Originally Posted by Mahtob
"Actually, I have had a lot of great conversations start up that way. "
With all due respect... these conversations go on at the expense of the exotic breed being analyzed.
: I for one get pretty damn tired explaining my family history and genetic makeup to everyone I meet. But when people at work or at a social function ask I have to be polite and answer question after question after question smiling, so as not to alienate people with whom I need to socialize later.
For THEM it's interesting, and they might even walk away thinking that because I was not rude to them, that it was for me, too. No. For ME it's boring, tedious, and slightly insulting. The one thing that they find most interesting about me is the thing I had the least say in. If I were white or black, you would ask about my work. Because I'm not, you ask about my ancestors.
Maybe that wasn't the case in the conversations you had. Maybe it was. If you are a monoracial parent, perhaps for you your kid's heritage is fascinating. Beware- it might not be for the kid.
Again, it's not so much about intolerance for me as it is pure rudeness and insensitivity.
Don't misread me. I said that I thought the teacher's question was insensitive, too. And, what I said is that I am biracial, so I am speaking from my experience of people asking me about my race and not just about my child. (Actually, my baby looks like me, so I haven't faced the sort of ? the op did.)
My point was that sometimes there are positives to talking about race and my family. I'm not saying it is the conversation that I want to have or the first thing that I want noticed about me, but asking sometimes indicates genuine interest in wanting to learn about me or my background and sometimes it provides a window to broaden someone's horizons. I can see this for what it is. This can be annoying b/c it is not my job to teach about race, and as you said it is at the expense of highlighting my difference. However, there can be a greater good to having that conversation. Or, I'll find I learn something in the exchange about the other person (like that person has a spouse of a different race and is thinking about what it means to have multiracial children). Someone last week asked me, but she asked because she was an immigrant and wanted to know about my family's experience in America. That qualified as an interesting conversation. So to address your point, sometimes I get tired of it, but I'm willing to find the value in it.
But again, I'm talking just about my experiences which are not like op's. I'm a grown woman, so I feel comfortable addressing these questions and working through the awkward or uncomfortable bits...I wouldn't want anyone to put a question like the op's to my young child though. I would worry that a teacher that has the insensitivity to ask in that weird way and in that context might ask my child inappropriate questions.
On a lighter note, I find that people try and get to finding out my heritage by asking me where I was born (even when I was little this was the mo) or where I am from. Knowing what they were really trying to get to, sometimes I just say "Indiana".