Balanced Melting Pot

Archive for the ‘Race Relations’ Category

In this episode of “Kids Say the Darndest Things…”

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Race Relations on November 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm

On our way to school, my daughter was telling me about a teacher at her school and when she mentioned her name (we’ll call her Mrs. C.), I realized that there was a man at her school with the same last name. This following conversation proceeded:

Me: Are Mrs. C. and Mr. C. were related?

Her: I don’t think so.

Me: Why not? They have the same last name.

Her: Well, Mrs. C. is brown and Mr. C. is pink.

Me: Oh, okay.

Now, I have gone out of my way to keep her from using the societal labels of black or white, so everyone is either pink or some shade of brown. I was glad to see that her impressionable mind still hadn’t been tainted, but I also wanted her to know that people within the same family can be different shades; heck, even different colors.

So, the conversation ended like this:

Me: It doesn’t matter if they are different colors. They can still be family.

Her: WHAT!

Me: Yup. They can be brother and sister, cousins, or husband and wife.

Her: I don’t think they’re married.

Me: thinking *I’m not going to go there right now* Okay, well maybe they’re related in some other way.

Her: Maybe you’re right. I’m going to ask them today.

*sigh* I guess at some point I’m going to have a more in depth conversation with her about race. But until then, brown Mrs. C and pink Mr. C will have to do 😉

At what age do you think it is appropriate to explain American race relations to children?

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Misplaced Guilt

In Cultural Expectations, Culture, Immigrant Families, Questions, Race Relations, Self Image on June 8, 2009 at 11:15 am

A few weeks ago, there seemed to be an unusual burst of stories about Haitians in the news. As with most news stories, most of it was very bad stuff.

As I sifted through story after story or heard another “breaking news” interruption, this feeling of guilt kept brewing. I started to wonder if it was just me or did every Haitian feel some sort guilt when another gets caught in criminal activity. Moreover, does the Mexican, Cuban or Columbian feel the same way?

I have trying to figure out whether I am bothered that this bit of news will cast a negative light on an immigrant group that is often misunderstood, or if I have an unrealistic expectation that Haitians should never commit crimes in the US because, after all – we are guests here.

Whichever reason it is, I am now much more conscious of these feelings and want to ensure that I do not pass them on to my children. Rationally, I know that we are not even responsible for family members’ actions, much less an entire nation. However, in these instances my emotions tend to get the best of me and I  find myself cringing when I hear that the accused is from the same country as me and family.

Do you ever have feelings of guilt when immigrants from your country of origin are in trouble with the law? If not guilt, do you experience any other emotion? Do you think immigrants should hold themselves to higher standard or should it be expected the anyone can be a criminal; regardless of status?

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Is it me, or has it gotten better?

In Blog Pulse, Culture, Questions, Race Relations, Thoughts on March 2, 2009 at 11:16 am

The majority of information regarding immigrant families on the web and television usually has to do with legal status; deportation, etc. (just do a quick Google search on immigrant families). For me, most of this information has very little to do with my family while growing up or my nuclear family now.

I have always believed that real life experiences are less often written about than what the media has decided we want to hear about most. So, while there is constant talk about immigrants stealing American jobs, not learning English or getting deported, I’d like to hear more about those who are becoming successful without having to sacrifice their identities. Or, I’d like to read about parents who have figured out simple ways to keep their children connected to their country of origin, while also encouraging American patriotism.

Anyway, this also got me thinking about the overall perception of immigrants in the US. I think back to my teenage years and I feel that there has been a slight improvement on the way that I (or my heritage) am perceived. I recognize that there may be other factors to this change (i.e. lack of accent, living in a more diverse environment, etc.), but I am hopeful that people have progressed their perception of immigrants – I’m sure it helps that our president is the son of an immigrant ;-).

What do you think?

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