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The Deeply Closeted Racist - in your own family! - Page 2

post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

 

Also, Denmark allows dual citizenship, it does so with many countries. It is the USA that has held up on allowing dual american/danish citizenship, and many, myself included, are still waiting for the USA to allow this. My children, being born in denmark of a danish father, but also having an american mother, have dual citizenship. But myself, an american, am denied. Denmark again allows dual citizenship, but to those countries like USA that prevent it, the age you must decide is 18. I do not know or remember if the USA makes you decide at 12 or 18. 


Not to get OT but just to correct something: The U.S. does have agreements with other countries for dual citizenship. My children and I have both French and American citizenships for life. They're born in France and I'm naturalized French. There are some restrictions, like voluntarily joining a foreign military and participating in foreign governments but that depends on the countries involved but they will not have to decide anything at any age. 

 

 

 

post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post




And I find this highly racist and offensive. And also incorrect. "women back in the kitchen" is completely contradictory to danish mentality. Janteloven, equality, socialism, you know? I grew up in the southern USA, and can use that as a reference to living in Denmark, where men and women work, and are paid, equally. The men are taking off work to be with their children,making dinner, picking up the kids, doing the shopping, changing diapers - all the "stereotypical female roles" I guarantee my DH does more than his 50% in all of the above, and he is not unique by any means. 

 

I don't know what you mean by thick accent, but Danish people speak a ton of english, very well, so maybe this is something specific to your FILs voice? 

 

Also, Denmark allows dual citizenship, it does so with many countries. It is the USA that has held up on allowing dual american/danish citizenship, and many, myself included, are still waiting for the USA to allow this. My children, being born in denmark of a danish father, but also having an american mother, have dual citizenship. But myself, an american, am denied. Denmark again allows dual citizenship, but to those countries like USA that prevent it, the age you must decide is 18. I do not know or remember if the USA makes you decide at 12 or 18. 


Okay, wow. I'm sorry I've offended you. All I can think to say is that Denmark today (much like the US) must have been quite different than Denmark in the mid-1940's, when FIL grew up there, because this is the impression I get from DH's family. I've not visited Denmark myself (we can't afford it but would like to, for DS's sake). FIL and his contemporaries (according to him) did not take "off work to be with their children,making dinner, picking up the kids, doing the shopping, changing diapers." I'm glad to hear that Danish families are supported - sounds like way more parental support and equality than the US.

 

FIL did learn English, French, and German, as well as Danish, in school. That doesn't mean he can't have thick accent as well? And all I know about naturalization and citizenship is what my DH told me about his experience, which for him at age 12 was the early 80's. I guess either he's mistaken or the laws may have changed.

 

I thought it was pretty obvious that I have a lot of respect for my family's Danish heritage and that I wish we had more access to it. I was only trying to explain that I also have in-law relationship difficulties that I feel are at least partially due to different cultures. And so therefore identify with the OP and also offer another perspective on the "exotic-ness" issue.

 

I guess I've learned my lesson about forum-crashing. I'll butt out now and mind my own business. It was rude (and presumptuous) of me to think that I could offer the OP any reasonable perspective anyway. I'm sorry to you and anyone else I may have offended.

post #23 of 35

Eclipsepearl, the laws do change and all is not always easy for dual citizenship = I know a french mom living in the US who postponed getting american citizenship for more than 15 years because until recently (like 2 or 3 years ago) if a french citizen was getting an american passport, the american authorities were making him/her renounce his/her french citienzenship - this is not and has never been a requirement when you do acquire french citizenship ... but each country is free to make up their own laws regarding mixed families and who can get what citizenship

 

(my kids also have a british birth certifcate so technically are also British ... but I learned ...when getting the paperwork for my third child who has 3 birth certificates from 3 different countries, the others only have 2 ....that as parents, my children probably won't be allowed to pass on their own British citizenship to their future children because they won't be able to justify living in the UK for so many years etc .... and these children were born from married parents, the british rule for children born of an umarried british father are yet different ....)

 

=> it's much easier with paperwork if your children are born in France and you get them their american citizenship from France through you .... I know a lot of people living in the USA who haven't kept up to date with their french paper work as they married and had children (partly because for so many years, it was discouraged and frown upon in the USA to get another passport from another country) and it's now really difficult to navigate all the extra regulations each country seems to invent every now and then, especially since Id papers are loaded with more and more safety features (= the list of justificative papers needed to obtain them is getting longer & photos need to be exact milimetres count for length of face etc was told off with photos made in the US for french ID renewed from the US for an extra milimetre in my hair ) ....

 

sorry for being OT ... this subject is so upsetting to me  .... something that should be simple is made so complicated sometimes ... for reasons that seem very arbitrary ....

 

 

post #24 of 35

Oh I agree. I know too many people who have run into issues with this subject. My kids are lucky. We're near the German border so just a few miles away, those kids born there have to choose. Also, while getting my Carte de Sejour was a pain, it was just as easy to get citizenship than to renew it. They make it really easy for the foreign spouses married to French living in France. I think they encourage us to do this. 

 

I don't want to get off the subject but I just didn't want anyone to think that American citizens can't have another citizenship. That's simply not true. All the other details involved are not what is in question. Too many people think I gave up my American citizenship and I didn't, nor have to and my kids don't either, ever. 

post #25 of 35

yes, it used to be, until recently, that when someone from elsewhere would become American, that problems with paperwork could start

 

but an American becoming something else as well doesn't seem so much trouble ... what's mind boggling is that agreements between two countries don't even have to be reciprocal !!!

 

and the driving licences that can only be recognised in France from "some" US States but not all of them ... this is more than silly really

post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post

Oh I agree. I know too many people who have run into issues with this subject. My kids are lucky. We're near the German border so just a few miles away, those kids born there have to choose. Also, while getting my Carte de Sejour was a pain, it was just as easy to get citizenship than to renew it. They make it really easy for the foreign spouses married to French living in France. I think they encourage us to do this. 

 

I don't want to get off the subject but I just didn't want anyone to think that American citizens can't have another citizenship. That's simply not true. All the other details involved are not what is in question. Too many people think I gave up my American citizenship and I didn't, nor have to and my kids don't either, ever. 


I don't know what you mean by this. German children can have dual citizenship. My German/American children have both, and they will keep them for life and can pass both to their children. 

 

post #27 of 35

Patecake, your MIL sounds absolutely exhausting.  She might be a very nice person otherwise, but that is exactly the kind of conversation I just try never to have, ever.

 

I think your husband should be the one to deal with it.  Because it sounds like you having to be a part of this conversation constantly is rubbing you raw.  It would rub me raw too...  Maybe he can ask her one small favor - to not say the word "exotic" (& probably its cousin "unique") around your son because it will confuse him, or whatever excuse he thinks she will understand and be sympathetic to.  I wouldnt bring up racism at all at first because the first goal is to get her to stop saying something that is really unfortunate to be coming from a close family member.  

 

After that, he can give her some books and blogs to read and they can talk.  I have a lot more I could say about this subject but dd is having a little meltdown so must go..

post #28 of 35

It's "dances with wolves" syndrome. Most people genuinely want to embrace minorities IMO, or think they do anyway. But it's so much easier to reduce the "other" to a set of stereotypes. At least they're mostly positive, but the whole "native americans" are in touch with land and never fight" bit is a lot like Asians being smart etc.  It is a form of racism, but it sounds like your MIL wants to make it work. I love the idea of getting her to read on the subject. Good Luck

post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kindchen View Post




I don't know what you mean by this. German children can have dual citizenship. My German/American children have both, and they will keep them for life and can pass both to their children. 

 


Yeah, I'm confused, too. My DS has dual citizenship (American and Dutch). I'm American, his father is Dutch. He was born in Holland. I filed a consular report of a birth abroad and got his passport within six weeks of his birth. Easy peasy.

I've also become a naturalized Dutch citizen and could keep my American passport.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by patecake View PostBecause when she says something like telling me I'm essentially a white person, to me that is very loaded with a lot of unappealing assumptions about Chinese/Asian-American people as a group. For instance, to me, it assumes that to be eloquent in English is not an AA (Asian-American) trait. To be a creative thinker and free spirit could not possibly be in the realm of possibility for AA people. To be fashion-forward and extroverted and questioning of authority is to have somehow abandoned my racial obligations. To me, it takes on a very narrow and ignorant view of AA people, and defines stepping outside of that narrow stereotype as "being essentially white." From another angle, it also feels like she is just sweeping under the rug my whole life experience of being in America as a person of color, and all the baggage that comes along with that. So, I don't know, to me, racism has to do with having unfair prejudices about entire races of people, making unfounded assumptions about them;


I have been reading your thread and had to chime in here. My dh is black (and I am white) and he gets upset when people refer to him as being "white with black skin" for all the reasons you listed above. I completely understand why you are upset at your MIL- even though her actions and words aren't hateful (and in fact the opposite), they are still unintentionally bigoted. I also totally understand disliking the way she refers to your son as "exotic"; I hate it when people tell me my kids are so cute because "mixed kids are the cutest" etc. If they just simply say that my kids are cute, of course I love it! I just hate it when people make a point to single them out as biracial, even when it's done in what they think is a positive way.

 

post #31 of 35
Warm hugs patecake! Your MIL sounds rather annoying. Unfortunately, I think there is very little you can do to change her behavior.
My very own mother has a nack to drive all of us but especially my SIL nuts with her comments. But there is no way to get her to understand why what she said was offensive. Not for lack of trying. She just doesn't get it. We just had to learn to put a deaf ear on inappropriate comments and focus on the positives.
I know that is sometimes hard. And you chose totally the right place to vent. Anyways children are usually quite good accepting that a beloved relative is a bit odd at times. As long you give him the sense he's all right, he'll put down the 'exotic' as one of dear grandma's quirks without too much harm.
post #32 of 35
I couldn't help laughing. I know the you're of person you are describing so well! I live in a place where many consider themselves very enlightened.

I agree we need to find different words for different kinds of racism. Because while your MIL, and many others certainly have racist perspectives, it's not the same as wanting to prevent other groups of people from having equal rights our wanting to harm them. English can be quite limiting.

My grandma has a similar brand of racism. We think it's hilarious because we don't have to deal with her often and because the intentions are really good. And because it's nearly impossible to insult my husband. The one and only time she met my husband (it was maybe 9 years ago and we were still dating. I'm white as they come and my husband is half Japanese) she reached her hand out to shake his and said "God is color blind and so am I". Yup.
When I talked to her about getting married she suggested I be very sure I liked him as he was because she said "you can't change men, well I don't know about the Orientals, but you can't change American ones"
And when she dropped me off at our apartment later she asked "is it all oriental inside?". Yes grammy, it is and he only wears kimonos unless he's jumping rooftops in his ninja gear.

When her husband died, who was really abusive, and who she stayed with because she was catholic initially and later out of spite because she wanted to outlive him and inherit everything.When he died she called me and said "i'm free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I am free at last!" I do appreciate that an abusive relationship is it's own kind of oppression, but I'm just not sure MLK Jr had a rich white lady in mind when he wrote that speech.

But her intentions are good. And to be fair what can I expect from someone who hasn't had any exposure to anyone outside her lifestyle? I find that easier to deal with than those that think they are enlightened and free from prejudice but clearly aren't.

I have a friend whose mom adopts the accent of anyone she's talking to. Can you imagine a liberal white woman taking on a cheesy fake Chinese accent when ordering at a restaurant? It about kills her kids.

I get how it could be upsetting that after all these years that she still sees your Chineseness (that can be a word right?) before the person she has gotten to know. 8 years is a long time! I think everyone wants to be a person first and foremost. Perhaps you could just say to to her the next time she calls you exotic that you know she doesn't mean anything bad by it but when people say that in regard to you, you feel like...my sleepy brain can't think of a more diplomatic way of saying token. Perhaps you could phrase it like it's a pet peeve in general and not about her. Maybe that's not possible with your relationship. I think of flavor combos and items when I hear exotic, maybe you could just say you feel it's not a good word fur human beings?

And last but not least while I understand it rubs many the wrong way when people say "mixed kids are so cute", I think there are biological reasons vs just being ignorant. People are both repelled and attracted to things out of the ordinary. It's stunning to see Japanese woman with green eyes, or a child with dark skin and silky light colored curly hair. Not that all kids end up with such unique combos or all of them are healthy and attractive people but they often have healthy genes (bright eyes and facial symmetry are examples of indicators of healthy genes) and when different races produce offspring they do have often enough healthy genes because of the wider variety of combinations.
That said it bothered me when a friend went on and on about how jealous she was that my family was multi-racial and how cute my babies would be while she was going to have a plain, white family. How about of you just love your family because they are great? Seeking out a more "exotic" family just so you aren't boring and white kinda grosses me out. It's not like I don't see race but after knowing a person, whatever their external differences, don't they turn into something more dimensional?

Oh well. Good luck patecake.
post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by justgonnadoulait View Post

And last but not least while I understand it rubs many the wrong way when people say "mixed kids are so cute", I think there are biological reasons vs just being ignorant. People are both repelled and attracted to things out of the ordinary. I


Yes, and there are biological reasons for many men to stare at your breasts rather than your face.  Biological drivers do not mean that you should engage in intrusive behavior, even when that behavior is natural.  People can think what they want, but to open up their mouths and decide to share with you how exotic they think they are--no excuse. 

post #34 of 35

I'm glad I stubbled on this thread.   I have three bi-racial (white/black) children,  I also am often taken off guard by the "biracial children are so pretty" comments.   I hear this a lot, and it makes me extremely uncomfortable.  It's usually followed by a "don't you think?" and I've yet to come up with a good reply but I usually say something like "all children are beautiful".   I have to admit I'm most uncomfortable when I hear this from a black person, usually a black woman.    I think it is  way beyond being facinated by the "different" it supports the idea that black children are more "attractive"  "pretty" or "cute" when their browness is diluted.    These type of comments either support the idea of the "exotic/other" as being facinating, or as brow-ness (and I suspect also the case with asian-ness) as being less-than-ideal.   I personally don't think that these comments are neutral or complementary in any way.  I think they support the dominate euro-centric paradigm of whiteness as the "norm" and everything else as different.

post #35 of 35

I definitely agree that there is a deeply ingrained social preference for the dilution of darker races.  And I do that is racist.  For example a Japanese relative living in Japan wrote, upon seeing my daughter, "there are no babies as cute as this in Japan.  Must be the white blood."  I felt horrible for her that she thought this.  That seems pretty self hating.  On the flip side I think a lot of white people, especially younger ones glorify darker skinned cultures because they feel like their culture is so much richer, and I think that's sad too.  But in between those perspectives I think there are plenty of people that just find the wider array of variations that come from mixes races to be beautiful.  I know a few full blooded white kids (at least for as many generations back as they know of) that have skin that tans really easily, nearly black hair, and bright, bright blue eyes.  It's a striking combination and gets a lot of attention, because it's unique.  I think sometimes people are just really clumsy with their language and thoughts when they say mixed kids are so pretty.  if they mean no harm, maybe it's not worth getting upset over and instead just gently sharing your perspective.

 

 

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