Originally Posted by bk_hope_2_b_mama
It's especially helpful to think about how to talk to a young person about this as it comes up in her life. I'm sure it's an issue that I'll continue to think about - and will have to be willing to examine my own assumptions as a person who has never experienced (for most of my life) anything but being part of the dominant culture.
I really hope folks consider the input of those who have been considered particularly "sexy", etc, because I think it's worth thinking about what that means to our future teenager daughters.
I'm really glad you started this thread, OP - I think it's great to be able to talk about racial identity in such an open manner.
Just to add another (possible) complication to the matter - some of my real life friends are very proud of their various heritages, and it would be considered almost an insult not to acknowledge such an important part of their identities, including their physical appearance, mixed or otherwise. My very limited understanding is that there have been cultures in history that have been basically wiped out of existence through forced homogenization with their respective dominant cultures. Yet, another twist, not everyone with the same background even agree what the ideal scenario is in terms of how others should regard their background.
Bottomline is for some, it's upsetting if people do - not - acknowledge or mention their background. For some others, they get upset if people - do - acknowledge it or mention it. And those with the same background don't even necessarily have the same preference ...
Please let me throw yet another wrench into the discussion ... traveling abroad ... especially to places where the society is not as diverse as here in the US. The curious looks, stares, and questions. Some might consider their responses/reactions to be blatantly racist by most here in the US though they're most likely acceptable from the prism of the local culture.
That's one of the thing, in my mind at least - I imagine that when my kids grow up, the world will be even more global than it already is. Our children may have very different kind of racial/ethnic identity - I'm not thinking of different extent but actually different view of what that identity means ... I hope it'll be more fluid if it exists at all. My hope is that it'll just be one part of their identity, that they'll have many more lenses to use to interpret their lives. I'm hoping that their background will matter even less because by that time hopefully almost everyone they know, in real life, or online (can you imagine twitter/facebook 20 yrs from now) - will be very diverse, exotic, just as much as they are.
Honestly, I doubt that racism will die by the time our children grow up - I guess my point is that (I'm hoping at least) by then, our children will have access to an even bigger world, even more diverse community, that perhaps that prejudice won't affect them as much. But then again, perhaps it'll become worse - who knows.
I guess my point is I'm not sure there's a one-size-fits-all approach that will make everyone happy. My hope is that in the future it won't even matter because hopefully our children will feel like they're part of the global world as opposed to some particular ethnic/racial group, or even some nationality. I may be overly optimistic - but hey one can always dream ... or just dream on, as some might say ...
Edited by MamaMunchkin - 4/22/11 at 6:20pm