Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Mixers

As a mother of two racially diverse children, I was quite fascinated with this article by Peggy Orenstein from The author of the article is a Caucasian woman that is the mother of a child that is racially half Japanese and half Caucasian (i.e. her husband is a Japanese American and she's blonde and blue eyed). Her daughter looks more Asian than Caucasian and this is an excerpt of what happened:

... while I was jogging in place in the galley trying to lull Daisy into a nap (and, as a side effect, working off the pregnancy weight), another passenger noticed us. "What a beautiful baby," she cooed and, before I could even smile in acknowledgment, added, "Where did you get her?"

This woman was a complete stranger!! I can only imagine the horror. If my kids looked completely like The Breadwinner, I'm sure someone would probably mistake me as the nanny (this actually happened to a friend of mine). Luckily mine do look like they are part Asian. But I wonder what people would say if I was the Caucasion and The Breadwinner was Asian. Anyway, the best is her new comeback for people that ask her where she got her daughter from:

From my uterus. I loved it. It was insouciant, surprising, and it stopped further conversation in its tracks. Best of all, it works. Every time. Where did you get her? From my uterus. Is she from China or Korea? From my uterus.

HA! Take that--ignorant strangers!

I've always wanted mestizo children-- because I think they're beautiful. But after reading the article, I kind of wonder if growing up Hapa (half asian/half white) will make things difficult for my kids in the future. Eh, who am I kidding, my kids are going to grow up to be Hotties and EVERYONE loves a hottie. (Can you tell I'm a proud parent?)

Anyway, It's an interesting article and voices what it's like to be asked questions about your racial ethnicity. This happens to me a lot. Sometimes I get annoyed at the ignorance (i.e. where am I from-- even though I don't have an accent or they'll ask me where my parents are from-- which BTW is from the Philippines but for all they know I could be 5th generation American) but most of the time, I just tell them that I'm Filipino because most people don't mean any harm by it.

BTW, Thanks everyone for the good advice. I may try the charting and making a list...if I can get off my slacker mommy ass.


Brillig said...

I love that "from my uterus" is one of your labels. Haha. It's the perfect response. My situation isn't nearly so dramatic as yours and the woman's in the article. But I have black hair and green eyes. My children are all blonde with blue eyes. They don't look like mine at first glance (they all look like me in their own individual little ways, but the coloring is ALL OFF). I love the response!

Worker Mommy said...

My children are bi-racial (1/2 African American, 1/2 caucasian) and I've gotten several questions, stares ,glances even "are you babysitting?", especially with my daughter because she is on the "pale" side.
In any event that response is wonderful.

I too have worried about how my children will feel growing up. Will they be forced to choose a side - will they be discriminated against by their African American peers because they are not "black enough" or vice versa ?
My take has been just to raise my kids with lots of love and to be appreciative of both sides of their heritage and understand that they are special regardless of what anyone else says to the contrary!
Hapa - I'd not heard that term before. We get mulatto a lot which I so dislike because it reminds me of food (gelato ) . I prefer biracial or multiracial.

Great post!

Shauna said...

LOVE this post.
Gavin is mixed Asian and people never quite know what he is (he gets mistaken for Mexican and Filipino a lot). And he doesn't look like his race matches his last name - our last name. So that's a bit of a challenge. But whatever. I've got beautiful mixed kids and that's all that matters, but yes, strangers' comments can be annoying.

Kyle said...

Classic. You are right though that the Princess and the JR Peanut are beautiful and everyone loves beautiful people! I'll have to develop my own spin on "from my uterus" when me and the wifey finally have some little ones.

Butrfly4404 said...

That's super funny.

The kids are both blonde with light eyes. The Man and I both have very dark hair - plus, they all have a more tan natural skin tone and I'm SUPER pale.

That would really suck to be asked that, though! I guess, I would ask if they had an accent, maybe. But there's a guy who I worked with for like two years who had a super thick accent that I just couldn't place, but I never asked him about it, so...yeah.

exskindiver said...

first of all the question
"where did you get her?"
is just so crass.
it is almost as if she were referring to a pet and not a child.
from my uterus is a good response.

i totally get you about racial ethnicity.
although i am never offended when people ask me where i am from (since i didn't move to the US until i was 27 yrs. old)
--my sister, who is 51,and has lived here more than half her life--does get offended whenever she is asked that same question.
it is understandable.
it sort of begs the question:
when will asians/middle easterners without accents be considered americans just like blacks/caucasians without accents?

didn't mean to post such a long response.