Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 04:52 pm
that WAS my knee jerk reaction, but sprinkle some unnecessary anger ontop of that. My first assumption was that someone was possibly subjecting her to racisim. Then I realized that kids always see the obvious.
I drop her off and we look nothing alike.
Add on some bright blond hair in a curly short mop, makeup and some wild clothes, and Jillians mom stands out. So it becomes even MORE obvious we dont look alike.

Im assuming that these questions are innocent and until I see otherwise I will stay with that idea.
But I am also going to talk to her teachers tomorrow to. Maybe other parents have had the same question/issue in their own home? Maybe this is just the new day care hot topic............. like poop was last week..............Laughing
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Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 05:25 pm
Yikes, what a complicated situation!
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Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 05:44 pm
sozobe wrote:

That's a great point. I had a similar thought but a different direction -- I don't know where things are right now with you and the mister, and how much the Bean knows about that.

So far, we have not approached that subject with her at all.
We are not 'dividing things up' so there is nothing obvious going on in front of her. We are very peaceful with each other and still friends........... but we are on a.. 6 month trial /thinggy. But I wont go into too much detail about that now.
I would be comfortable in saying that issue should not be where this question stems from, nor should she be feeling odd about it yet.

I could be wrong, but I dont think so.
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Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 05:46 pm
Im not doing too well with this 'questioning' thing.

She said something just a little while ago about being white.
I asked her " why is it important to be white?"
She said "it is. "
She then went into showing me how her skin is white.

So I pulled the 'taupe' line on her. She just started laughing and said skin isnt taupe. its white.
I said " my skin isnt white. In fact my skin is really dark brown. Its pretty awesome. My eyes are dark brown too look!"
She said " My eyes are green right? not blue?"
we went through this.. my body is this, my body is that.. how cool your body is look what it can do.. my body is cool because.. blah blah blah blah.
Finally at the end of it, I asked again " why do you want to be just white?"
and she got mad.
So I stopped.
Diest TKO
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:09 pm
As a a person of mixed race, I can testify that finding one's identity is a big challenge. I might only hope that at one point your child will come to embrace her uniqueness and perhaps liberate themselves from the cultural expectations of either group.

It's hard, but it will make them strong. Sounds like they have a pair of loving parents ready to embrace them.

Okay, back to taking a break.
ebrown p
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:16 pm
@Diest TKO,
My family is direct almost to the point of crass. We deal with these kinds of things with humor.

My sons have had to deal with issues of race including being followed in stores (which can be quite upsetting to a teenage boy).

They deal with this by joking. They will go on about how stupid "Gringos" are... a term which in our house means anything uncool, backwards or otherwise undesirable. As I am the palest of the family I rant about how I am the one who faces true racism and the whole thing is a crass joke... but it is the joking that helps us all deal with these touchy issues. It is a good way to deal with something that is upsetting without becoming an angry person.

My wife is darker then our daughter and has more then once had people assume she is the babysitter... All you can do with these things is laugh.

My three-year-old daughter has recently been bitten by the Disney princess bug... and it is a bit difficult to get her to veer from the stereotypical pale superthin princess.

So we make it part of the family joking. Princess Ariel is sad because she doesn't speak two languages (and we need to give her a sandwich). And of course, the family has the inevitable discussions about whether Cinderella is Gringa.

My suggestion is to take it slow... it is a discussion that you can have over a long time. Expose her to lots of examples of different people living different lives and talk a lot about the issues that are important to you.

The most important thing is to not shy away from these things... but to keep talking.

And a little humor doesn't hurt.
ebrown p
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:41 pm
@ebrown p,
I was also thinking... there are lots of great books that feature Native American, African-American, German and Irish characters ideas and cultures.

My daughter loves folk tales which are a great way to talk about all kinds of things in a comfortable (not so personal) way-- she asks lots of questions about the things that interest her. Our new favorite book includes an old tale of betrothal from Italy which led to discussions from Catholic priests (she has no exposure to the Catholic religion) to more understand of what being married means. I love these chances to pass values and expose to culture.
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:45 pm
Back to the basics.

I hunt with three other people. One of them is of mixed race. He's the best hunter of the crew.

I mention this because you should put Jillian into the ASP (Archery in Schools Program). One of the finest extracurricular programs going and nobody cares what you look like. Can you shoot a sharp stick? Happy fall!
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:51 pm
uh.... because you have a friend who is of mixed race who is good at shooting, so than must bean be?
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:55 pm

The ASP is an excellent confidence builder for anyone. And it's fun. My kids never had access to it so we found other ways. I'm sure sw can find it in Texas.

Sports transcend race - no matter what you choose. Are you such a racist that you think I should have suggested something, perhaps, "race appropriate" like hoops or track? Gimme a break.

I'm just promoting what I enjoy.
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:56 pm
@ebrown p,
Your household sounds like mine.

I constantly make the 'mammie' jokes, wear do rags for fun and other wise fall over dramatically because whitey holds me down ( daddy )
As adults we have a lot of fun with the differences. My friends are the same way. I can throw out a rather disgusting joke about blacks, being black or my own black skin and everyone loves it.

We have a few people who come over alot. One is a woman from Scotland whos son is also my daughters best friend.
Heavy accent, round hips, tall, dark eyes... not really different looking, but if you are paying attention , she is physically different then a lot of people. Jillian thinks she is beautiful. I do too actually.
Then there is Jane, a rather deep texas woman.
Accent, short, very thin, also really pretty.
Our neighbors, who are a spanish + white couple.
And I have a group of women friends who are all black. All sizes, shapes , ages.. and she loves them all.

We often talk about peoples color. I used skin color in fact to explain how important sun screen is. I explained that just like toast, peoples skin can get darker if they burn in the sun. And the safest way to stop that is to use sun screen. THAT.. well.. that started a really cool conversation of how many colors there are of people.

SO we talk about color, race, skin, different parts of the world with different people..
Just never in such a definitive way.
And the restraint in this situation does not belong to her. It belongs to me. And that is only because I dont want to say the wrong thing, and I definitely dont want to hand her the stress and discomfort I have held on to for years.
Ask me how to be upset and uncomfortable with your race.. I can answer that question . Very well. That is where my best experience is.

Ask me now, how and why my race doesnt seem to matter to me any more and why I am begining to get a bit of pride about it?
Dont know what to tell you.

I have always been proud of the Native American side of me.
African american? Not so much..

So I have to try to answer these questions, wether they are just innocent observations, angry racist comments, or just confused feelings from a stand point that I dont have a lot of experience in..

I will survive......OHHHH as long as I know how to love i know I will stay alive...
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:57 pm
Can you steer her towards shades, rather than white and black - it seems you are already. Using darker and lighter might sort of discharge the whole WHITE BLACK thing..... maybe....? I'm not at all familiar with this stuff. I really like the suggestions to ask WHY it's important.

Can you discuss with her school where this is all coming from? Have they over-heard any comments? Can you invite friends over for playdates and kind of listen in while out of sight?

My little nephew if half Korean and I'd like to absorb some insight.
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Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:59 pm
cjhsa wrote:

Sports transcend race - no matter what you choose.

I agree.
Young people LOVE games, competition, racing, playing, you name it.

Hopefully this question of hers is not a sign of a life long issue with who she is.
But if it is, you can bet your bottom dollar I will have her in a few activities that are not part of the school. The more people she will be around, the better she will feel about herself.

but Im hoping Im just over reacting to a simple question...
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Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 07:38 pm
this whole 'what are you' thing was recently on my latest addiction, 85,000 children (aka jon and kate + 8). The younger kids were debating who in the family is Asian and who isn't. The younger kids are sextuplets - they decided 5 are Asian and 1 isn't. No mixed option.

I recall when little Elizabeth went through this as well. Mixed wasn't an option for her either. It was either white or not white. She eventually 'got' mixed when she was 7 or 8.


Your daughter's heritage is going to be an ongoing discussion in your home - you may not want it to be a battleground to lay your life down for this week.


A question from a slightly different angle - is it a problem for you if your daughter self-identifies as white - now or ever?


The road trip. I'd be surprised if she didn't have some kind of reaction to the trip without dad.

When my mother and I went to Germany, without hamburger, when I was 4, I was positively vicious to any man (including relatives) who paid any attention to mrs. hamburger. I wanted hamburger there and that was that. Kicked my uncle in the seat of the pants when he danced with mrs. hamburger Evil or Very Mad

ebrown p
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:13 am
I was thinking about how to make this into a game...

"Today I am green!"
"No, I am not black anymore. I have decided that now I am Green".
"Your not green"
"No ... Look" [show skin] "I am as green as a lime!"
"Green people are the best, most beautiful people... I have to be green. I'm glad I didn't decide to be purple-- purple people are soooo annoying".

Why not play along? If she gets to choose her color, you can too. This is a way to communicate that you think it is silly as part of a game.

The next day I might decide to be purple "What was I thinking being green!".

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Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:26 am
ehBeth wrote:
A question from a slightly different angle - is it a problem for you if your daughter self-identifies as white - now or ever?

Not at all. In fact, I have thought about.... on many occasions.. how to give her confidence when telling people her mother is black.
Have you seen a photo of her lately? There is nothing about her that looks black.
Not . a. thing.
In fact, if this question of hers is just from some other childs observation.. it is the most justified question I could ever think of for a kid to ask.

(Im sorry, I no longer know how to hotlink.. so here are basic links.


Im a bit darker then that photo. I was under a lot of studio lighting so add about a shade or two of brown . Side by side, her and I do look alike, but it is obvious she is does not look black..... at all.

If she were to want to embrace being black, she would have a real hard time convincing kids with out me right next to her. Our skin tones are that different.
I fully expect her ...... well.. .. let me not say that because that in turn means I will behave as such..
I will be surprised if she does NOT go through her life just associating herself with being white and not making a big deal about being part black as well. There. That sounds better.
But, we shall see.
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:36 am
I really agree with points that have been made that it's a process... can't usually nail it all down in one session.

I think continuing with "why?" when it comes up again can accomplish two things though -- first, maybe getting a response out of her, and second, a more meta-message about questioning whether it's preferable to be white. Not just letting that ride as an assumption. Ya know?
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:39 am
I absolutely agree.
I tried to get an answer as to why yesterday.. I think my wording and my timing were just off. Maybe, when she asks closer to the time she is in daycare, the reason my be 'fresh' in her mind.
When she asks, and it seems to be an important question, is usually right -after- or just before we go to daycare.

I am still going to ask her teachers today as well. Just in case this is something other families are asking about too.. OR.. if they know the origin of the question ( silly game ? Silly song? class lessons? Book?)
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:40 am
Good idea. May be some helpful background that you can get from a teacher...
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Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:48 am
We've had good results using puppets/dolls/toys. Basically you just pick up a toy and make it have the same worry or concern that Bean has, and let her talk to the toy.

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