Is this typical of any child, or should I be concerned? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 35 Old 12-10-2008, 08:27 PM
 
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Can I join in here? I don't know what to say about what I am. No matter where I go, people stop me and ask me, "What are you?". I was always offended by their questioning, because to me, I thought I was Scottish.

After years of asking my parents about their backgrounds, my dad finally told me that I am 1/4 Native American. Hello? Why didn't he tell me before?
I spent my childhood thinking I was adopted, and even much of my adult life (perhaps all of it). This has had a profound affect on my life, yet I couldn't even identify any group of people with my looks, because no one told me who I am.

Everyone however asks me... African Americans ask if I am an albino African American. Asians ask me if I am bi-racial (half Asian/half white). One Loatian women at my daughters school put it straight out...."Are you Mix?", she said. I pondered that question for a while. She obviously meant, am I bi-racial. She was sure I was "one of her's". Growing up, other children said I was "exotic". I had no idea what they were talking about. In fact, I still don't. I have never seen myself as anything but what I was. And, I thought I was white.

What a big shock it came to me when I learned I was bi-racial. I have my mothers fair skin, her freckles, and her green eyes. Where my looks diverge are the shape of my face, shape and placement of my eyes and the angular body that I have, that no one else in my family has. My sister and I sound alike, but I really don't look like my sister or brother, and certainly don't look like my parents. My father was always told he was Scottish, or he made it up. I think the latter. He's got olive skin, and similar facial placements like me. He used to change his mind about what he was when we were young, and as we asked more questions, he decided that he was actually ONLY Scottish. I feel like I am pouring this out. Sorry if I am hijacking...not my intention. It's hard to form these words because, I'm 44, and just now finding this out!

So, the reason I am posting about this subject is, all of my life I thought I was white. However, everyone noticed the difference between me and the other girls. I always wanted straight hair. I always wanted blue eyes. I wanted blond hair ect. I thought I wasn't pretty, even though everyone talked about my looks, commented on how unique I looked, and how exotic I was. The African American girls literally flocked around me, and loved doing my hair. I had dark blond hair. Not the light blond I wanted. But I had wavy/curly hair, very long and coarse. In ways it is similar to African American hair, and in ways similar to Scottish hair...very wirey hair.

All I can say is, I identify with some of the things I am reading here. And, I have three children from India, and I have an Indian first and last name, so people often think I am an albino from india!!! My looks garnish the curiosity from strangers, and I think that did a number on my self esteem. I didn't know of any child in my school, or in my entire childhood who seemed to get so much attention on her looks like I did, and at that, no one said "pretty". Just unique and exotic.

So, with my daughters, who are now also having the same insecurities, even though they are not bi-racial. I spend alot of time showing them pictures of girls like them, taking them to India cultural events, taking them to temple, and I volunteer in the Indian community also, so we have a very big dose of Indian (india) culture in their lives on a consistant basis. We have books, dolls, videos and much more that continually uplift their knowing who they are. I can give that to them, something I didn't get as a child.

Anyway, this was very long, but it is the first time I have every mentioned my cultural background to a large group. I've told some friends, and they all immediately say, "That's it!". I feel a bit like a science experiment, where the creator of my being got confused and didn't make me the right way. Maybe that is how our daughters are feeling?

Jyotsna

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#32 of 35 Old 12-10-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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Jyotsna --- thank you so much for sharing that. I looked at your blog and your pictures. You are beautiful. I can relate to your story in a different way, because my mom was untruthful about my paternity for many years, until I found out the truth when I was in my 20's. She still doesn't like to talk about it - it's as if it's "unspeakable", which makes part of me, and my history "unspeakable". It does a number on you. Anyway, my race wasn't in question, but I still don't know my (white) ethnic background or much of anything about my biological father and his family. It has affected my identity all through my life -- having that one side of myself denied and whispered about. I knew I came from a different father -- she just lied about who he was. I had a step father all of my life who adopted me when he married my mom so that I could have his last name. He never loved me as much as he loved his own children, which they had when I was about 10 years old. To me, it's almost similar to having some sort of "twin" that was separated from you -- to be cut off and separated from knowing my paternal side. So, in a certain way, I can really related to your story because the feelings are similar to what I've felt all of my life. It's that missing piece. That mystery. That "unspoken-ness". (((((hugs)))))
With my own children, I fear that they will have a sort of confusion about their Asian side, because my husband is Korean and he's not really very interested in his ethnicity, and he doesn't teach them anything about it, really. I think HE feels uncomfortable about it. And, because children internalize their parents' feelings and attitudes, I'm afraid of how my children's ethnic identities are forming. They are a mix of Korean and English/Scottish in culture, and they do look very Hapa.
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#33 of 35 Old 12-11-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jyotsna View Post
Can I join in here? I don't know what to say about what I am. No matter where I go, people stop me and ask me, "What are you?". I was always offended by their questioning, because to me, I thought I was Scottish.
....
Anyway, this was very long, but it is the first time I have every mentioned my cultural background to a large group. I've told some friends, and they all immediately say, "That's it!". I feel a bit like a science experiment, where the creator of my being got confused and didn't make me the right way. Maybe that is how our daughters are feeling?
Jyotsna
I know kind of how you feel, Jyotsna. I was adopted into a "completely white" family, but all through my childhood, people would make comments, or ask questions about, my looking Asian. My parents were always evasive/dismissive in these situations. So, I assumed that I was a white kid who happened to look Asian-ish.

The funny thing is, when I was a kid, I really wanted to be Asian (and Jewish ).

When I was a young adult, I was constantly compared to a half Asian, half European actress who was hot at the time. A few years later, I worked in a public service job with a woman my age, who was half white, half Chinese. Customers repeatedly mixed us up.

I still don't know "what I am," and likely never will. My kids are blindingly white, though, with blue eyes, so I guess they'll never face the same issues as Mizelenius' dd.
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#34 of 35 Old 12-12-2008, 05:36 AM
 
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it saddens me to hear this. i hate it when kids feel bad because they don't blend into the mainstream. even though as stated your husband doesn't have the interest in the study of korean culture, i am afraid to say that it can't be the elephant in the room. someone is going to have to explain to her where part of her heritage lies even though it may very well be uncomfortable.

i also agree that you have to find creative ways to reinforce the beauty that kids have right where they are, so that they can start to see themselves as worthwhile. it is not an easy road ahead, but definitely a worthwhile one.

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#35 of 35 Old 12-12-2008, 06:25 AM
 
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I haven't read all of the replies yet, just wanted to add my 2 cents. 4 of my Dc are Black/White. My youngest DD gets her hair braided and never haad an issue. Now that she's started school, she doesn't like her braids. Someone in her class made a comment about her braids, so it stems from that. The same thing happened to my oldest DD a little over a year ago. I called the teacher and she had a talk with the students about people having differences. My youngest DD has a parents teacher conference coming up and I'll have a talk with her teacher.
My oldest DD loves blonde hair(she has redish brown) and fair skin, but she was like this before she started school.
My guess is that someone has made a comment about or to your DD. I'm guessing that this is not the first time that your DD has been around non Asian children?? This is why I say that someone has made a comment.
DH and I have talked to my youngest DD and tried to give her confidence, it helped a little. We've pointed out that everyone is different in some way and that God created us the way that he wanted us to be.
I hope that your DD gets through this period and grows up loving being Korean.

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