Race Relations


Seriously. I just don’t know how I would be able to deal with a country and people who remind me day in and day out that I am not welcome here – so unwelcome that I will be shot for walking down the fucking street.

RIP Trayvon Martin. May God comfort and bring peace to your family.

Until I had DS, I never realized what a luxury it was to have grown up conversations (even if they are all about DS). Before I joined a bunch of playgroups, DH and my mom were practically the only grown ups I spoke to! Thank goodness for FB and online friends!

Well, these past few days, DS has been in quarantine because he has pink-eye. And let me just tell you. I go through withdrawal!! I love DS a bjillion times a bjillion, but it’s so nice to have grownups to talk to (again, even if it is just all about DS). I think I love talking with other Mommies the most. Because they don’t mind (as much) that every other word out of your mouth is about DS or DD. (Yes, I’ve become one of those people. After all, what the heck else am I supposed to talk about? DS is my entire day!!)

It’s amazing how just by simply popping out a few babies, it’s this universal bond I have with all the other mommies out there! Sure, there are some people with whom I’m like, “Really? I can’t believe they let you have kids!” But for the most part, people are nice and fun and always have a relate-able story to tell. It’s nice. I’ve been let into a club and the cover charge was only the rest of my life!

The other awesome thing is that there are so many more multi-racial babies out there now so I don’t feel as alone trying to make sure DS learns as much Chinese possible or whatever. (Although, funny enough, I think of DS as a Chinese baby. Which, he isn’t, but he’s mine? So I consider him Chinese?) Since DH isn’t really big on his culture, (he’s 4th generation Japanese-American and German American for who knows how long now) so DS doesn’t really get much Japanese knowledge. Part of me is like, eh? But another part sometimes feels as if I’m short-changing him.

Welp, whatever. I can’t help it. This is the innate Chinese pride. hahaha. We rule the earth! :p

Hmmm… seriously, now that I think about it. I suppose I should start thinking of ways to incorporate Japanese culture into DS’s life. Cartoons probably don’t count. *sigh* Ooh… and Germans, too? Blargh. I’ll just stick with Chinese for now. 😉

Other than DS, who eats better than everyone in my family (including my mother) combined, I have no idea what DH and I eat. Even my own mother has an erratic meal plan. (She eats oatmeal, Japanese pumpkins, and oranges. I think that’s it. Maybe some sweet potatoes. Come to think of it, her meals are a lot like DS’s.)

I know we’re grown ups and everything, but I really can’t think of what we eat on a regular basis for the last decade or so. When I think back to when DH and I were unmarried and living together, I still don’t know what we did for food. I mean, I know how to cook. I even think I’m a pretty good cook. But I just don’t! Every now and then, I’ll make us some food. (Usually a noodle dish.) That’s why I love it when people come over, because then I can cook an actual meal! Maybe have a salad and a main dish.

Here’s the thing. I’m totally confused about what to make for dinner (and lunch on the weekends). I think it’s because when I was growing up, my mom made us a rice and at least four or five dishes for dinner every night. I don’t think I have the energy to do that – although it is very handy for leftovers (and then DH can have a lunch). I say that I don’t have the energy to do it, but really, it’s just habit. I know for sure that I’ve done this for even several weeks (up to months) – even post-baby! It just requires some type of planning and thinking ahead. And the willingness to hear DS cry while I prep and cook.

When I read about recipes that aren’t what I grew up with, they sound great and delicious, but then I feel that it’s so weird to be making food that isn’t Chinese. I know. Terrible snobbery on my part. But seriously, what the heck is a casserole? Or meatloaf? I know. Those aren’t my only options – but it’s still weird in my mind. That it’s somehow betraying my ethnicity or something (which is completely ridiculous – because then I’d be ITALIAN). Plus, it’s not as if my mom made exclusively Chinese food. It was only Chinese food because she’s Chinese and made it!

I read and hear about how having a meal together every day is the way to influence your children and make them less obese and all sorts of other benefits. I know that’s what I experienced when I was growing up. Nothing like listening to your parents talking about the world and their work to not-so-subtly indoctrinate you into their worldview!

But the thought of doing that right now with DS is exhausting. A logistical nightmare, if you will. DS goes to bed at 7:30pm and DH doesn’t usually get in the door before 7. (That’s another long and gory tale that if you get me started on, will begin a rant of epicosity so we’ll save that for another post.) I don’t think we’ll be having family dinners until DS stays up later or DH comes home earlier. It just doesn’t seem feasible to me (or necessarily wanted).

I think a lot of this is a scheduling thing in my mind, too. Because if I were to cook dinner so that it’s ready when DH comes home and is hungry, I would have to cook earlier when my mom is over in the evening to play with and see DS. But if I cook then, usually my mom and I and DS will eat first. So then, DH just eats by himself after we tuck DS into bed. It seems so mean.

THIS WOULD ALL BE SOLVED IF DH WOULD JUST LEAVE WORK AT 5PM ALREADY.

Bitterella, party of one?

Anyhow, this is just to say that though my house is full of food (in terms of fruit and snacks), we often just eat cereal for dinner. How sad is that?

So, I’ve been noticing lately that a lot of the kids’ books and stories and toys (eg: the Melissa and Doug train set) don’t really have people of color featured in them. Now, granted, with the train set example, I don’t know any people that shade of white, either, but I think we all take for granted that’s who they’re representing. What, there are no conductors who are Asian? Black? Indian? For that matter, how come there are no peaches and beiges and tans?

The stories have blond kids or brunette kids, but no multi-racial (ah, who am I kidding? That’s a tall order!) and kids of color are rare. I have to go out of my way to find books that feature kids that look like my kid. That’s super annoying. And requires effort. Everyone knows I hate effort! BOOO.

Of course, this is no surprise to me. I do read enough race-related blogs to know that this is a common enough problem. Not just for people of color, but for Caucasian parents who want to expose their kids to other ethnic groups (either in stories or in real life). Clearly, this is an under-represented market. (And I will now have to start scouring Amazon for these books. Boo.)

The thing is, I don’t just want books that feature people of color (because let’s face it: most of these will be “foreign” as in, “Oh! How different! Chinese New Year!” vs. this is a regular story but the protagonist is a child of color). I want REAL books with people of color. Not token ones or very special episodes!

Too bad I can’t draw. I guess this is why I stick to books on animals. DS just LOVES cats!

I sent this blog link to a few of my closest friends. Anonymity with them isn’t an issue because I overshare with them already in real life. But of course, now that I know I have readers (well, at least one!) and while that gratifies the self-centered exhibitionist within me, it also forces my ugly, self-protective and image conscious self out glaringly to the surface. And nowhere does it do that the most when it comes to race.

You see, I wanted to talk about how I am looking (albeit, very passively) for a church to start attending and put down roots. But I immediately began to self-edit because I don’t want to sound racist to my own friends. (Of course, we are everyone at least a little bit racist. But no one wants to SEEM racist.)

But whatever. I do not want to edit myself on my own damn blog because I want to look better than I really am. So, here we go.

Where I live, there is a glut of churches – but most of them are white-culture dominant. I really do not want that because of all places, I want to be as authentic as possible within a church environment. (But who is to say that race is what would make me more authentic?) I also want as little explaining as possible – especially if it pertains to sharing issues about race. I do not want to have to constantly reach across the divide and explain. I do that everyday (albeit, it’s really not that rough because let’s be honest, I grew up in this area and I am a product of my upbringing. It’s not that bad). With people of my same cultural and racial background, (as long as we’re of similar enough socio-economic class) there is a cultural shorthand. Of course, there is a cultural shorthand to white-dominant situations, too. Every minority has learned it and knows it. But the opposite is so rarely true.

On the other hand, Asian-culture dominant church environments also have their baggage and I balk at a lot of THOSE cultural expectations as well. But they do have the added benefit of exposing my kids to my first language (although I would say English is my dominant language – my language of dreams, so to speak) and people of my ethnic background. And let’s face it, here’s the main reason: I would feel more comfortable.

Everything always boils down to comfort. Now, of course, race is not the only factor in a church I want to attend. In fact, multi-ethnic congregations are what I would like to see, but with a purpose. I want to go someplace where race is acknowledged and discussed and not swept up into a taboo area. But is it the most important thing for me? No.

What is most important to me in a church? Tune in next time! haha! No, seriously. Some other time. I’m tired.

Ah well. The solution to all this, of course, is very simple. I just won’t go to church! hahahah. I’m sure my husband would LOVE that and heartily approve. 😉