Sunday, May 27, 2007

"What a beautiful baby. Where did you get her?"

An article on being the parent of a mixed-race child, and a depressing reminder of the stupid-as-shit things people can say. from Parenting

h/t f-words and Racialicious.

12 comments:

Hahn at Home said...

Really interesting and mirrors some of my experiences. The author was dead on that acknowledging the child in a deeply parental way out in public deflects some pretty stupid questions. Having done it for 14 years now, it's easier, I don't think about it and spend most of my anxiety over such things as worrying about how to comfort and educate my kids when they come home after being called "nigger" or when their black friends think they act too white. It's just crazy.

arielladrake said...

My mother dealt with this crap in the hospital after I was born. She was feeding the newborn me, and a nurse came in and accused the 'weird Chinese lady' of stealing some white woman's baby. It took my mother about ten minutes to convince the nurse to actually check the freaking hospital bracelets.

belledame222 said...

hey, welcome, hah.

AD, that's fucked up.

little light said...

Yeah, that's fucked up, Ariella.

This speaks to me, hard. My folks have always had to deal with this--even after we were teenagers, people would assume my mother was the help, or a maid, or a mail-order bride at best, and they'd whisper things about what a nice, charitable man my father was for adopting those poor Guatemalan children, or whatever.

They constantly boggled at his being my biological father, and lots of people just couldn't wrap their heads around it.


Now, Hahn, I have to say, that may work when they're young, but it gets harder when they're older. Because my father and I don't particularly look related, if we get overly familiar with each other in public, or are out having dinner together, we get some very funny looks--and it's not, "Where did you get her?" It's "tsk tsk, another May-December romance." And that? That's creepy.

Nanette said...

My mom is visually white, although she is not (as was my oldest brother) - me, my father is Nigerian so I was a little brown child, which had rather more family consequences when I was young. For one thing, it had people who rented apartments to us when just seeing my mom and brother toss us right out on our ear when they caught sight of me.

Now that we are older, people just assume that I am her caretaker... which I am, but only because she's my mother.

Veronica said...

Because my father and I don't particularly look related, if we get overly familiar with each other in public, or are out having dinner together, we get some very funny looks--and it's not, "Where did you get her?" It's "tsk tsk, another May-December romance." And that? That's creepy.

Well, for the record, that happens to me, too, and I swear, my dad and I look alike. I can't go anywhere with my dad without people thinking we're a couple. It's been that way since I was 15.

Creeeepy.

baby221 said...

The reaction of adults was always, for better or worse, off my radar growing up -- it was the kids I had to deal with. And they tend not to have the "make nice" filter that adults try to make use of.

belledame222 said...

oh yes. the little dears, the little dears.

Nick Kiddle said...

"They can't help being curious" strikes me as overly non-confrontational or something. I mean, you'd think their parents taught them that being curious is no excuse for asking complete strangers personal questions, wouldn't you? Yeah, maybe they can't help being curious but surely they can help being rude.

belledame222 said...

--hey, Nick!

yeah, wouldn't you think?

What's even more disconcerting is when -adults- ask those questions; does give the answer to "where did those kids get the idea that it's okay to ask such things?" I suppose...

Jim said...

Here's anest of half-assed asumptions. My step-daughter's dad is a Japanese citizen (and so was she until it fianlly lapsed or whatever). My white wife and my white self and the rest of us were living in the Ft. Lewis area. Just before Mother's Day one year we wemnt to buy some flowers for Mommy.

In those days almost all the florist shops in the area belonged to older Korean ladies, like the one we wnet to. When we came in, the ladies looked at me, and at this little girl, smiled and figured out the situation, and began speaking Korean to my step-daughter, who naturally didn't answer, but just stood there blushing. Right answer. The ladies thought she was so cute they could just eat her, and so well-mannered and silent, too!

Later on her dad was naturally disgusted to think that his child had been mistaken for Korean, however benignly.

belledame222 said...

and so well-mannered and silent, too

heh. shades of "Being There," there...