From the New York Times, December 14, 2015. Whilst not about transracial adoption, I always think we have a lot in common with biracial / mixed race people – we are often part of one culture with a predominant race (usually white) whilst appearing not all or one of the other races.
Despite what my parents assume, I’ve never once identified as white. As soon as I knew what race was, I knew I wasn’t white. I am not black either, and we live in a society which is often binary. I don’t get to be either. (I live in London, the “melting pot” of the U.K., and even here it is very clear there’s a white strata of society that I can play in but never belong to. And I realise that the US has very different race issues than the U.K.)
And finally, because this is more about a reblog than me(!), I thought again yesterday about how absurd it is that we distinguish and judge people on skin colour. I mean, it is absurd. This may be going against the “modern” idea that we shouldn’t be “colourblind” but come on, people. What. The. ????
Do you realise skin colour’s no more choosable than height? That it has no more correlation to a person’s character than the length of their eyelashes or the widened of their mouth? Should we construct a society based on something as uncorrelated with meaning as the span of someone’s hands? (Oh… We just did.)
“I never realized how little I understood race until I tried to explain it to my 5-year-old son. Our family story doesn’t seem too complicated: I’m Chinese-American and my husband is white, an American of English-Dutch-Irish descent; we have two children. My 5-year-old knows my parents were born in China, and that I speak Cantonese sometimes. He has been to Hong Kong and Guangzhou to visit his gung-gung, my father. But when I asked him the other day if he was Chinese, he said no.
“You’re Chinese, but I’m not,” he told me, with certainty. “But I eat Chinese food.” This gave me pause. How could I tell him that I wasn’t talking about food or cultural heritage or where we were born? (Me, I’m from Queens.) I had no basis to describe race to him other than the one I’d taken pains to avoid: how we look and how other people treat us as a result.”