’t sit properly together with his mom’s household, Desmond stated.
When he was 18 months, and his sister, Nikki, was 3, their father died unexpectedly. Paradise labored two jobs, generally three, to handle them. She married Chris Charron, who’s white, when Ian was 5. (The couple divorced 13 years later.)
The household lived in a principally white neighborhood. When Nikki and Ian have been in elementary faculty, their mom transferred them to a personal, Catholic faculty, the place they have been among the many few college students of coloration. Ian stated he realized later that the varsity held a gathering with the scholar physique to announce that he and Nikki can be enrolling. “They needed to put together the children and say, ‘Hey, there are some Black children coming, biracial children,’” Desmond stated.
Their household didn’t speak quite a bit about race. Paradise and Charron had two extra kids. “Our sister is eight years youthful than me, and folks would ask her, ‘Why do your brother and sister have brown pores and skin?’” Nikki stated.
Ian performed soccer, with principally white teammates and opponents. Nikki participated in gymnastics, which was principally white as properly. “It’s truthful to say that my sister and I recognized as white,” Ian Desmond stated. “We knew we have been biracial, however we simply sort of felt like one with the white group.”
Nonetheless, he encountered racial profiling. As a younger teenager, he was heading to a Sports activities Authority when he noticed a girl approaching the doorway. He hurried over to carry the door open for her. As an alternative of thanking him, she clutched her purse.
“I used to be like, ohhh,” Desmond stated. “It was actually nothing to me, however on the similar time it was like, man, this woman thought I used to be going to rob her.”