29 August 2011

Gender vs Race

My son just turned two and a half years old. Recently, when I read books to him he points to a boy and says "brother like me", and points to a girl and says "sister like [Destiny]" no matter the race of the children. He will point to a black boy and say, "brother like me", and point to a white girl and say "sister like [Destiny]" even if they are in the same picture side by side. I do not know if it is the same with all two and a half year olds, but clearly he identifies more with his and his sister's gender than he does his and his sister's race at this time.

What prompted me to share this is an example that further proved this to be true. This morning he asked me to read him a book that had a picture of two babies on the back. They seem to be right about the same age, about one year old, but one was white and blonde, like my son, and one was black, like my daughter. Both were in diapers and gender wasn't easily identified. He studied the picture for a moment. I knew he was trying to decide which was "brother like [him]" and which was "sister like [Destiny]". He had a short struggle. I thought it was mostly due to the races of the babies. The baby who was white and blonde looked more like a girl and the baby who was black looked more like a boy. However, the black baby had the same round face and same length hair as my daughter. I was sure he'd pick that baby as being "sister like [Destiny]". I was wrong on both accounts.

He chose the black baby who looked very similar to my daughter, but had more male features than the white baby in the picture, as being "brother like me", and he chose the white baby with blonde hair who seemed to have more female features as "sister like [Destiny]". Then I realized that his moment of thought was not about the race of the babies. It was about the gender. He was trying to decided which baby was male and which was female. As usual, race wasn't even a consideration.

Brought to mind a well known Bible verse: "And verily I say unto you, Except ye... become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3.

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10 August 2011

My Mom Wants One

Every time we go to any store my little miss gets complimented left and right. Hard to tell if it's sincere or because she's black. My mind will always wonder. If you're a transracial parent you know just what I mean and the struggle you have of wanting to believe every compliment is sincere. Reminds me of a previous post of mine.

Overheard an extremely frustrating comment in the local bulls-eye store a couple days ago. A mother was shopping with her daughter and her daughter's friend. The girls looked to be around eleven years old. They see my daughter and the girl says to her friend, "Look! That's what my mom wants - a black baby."

Uuuuugh! How can people not know how racist that is and how can people not teach their children better than that?! Feel blessed you have a child/children! Why does color matter? You don't seek out collecting one of each color! What in the world do people really mean when they say they "want a black one"? I still don't understand it. What does their being black have to do with it? They are children not pets!

This kinda crap makes me feel like I gotta get my kids the hell outta this state.

So what did I do? Admittedly I gotta get better at my reactions. I want them to be educational responses, but I am the type who most of the time cannot get a word out and thinks of the perfect thing to say later. I hope I'll get better with time. I stopped my grocery buggy with my children in it, swung my neck around, and gave the woman and her child the most outraged and shocked look I could. Best I could muster at the time. Better than ignoring. I want to learn to react with words. I caught the mom smiling at her daughter's words until she saw me stop and give her that look. Her face became flushed.

Some people will say that by choosing to adopt transracially I have invited these comments. Ridiculous. You choose to drive a car does that mean you are inviting people to run into you? No. You know it may happen, but you are not asking for it. Besides, I firmly believe that my children - the ones I have and the ones who may yet come - belong in our family. How they come to our family is not up to me.

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Southern Say-Sos

We have long been back from our three week trip back home to the South. Given past experiences, I thought for sure I'd have at least one interesting story to tell about how people reacted to our transracial family. We got stared down by a few old folks, but who expects less from them, really? We got a few eye rolls from some white people, but no one said anything out loud. The only people who were vocal were the black women, and they had only compliments for our little girl. They commented on how big her thighs are and how big her cheeks are called her "juicy". "Ooooo dat baby so jUUUUsaay!" Well, she is. Beautifully juicy. Yep, that's my girl.
So yay for no rude comments (except from the old fart at church who always finds something "negative" to say about everyone and who everyone ignores). My overall impression is that most people who have a problem with transracial families are in the older generation and that people are finally starting to grow out of it. I sure hope I'm right.

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