Paola Egonu shock: “Is it worth giving birth to a black child?”

“If I ever have a black child, he will experience all the crap I experienced”

“If I ever have a black child, they’ll experience all the crap I experienced. If they have mixed skin, even worse: they’ll make them feel too black for whites and too white for blacks. So it’s worth it , give birth to a child and condemn him to unhappiness?” This is the shocking question asked by Paola Egonu, the 24-year-old Italian volleyball player considered the strongest in the world, in an interview with ‘Vanity Fair’ who wanted her to be the protagonist of the new digital cover of Vanity Fair and of the weekly newsletter Vanity Fair Weekend , on the occasion of her debut as co-host at the Sanremo 2023 festival, on the evening of Thursday 9 February.

A few days after her participation in the Sanremo Festival as co-host together with Chiara Ferragni, Chiara Francini and Francesca Fagnani, Paola talks about the episodes of racism, the sacrifices linked to her sporting career, up to the fear of giving birth a son who could relive all the cruelty that she has always experienced on her skin.

“At four years old – she says – I realized I was different. I was in kindergarten and, with a friend of mine, we were pulling up the grass from the garden: the roots made us laugh. The teacher grounded us. Three times the I asked to go to the bathroom. Three times she said no. In the end I went in a hurry, without permission. Too late: I was all over my clothes. The teacher laughed in my face: ‘Oh God, you suck! You stink!’ And for the rest of the day, it didn’t change me. I had to wait, dirty, for my mother to arrive in the afternoon. Even today, 20 years later, I struggle to use a toilet other than the one of my house”.

Compared to when she was mistreated in kindergarten, is there less racism in Italy today? “No. It happens that my mom asks for a coffee at the bar and that they serve it cold, that the bank lets in her white friend of hers but not her”.

Who doesn’t appreciate? “For example those who insult me ​​by asking why I’m Italian. They don’t know anything about me, about us athletes. They don’t know how much we struggle, how tired we are, how we don’t feel up to it, how sometimes we just want to take a break from everything, but we can’t. I don’t even have the time to enjoy a victory when the next challenge arrives: after the Scudetto there is the Champions League, and the European Championship, the Super Cup, the Olympics. Then it happens that someone says the wrong sentence to me and I ask myself: why should I represent you?”.

“I grew up in an environment where the standard of beauty assumed that I was white. And, you know, kids can be very unpleasant. I was always the tallest, I was black, with these curls that I hated. At one point I I’m shaved. Too bad I was teased because I didn’t have hair. Life sucked. I felt like shit,” she says.

Years ago he found comfort in the arms of a woman, the volleyball player Katarzyna Skorupa. How did her parents take it? “Very bad. They were worried about what their uncles or neighbors would think. Then they realized that mine wasn’t a choice. Who would opt for a lifestyle that pits you against everyone? Some things just happen.”

Did you feel more accepted by society instead? “Not so much: I didn’t care, I kissed my girlfriend even in public. The reactions, however, weren’t always pleasant. The problem is that people don’t mind their own business. I say, what come and judge me, or a homosexual couple who raise their children with love, when it’s full of traditional dysfunctional families? And then… I already know that, if my son has black skin, he will experience all the crap that I experienced. If he has mixed skin, worse again: they will make him feel too black for whites and too white for blacks. Is it worth it, then, to give birth to a child and condemn him to unhappiness?”.