The following Featured Post comes from Relationship Group 1, Thread 6.
1. Why does my Child have to choose?
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 7:08 PM/EST
My 4 year old daughter has a olive skinned daddy (white) and a dark brown mommy (black); I am angered by the fact that society--more so some of my friends--feel that she must choose a side or better yet that she is black by law. I say society can kiss my _ _ _. Reality is one thing-but when we sit in my house we are a family full of richness, not individuals defined by the beautiful shades of our skin. Just a side note (perhaps funny to some) Why do blacks and whites alike want to touch my daughters hair-they actually seem to enjoy how it feels! It is beautiful-but so is my wife's very close natural. he he
2. We chose for our future children
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 7:50 PM/EST
I noticed in the TV show that the parents of the girls both agreed to raise them as black, but the girls themselves didn't see each other that way. They felt that they weren't accepted into black culture.
I'm not sure how it will go with our future children in reality, but we made a choice long back that we will raise them as Indians who also happen to be Americans. I think that if we raise them that way they will be accepted. Yes, part of our decision was because of their probable appearance. Most of it has to do with our faith. I will never be accepted as an Indian because of my appearance. There have been a few times when I was not allowed into places in India because I was not Indian. Our kids will not have that problem. Although many Indians will still label them as "anglo-Indian", many more will accept them into the culture. I don't think most Americans will see our children as fully American. My husband and I share a common faith and I think that our faith will hold us together more than anything.
Although ideally we should all be accepted everywhere and there should not be any grouping of "insiders" and "outsiders", the reality is that it's much easier to be part of a group that floating around in-between groups. It takes a strong person to "float" and it's hard for a child to be forced into the situation of not really belonging anywhere when they are forming who they are and what they believe. When the child is older he or she can find him/herself independant of the group. That is the sign of a whole person, regardless of what group they associate with or not.
I may change my mind when we actually have children. I think that parenting is an experiment of trials and errors. Being interracial and intercultural just makes it more complicated.
3. Racial Identity is Become Mutable Identity
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 10:10 PM/EST
I'm thinking about ambers' statement: "It takes a strong person to 'float' and it's hard for a child to be forced into the situation of not really belonging anywhere when they are forming who they are and what they believe."
At the onset of the 20th century, sociologist W.E.B. DuBois said that the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line. I believe he was correct, but that the meaning of the term "color line" has shifted in the past decades. As we enter the 21st century, the color line is, for an increasing number of people, a dotted line. The dotted color line is a mutable membrane through which some may choose to cross back and forth at will.
In the last century, racial identity was regarded as fixed, permanent, unchangeable; in the new millennium, racial identity will come to be seen as a socially constructed reality which is mutable. One can wear different clothes for different occasions; and in the same way, we can change which authentic aspects of our socially constructed identities we choose to display depending on our mood and the social context.
A person may decide on one day to feature her Phillipina identity, and on another, her Latina identity, and on another, the Asian facets of her identity, and on some occasions, she may decide just to clothe herself in the identity of one American, created by God, indivisible, with the full liberty to change which aspects of her authentic identity she will show the world tomorrow.
Ambers, I think that it is difficult to force a child to choose *only one* identity, but easy to recognize a child's right to honor all parts of her ethnic and cultural heritage(s).
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 1:22 AM/EST
At the poetry reading I attended tonight, one of the poems contained the idea (this is NOT a direct quote): "I am the successor to John Updike; I am the successor to Langston Hughes." It seemed to me that this young poet had it figured out--what to choose . . . -e-
6. Good point, Johnathan
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 1:29 AM/EST
"Ambers, I think that it is difficult to force a child to choose *only one* identity, but easy to recognize a child's right to honor all parts of her ethnic and cultural heritage(s). "
That's a good point!
I am Hindu and I dress as a Hindu in religious/cultural events. At work, I dress as a typical American in slacks and blouses. It would be the same for our children. They would dress/act/integrate appropriately, but inside they would know that they are in a Hindu family, and they are at least part Indian. I will never be Indian because of my skin color but I can cross that dotted line by my faith and marriage into Indian culture. Our children will be able to cross that line, too, but like Cicily, it will be hard for our child to fit totally 100%into either culture. I still think the child will feel more at home in Indian culture, if there's a strong community and the child knows his/her daddy's language, and we practice that faith, and go to India each year to visit the grandparents. But they will also be American, living here, having American friends. It's tough. I'll never know what that's like. All I can do is give my child the tools and exposure to dwell easily in both worlds.
In the end it is my child's choice. I care more about the child turning out to be a good person than anything else. I just want our child to be kind and do the right thing, to be a good friend and spouse, and make the world a little better.
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