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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you handle that? What responses do you have? I feel like I need some automated responses.<br><br>
"where did you get your eyes?" Is what we got yesterday. 3X from the same guy, asking my toddler directly. Obviously my son will need to have some auto-responses as well. I'm thinking "where did you get yours?"
 

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<p>3x from the same person, maybe this was a person who had a developmental disability or simply lacked social awareness? </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Personally, I would just answer with "They get their gorgeous eyes from their daddy!" and let it be. </p>
 

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<p>Oh gosh!!!! I had this all the time growing up (I'm SA, but have green eyes)-- definitely work with your kid on how to respond. I actually considered getting colored contacts to 'fit in' for a bit in high school. I still don't know what to say-- no one in my family has green eyes (siblings, parents,grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins etc).</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>cappuccinosmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16161952"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>3x from the same person, maybe this was a person who had a developmental disability or simply lacked social awareness? </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Personally, I would just answer with "They get their gorgeous eyes from their daddy!" and let it be. </p>
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<p><br><span><img alt="yeahthat.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yeahthat.gif"></span></p>
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<p><span>My kid is by no means multicultural but he gets this same question all the time.  I just tell people the above...from their gorgeous daddy.  Nobody ever asks when DH is with us because the answer is pretty clear I guess.  But I hear you that it becomes annoying when too many people comment on what your kid looks like and nothing else.</span></p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I dunno. He seemed like a perfectly capable adult, probably in his 60s. Could carry on a conversation just fine. Had a car in the parking lot, etc.<br><br>
Lacking social awareness? Likely. Apparently.<br><br>
We live in a pretty homogenous area. Mostly white. Kind of rural, ex-burb. DS is already not really fitting with his "peer group" because he's kind of advanced. I fear that between that and not quite looking fully Asian or fully white he's going to be getting a lot of veiled "what are you" questions. Add in the fact that at 20 months he acts like a 3 year old, and he sticks out like a sore thumb.<br><br>
A friend suggested as DS grows I tell him to respond "I get my eyes and my dislike of rudeness from my dad"<br><br>
 

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<p>I don't think its that rude of a question, my ds gets it ALL the time when he's with either me or his dad.  Not multicultural, but his color is like his dad, and the shape is like mine, and his eyes are gorgeous.  I would take it as a compliment and respond with a "oh, from his dad, thanks!"  (or from mom, or grandma, or whoever he looks most like.  Or if they don't look like anyone in the family, just say they are all his own and aren't they cute?)</p>
 

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<p>Yeah, when I get asked that, it always seems to be a veiled "what is she" question.  DD is Asian and white, and I'm usually carrying her around without DH (the Asian one).  I think that by looking at DD, it's kind of hard to figure out her ethnic makeup.  We live in NYC (so hardly homogenous) but people here are still very curious about ethnicity. </p>
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<p>If I'm in a good mood, I say "she gets those pretty eyes from her Daddy" but if I want to play with them a little bit, I answer that she gets them from me.  <span><img alt="winky.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p>My son looks nothing like us color wise.  Why people need to comment on this I will never understand.  Depending on my mood and their tone I will sometimes say "The Milkman" and leave it at that.</p>
<p><br>
If they are nice and seem truly interested I'll answer honestly.</p>
 

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<p>IMO, most people ask questions (about all sorts of things) because they are trying to fit "something new" into their reality thus far, or re-shape their "reality" when something new is presented.  I think it's normal human behavior, and rarely *intentionally* rude or hurtful.</p>
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<p>If someone offers me the opportunity to present them with a new thought or concept and broaden their view of the world, I'll take it.  And I like to do it with kindness because I think that's more likely to be heard than snark.  It is tempting for me to get up in arms about someone's attitude, very tempting sometimes.  But I learned so long ago that I need to be careful about assuming people's motives and responding based on the assumption.</p>
 

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<p>Oh, questions like <em>that</em>.  *sigh* </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I was raised that it's rude to talk about people's looks (and wikipedia agrees with me: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etiquette_in_North_America" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etiquette_in_North_America</a>).  Feeling like it's okay to ask questions like this I think stems from deeply seated culturally unconscious beliefs about who owns genealogical information.  It is an unconscious rehearsal of the historical power structures of our country.  I do agree that it's rarely a conscious attempt to be hurtful.</p>
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<p>That's my feeling.  I've had a lifetime of these questions, and had a lot of time to read, ponder, and talk with others.  But in the end it's just my feeling.  I think what's good about this perspective is it does allow me to look at a person's question in context and not take it personally.  We all act out of our own sociocultural context.</p>
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<p>Anyhow, just like with any rude question, I think it's perfectly alright to be firm about your boundaries and only answer what you want to.  I also think that it most cases, it's preferable (for one's own heart) to be kind in setting these boundaries.  Being vague and changing the subject ("Oh he has lovely eyes, doesn't he.  My look at the weather!") is a good tool because then the person can't go back to that topic without feeling a little rude themselves.  But I think there are times when it's also perfectly okay to just smile and walk away.  I do that if it seems like a person is about to get aggressive.  Sounds unbelievable, but it's happened to me.  And yes, there's even a case for anger.  But these days I don't have time for anger.  I hope I'll be able to help my daughter with these skills as she gets quite a few comments as is (skin/eyes/"exotic looks" - baaarfff).  Gracefully changing the subject is a wonderful life skill for any kid.  I don't want her to feel like a teachable moment for any curious stranger unless she wants to be.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the help & replies. It doesn't help that I am by nature sarcastic and defense. Time for me to grow some more. Or at least learn to pretend to calm and not affronted.<br><br>
I have noticed several things in discussing this here & IRL with people I know: my "white" friends/people/comments think I out of line for being bothered by this. DH (asian) was pissed at the guy when I told him about it. The people who have mixed asian families or are mixed themselves seem to share my concern. As with all generalizations, there are exceptions. But it's interesting to me that these groups of responses Fell the way they did. Very interesting.<br><br>
And I've realized how very isolated I feel. At times anyway.
 

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<p>well, am white and my children are too .... still, was never so put out as during the first few months after having my first child ... as in <span style="text-decoration:underline;">every day</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">for a good six monthat least</span> a random stranger would comment on my child's blue eyes; I found it so rude to make comment about that , + it seems to imply something negative about people who don't have blue eyes (neither parents have by the way, only the 2 grand fathers), I was trying to remain polite about it since it was always someone different talking about it (it was "new" for them, not for me !!!) but I was privately thinking that most people have very poor imagination or conversation skills to have to comment on the same subject always ....</p>
<p>on the other hand it was nice to receive positive attention as a new mom ...</p>
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<p>with child number 3 it was at a later stage but consistently in both countries (we moved in the middle of that period) for about 3 and half months, several times a week we would get questions or more like people wanted confirmation that the baby was a boy (even when she was dressed in pink top to bottom); that was quite baffling actually, especially on the day when an elderly couple retraced their steps and made the whole family stop in their track to triple check us since apparently my last child (a girl) was the spitting image of their grandson living miles away ...very sparse hair, I concede, but still ...</p>
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<p>I think most people like the world around them to ... sort of fit with what they expect or know</p>
<p>so when it doesn't, they have to comment ....</p>
<p>we can't choose how we are born ... so to me, commenting on someone's physical features is "unfair" !</p>
<p> </p>
 

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<p>I think that it is absolutely rude and uncool for people to ask those "What are you" or "Where are you from" questions. I had to explain over and over to my daughter that she was not adopted because people kept asking me that in front of her. When she started school, she came home several times asking me why people thought she came from a different country. Since then, I don't even try to polite with people like that. I don't care of their intentions are good, I will not let anyone practice their subtle racism on my kids.</p>
 

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<p>I have to say, I always try to err on the side of 'probably not trying to be rude, just interested'. My older son looks just like me but has his dad's olive skin color (I'm very pale). It really is just gorgeous, and he gets comments on it from time to time (a lot less now than before he was verbal - now people rarely need to look for a topic of conversation when he's around, because he talks their ear off ;)). Anyway, I usually just tell them he got it from his dad, isn't he lucky, and leave it at that. If I'm feeling sassy, I'll say he got his looks from his dad and his skin color from me, and it always gets a laugh and then we move on. Not a big deal. When DS has noticed people asking, he loves to tell them all about how his dad is Arab and tell them about his tayta in the Middle East, and on and on. For him it is a fun chance to teach people about that half of his culture.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Interestingly, person who comments on it most consistently is my Indian friend. She likes to joke that she could claim him for one of her nephews and no one would be the wiser. It isn't mean spirited at all, so it doesn't bother me.</p>
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<p><span>Quote:</span></p>
<div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Super~Single~Mama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16162130"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I don't think its that rude of a question, my ds gets it ALL the time when he's with either me or his dad.  Not multicultural, but his color is like his dad, and the shape is like mine, and his eyes are gorgeous.  I would take it as a compliment and respond with a "oh, from his dad, thanks!"  (or from mom, or grandma, or whoever he looks most like.  Or if they don't look like anyone in the family, just say they are all his own and aren't they cute?)</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>soso-lynn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16176392"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div class="quote-block">I had to explain over and over to my daughter that she was not adopted because people kept asking me that in front of her. When she started school, she came home several times asking me why people thought she came from a different country.</div>
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<p><span><img alt="dizzy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/dizzy.gif"></span></p>
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<p>One of the worse aspects, to me, is that when people ask questions like that, they are thinking only of how it makes themselves feel (curious, connected, included/inclusive, sophisticated, tolerant, knowledgeable, broad-minded) and rarely if ever about how it might make the person they are asking feel (uncomfortable, exposed, annoyed, interrupted, confused, or so on).  Or they are thinking about how much they would like it if people would ask them that question, but not giving any thought to the idea that not everyone is the same way.  It's a very lack of the ability to put themselves in another's shoes.</p>
 

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<p>Yeah, exactly.  You know, my relatives (who are white) don't get at all why it can be rude to ask about someone's ethnicity.  They say, "What's the problem?  They just want to get to know you!"  I wouldn't mind if someone who really was getting to know me asked about DD's ethnicity (although who knows if she'll mind or not when she's old enough to understand).  But it's not new friends who are asking me, it's strangers who just want to indulge their curiosity.  DD's ethnicity is not public property--it's hers to tell or not tell.  I also think there are different connotations to a white baby being asked "where did you get those eyes" to a baby of color being asked the same question.  With a baby of color, there's other layers to the question...subtle racism and "other"fying (is that a word?) are playing in.<br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>cyclamen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16177493"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>soso-lynn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16176392"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div class="quote-block">I had to explain over and over to my daughter that she was not adopted because people kept asking me that in front of her. When she started school, she came home several times asking me why people thought she came from a different country.</div>
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<p> </p>
<p><span><img alt="dizzy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/dizzy.gif"></span></p>
<p> </p>
<p>One of the worse aspects, to me, is that when people ask questions like that, they are thinking only of how it makes themselves feel (curious, connected, included/inclusive, sophisticated, tolerant, knowledgeable, broad-minded) and rarely if ever about how it might make the person they are asking feel (uncomfortable, exposed, annoyed, interrupted, confused, or so on).  Or they are thinking about how much they would like it if people would ask them that question, but not giving any thought to the idea that not everyone is the same way.  It's a very lack of the ability to put themselves in another's shoes.</p>
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<p><br>
Absolutely agree. (Oh and the word is Othering)</p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GoGoGirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16178108"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Yeah, exactly.  You know, my relatives (who are white) don't get at all why it can be rude to ask about someone's ethnicity.  They say, "What's the problem?  They just want to get to know you!"  I wouldn't mind if someone who really was getting to know me asked about DD's ethnicity (although who knows if she'll mind or not when she's old enough to understand).  But it's not new friends who are asking me, it's strangers who just want to indulge their curiosity.  DD's ethnicity is not public property--it's hers to tell or not tell.  I also think there are different connotations to a white baby being asked "where did you get those eyes" to a baby of color being asked the same question.  With a baby of color, there's other layers to the question...subtle racism and "other"fying (is that a word?) are playing in.<br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>cyclamen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16177493"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>soso-lynn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16176392"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div class="quote-block">I had to explain over and over to my daughter that she was not adopted because people kept asking me that in front of her. When she started school, she came home several times asking me why people thought she came from a different country.</div>
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<p> </p>
<p><span><img alt="dizzy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/dizzy.gif"></span></p>
<p> </p>
<p>One of the worse aspects, to me, is that when people ask questions like that, they are thinking only of how it makes themselves feel (curious, connected, included/inclusive, sophisticated, tolerant, knowledgeable, broad-minded) and rarely if ever about how it might make the person they are asking feel (uncomfortable, exposed, annoyed, interrupted, confused, or so on).  Or they are thinking about how much they would like it if people would ask them that question, but not giving any thought to the idea that not everyone is the same way.  It's a very lack of the ability to put themselves in another's shoes.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GoGoGirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289426/rude-questions-about-eyes-from-strangers#post_16170051"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Yeah, when I get asked that, it always seems to be a veiled "what is she" question. </p>
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<br><br><p>Ah... I see! I wasn't sure why we were upset. I'm bummed you ladies with multicultural families get this question loaded. What a shame. We live in a pretty evenly split black/white community. So I guess it's not something I have to see much. I am very lucky in that regard :)  I saw this on the main page and we get this question a lot too. DS and I have blue wrapped in blue eyes. I have had more people than I can count ask/assume I wear colored contacts.</p>
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<p>I just smile and say thank you when they comment :)</p>
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<p>And I thought there were going to be pictures of pretty baby eyes. I am disappointed. <span><img alt="shake.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/shake.gif"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span></span></p>
 

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<p>Cute baby, Kriket!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>And sosolynn, Othering!  Thank you!  It's been a long time since college.  <span><img alt="winky.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p>What about "she got them for her birthday"? </p>
 
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