Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Racism - and other ways to be a complete idiot

I got to chat this morning with another adoptive mom. They are also a transracial family (meaning their family is a blend of races). We were discussing the bigotry (or simply lack of knowledge) we've found in people, just by becoming a minority family.

Rarely am I offended, but mostly I'm entertained by it from time to time.

I thought it would be fun to blog some of the things I've had said to me, or that have been said to others, in reference to race or other differences.

If you can't beat 'em ... you might as well chuckle!

My husband was dragging around our first picture, and first look, at the baby we would be adopting. One woman commented,
"Oh, well she doesn't look too black!"
To which my husband replied,

"Well, this picture doesn't do her justice. She's REALLY black!"

I comment to a family member about my two-year-old,

"She is so sneaky. She's way too smart for her own good!"
The reply?

"I'm just so glad she's going to be smart!"

"Where is she from?"
We get that one ALL the time. It's considered chic to adopt internationally. For some reason it's only cool to have a child of color if they're from somewhere that requires a passport. We love our very upscale answer ...
"Waco, Texas."

Another comment:
"At least she'll learn how to talk right."
My reply?
"You mean 'correctly' ... talk 'correctly."

"Why a BLACK baby?"
I always reply,
"Why do you ask?"
Funny .. we never make it back around to the original question. It's a lot of fun, if you've never actually heard someone say,
"Uh, duh, erm, hmmm, uhhhhhhhh."

Said to me,
"So-and-so's are moving to a different neighborhood, because there are so many blacks moving in."
OHHHHHH, there were just so many things to say back! My brain and sarcasm went into overdrive, but alas, I quipped,
"What? They're selling drugs on the corner? Prostituting by the fire hydrants?"
"No, stop it. You know what I mean. That certain TYPE of black."
Again ... brain into overdrive. However, I had to keep my tacky come-back's to myself and talk about this one for awhile ... nicely (I just hate that!).

"You must be babysitting today."
An understandable assumption,
"No, they're all mine."
When what I really want to say is,
"No, my family has been blessed by birth and extramarital affairs."

"You mean, they let you DO that?"
Referring to my skin type adopting her skin type. I know what they mean, but playing dumb is so much fun.
"What? Adopt a child? Suuuure. It has been going on for quite some time now."


Vegan Momma said...

I had to laugh at those.

I have received.

Random people
You do not talk like a regular black person
My response
How does a regular black person talk?

Freshman year in college

Guy I did not know
So how does it feel being surrounded by people like me (Caucasians) are you uncomfortable.
My response
Well I grew up in a predominantly white area and went to private schools, church so it does not feel any different. Why do you feel uncomfortable being around a lot of people that share my ethnicity?
Guy I did not know
no response

I love this one...

The first time I went out with one guy

His statement
I have never dated interracially before
My response
Yes you have you mentioned you had dated a Spanish woman
His response
Well um uh you know what I mean
My response
No I do not, please explain?

sster said...

Christine--these are GREAT! I'm going to bookmark your page and memorize your answers. We're planning to adopt transracially (shiver--I hate that term) this year, and I'd like an arsenal of answers.

Hannah said...

Thank you soooo much for this list! I have been wondering how to answer some of these questions when they come up. Right now we're answering, "so....what kind of child are you considering for adoption?" I have a lot of fun responding to that one. I have a silly question, but one that I have been thinking about. I worry about the little things, like learning to fix my child's hair (if I get a little girl). I know this probably sounds so unimportant compared to the bigger issues, but I can't stop wondering about it. Even as I write that I think I am answering my own question. I can't even fix my nieces hair who look just like I do! I guess you just learn as you go?

Cabin Mistress said...

Christine you would get along well with my sisters and I. Our minds seem to work the same way. Hannah, I've got a post on my blog with a link you will probably find useful. I'll look for and then post it for you.


Cabin Mistress said...

Here you go.

Christine said...

Here's another great site for hair care tips and products: http://www.cornrowsandco.com/

I've had even extended family read their book "Kids Talk Hair." It's a great way to help people understand and celebrate AA hair!

Oh ... and it's still of no use to me. Our daughter is two, and still has next-to-nothing going on up top!

Hannah said...

Thanks so much for the links! It's so great to "talk" to other people in similar situations - especially when you have already been where I am headed! I appreciate it!

Dawn said...

People ask us where our daughter is from, too. They say, "Where did you get her?" And we say, "[Name of hospital where she was born]." Or they ask us how old she was when we got her.

And I'm glad to hear about "Kids Talk Hair" because I am thinking on hair these days. :)

Andrea said...

I dont get racism comments like this. I gave birth to my daughter here in Japan and everyone asks me if the father is Japanese. As soon as I say Chinese the conversation stops. The Japanese are just as much anti-Chinese as the chinese are anti-Japanese.
My daughter is also on the larger size and has developed very quickly. People always ask if foreign babies are so big. My answer:
No idea. She is just amazing and mine.

rainydayinmay said...

hi Christine....
i actually linked to your blog from a different blog because frankly i could not stop laughing at your bare naked ladies comment. too funny. it directed me to your profile and i had to smile because we have a lot in common! :) so i am adding your blog to my list. thanks for sharing your life with us!
and my goodness, in response to this post, sometimes it is bliss to be on the recieving end of the self righteously ignorant remarks of others.... :)

Cinders said...

OMG - I wish I could say that I can't believe how stupid people are - but sadly, I can. Great post, great responses and egad "transracially" that's just messed up!

tonia/sparrow said...

My three oldest kids are each a year apart. Two WHITE-skinned red heads and one gorgeous brown-skinned, brown-haired hispanic boy. When they were small, it was always: "Are they triplets?" Ummm...no. "Oh, do they all have the same father?" "Yep!"

What kind of question is "do they have the same father?" Do they expect me to say: "No, I've been sleeping around?" :)

Girl in Progress said...

wow, it's amazing ppl still say stuff like that. Have you ever watched Ken Hams CDS? http://www.answersingenesis.org

I love what it says about racism. We're the HUMAN race. I live in the Milwaukee area, no where in the US will you still find so much ignorance, and separation.

TulipGirl said...

""No, my family has been blessed by birth and extramarital affairs."

Honestly, I'm just ROTFLOL at this.

TulipGirl said...

I had a racist once tell me we chose to be missionaries to Ukraine because all the people there are white. *eyeball roll*

This person just couldn't grasp the concept that someone could *look* like they did and yet not *think or act* like they did. The cultural differences between the US and Ukraine are tremendous.

Vegan Momma said...

Hmm lets see before Aiyana was born I was told: "She will have good hair!" This was from other blacks and a few nonblacks. You know that is just annoying and downright ignorant! My reply
"What would her hair be if her father was black?"

*Sighs* It is all good hair. When will we move place that slave mentality? Time to take off those shackles. That was one way some slave masters would cause division within the black race. Those had 'European hair' and were lighter at times would get treated better. It is sad to see we still hold on to that misconception. *sighs*

Ursula said...

I appreciate what you all are saying, but people sometimes just don't understand and need to ask questions so that they can get to the point of understanding. At least they are asking rather than talking behind your back.

Funniest thing is that I NEVER get such comments. I guess out in Arizona people are more accepting.