I wish this topic was a lot less complicated. Race relations in the US are already a multi-layer mess full of landmines. Add to that the fact that I have a hard time trying to fit into that complicated structure of labels and you have yourself a very difficult conversation that I will someday have to have with my child.
Daddy, what am I?
Start by the fact that I had to be told I was not white as soon as I moved to the US. That said (and it is probably a good idea for you to read that post) I don’t have identity problems. I have problems fitting into American society labels, but I am very proud of my heritage. Not just as Colombian but every day I learn more and more about what it is to be Latino in the US.
If I had to have the conversation with my daughter today I would probably start by saying, you are half American and Half Colombian. I think nationality is a good way to start the conversation. It will continue with, you were born in Kansas City but your Mom was born in Denver and I was born in Cali, Colombia. I will eventually get to the ugly labeling of human beings part, but I want her to first think of people as a complex set of experiences and not just the color of their skin.
Race has been on the news a lot lately. Ferguson is now something cemented in our brains as a negative from both points of view. You can’t win that argument with people that are polarized by it. Then you have an NAACP advocate identifying as black when she was really white. I feel she has been treated unfairly because she should be judged more for the work she does rather than what she identifies as. Eminem did not get rejected by Dr Dre when he found out he was white.
Today another incident is being labeled as a “hate crime.” 9 people are dead supposedly because of the color of their skin. We call it a tragedy, but in reality it is something that should simply not happen anymore in a modern society. We watch Game of Thrones and at times think of that world as barbaric. In reality we are really not that far away from that world where people kill in the name of an affiliation.
I have no clue how much discrimination my daughter will have to face. I don’t want to make her afraid of other people or think of the “race card” as something real. I am curious as to what other parents of mixed background or with mixed children think.