Race – unknown

I’ve had quite a few people tell me that I am not in an interracial relationship and my baby isn’t of mixed of race. The reasoning is that my husband isn’t black. I find this kind of puzzling. Isn’t Chinese a different race? He speaks a different language, has a different cultural heritage, and is from a different geographical area. It seems more interracial to me than two people born in the same country.

The issue of race in America is complicated. It is probably a matter of perspective. The people who have told me race is only black and white have been people who classify themselves as either black or white. Plus I live in the south.

The government considers us to be different races most of the time. We are asked about race on standard forms where my husband and I check different boxes. If different race boxes are checked, doesn’t that make us interracial? I always thought an interracial relationship was one where two people of different races were in a relationship together. It apparently depends on which races are checked. Some are more applicable than others.

Sometimes we are the same race. If I don’t disclose race, people assume I’m Asian by my name. Then again, if I check the box for white, people still assume I’m Asian on paper. Some forms now limit the race selections to two boxes: 1. Hispanic; 2. Non-hispanic. Those forms really narrow the scope of interracial.

Perhaps the labels of race only apply when racism is involved?

One of the same people who told me that interracial only applies to black and white couples also told me that it was racist to have a panda themed baby shower. How is it racist if Chinese/Asian is not considered a different race then my own? Bigger question, how am I racist for liking pandas? Would zebras have been more PC? Pandas are the least racist animal – they are Black, White, and Asian at the same time! (haha – sorry for the lame joke)

Well, when picking out a halloween costume for my little boy, I decided against the banana costume. A little newborn in a banana costume sounds too cute but there is a bit too much meaning applied to that banana when that newborn is half Chinese and half white. Funny how I had to consider the race of my unborn child when he isn’t even considered mixed.

Cute banana costume at Target. Too bad a banana isn't politically correct.

Cute banana costume at Target.
Too bad a banana isn’t politically correct.

 

Sometimes I miss China where there is no political correctness.

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5 Comments

Filed under baby, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Race – unknown

  1. Suigetsu

    Yeah, the discourse on issues of race in the US tends to be dominated by black-white relations, with Asian Americans being relegated to the sidelines as irrelevant quasi-foreigners.

    Still, I find it surprising that your relationship with your husband is not considered interracial.

  2. I feel like because of our history Americans tend to use Interracial only to refer to white/black marriages because that was what was usually discriminated against throughout the US. Although that isn’t completely accurate as interracial marriages between Chinese immigrants and Americans was banned during the 1800’s to keep the Chinese immigrants who worked on the railroads from integrating into our culture.

    I would consider you to be in an interracial marriage, as most people consider me and my wife to be an interracial couple for the same reasons. Chinese is a distinctively different race and culture.

  3. Beatra Versue

    My mom is Filipina and my dad is White (Caucasian living in America with European ancestry). I am mixed race, theirs is an interracial marriage. I consider myself to be American, which to me is an multicultural melting pot. I also have very strong connections to Filipino culture, and I live in L.A., with it’s diverse cultures. I’ll never forget attending a public school open house for parents here in L.A. Many various nationalities were represented in the room. So much so, the principal made a statement about the rich multicultural population at the school, but emphasized the importance of all students learning to speak English (as not every teacher could speak every language of every student, so teaching them would be impossible otherwise). After the principal spoke, an African American parent got up and indignantly asked: “what about diversity!?!” The room fell silent. As a mixed race American I thought, “wasn’t she listening to what the principal just said?” But after more thought and discussion with many friends (again, in L.A., my friends and I are the United Nations) it was agreed: some African Americans believe that they’re the only other race in America! Nevermind the room filled with parents speaking every language you can name: her question was: do you have African American students? Of course there were other African American parents in the room, along with Pakistanis, Haitians, Thais, Mexicans, Armenians, Russians, Koreans, Guatemalans, etc. But somehow the ONLY race qualifying as diverse to this parent was African American! Eye opening.

    • It is strange. With the current student protests, it is clear the word “diversity” only applies to one group of people. I’d love to say that is because America has only had racism towards one group, but unfortunately America has a history of mistreatment to several races. I don’t know the rationale behind such a limited view on diversity.

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