Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Racial identity - part 1

Master A is almost 7 years old.

The first face he looked at when he was born was mine, and I have been very involved with him from the start.

So he has been very comfortable in my presence, and in the presence of his paternal family.

But recently, he has begun asking me some odd questions about his appearance.

I remember when Master A was about 4 years old, he saw a commercial on TV involving an African girl. He turned to me and asked, "Daddy, how many people in the world are not like us?"

I did not immediately connect his question with the commercial, so I asked in a puzzled way, "what do you mean?"

He said, "How many people have dark skin, and how many people look like you and me?"

I found this question so refreshingly innocent, but I knew that at some point the world will be telling my son that he and his daddy also look different.

Well, that time has now come, and my challenge of course is to manage my son's questions thoughtfully and in a way that will hopefully put him in good stead to take advantage of all the good things that come with being a bi-racial and bi-cultural child.

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