Saturday, February 28, 2015

Important Conversations, Gone Wrong

I want to raise socially conscious kids. The kind who have some knowledge of the issues that affect people. Maybe they won't completely understand every issue in a personal way, being white kids raised in a Minneapolis suburb. But at the very least they'll have some understanding that these issues are out there.

Tonight I was driving Reagan home, and we were discussing the fact that in this country, when someone is biracial, they are identified with their minority race. I think it speaks to the way we still see race, and the ways in which we separate ourselves. These are things I hope we change with time.

But this serious and interesting conversation took a turn when Reagan told me he thought people should be able to identify with whatever race they want to.

What he meant of course, is that people should identify themselves in a way that feels true to them and to their heritage. Which I support. What I also support is us getting to a point where there isn't any race that has more privilege in our society. But what he meant isn't exactly how he said it, and my sleep-addled brain, and sarcastic nature, pounced on the technicalities of the way he worded it.

"So, I could be Asian?" I asked, clearly understanding that wasn't what he meant at all.

"No, Mom." You need a legitimate connection to the race you want to identify with."

"Um, who are you to tell me what connection is legitimate?" I taunted.

The look he shot me in return was such an amazing mix of incredulity and surprise, I couldn't keep it together anymore. I started laughing and couldn't stop.

So of course I walked in the house and told my 12 year old (who is obsessed with Japanese culture) and said, "Hey Piper, Reagan says you can identify as Japanese!" which of course isn't what he said, nor is it what he meant, but I just couldn't stop messing with him at that point.

So, in our house, we have the serious conversations. They just don't always stay serious.Still, I hope that the talks we have sink in, and at least get my kids to consider things they might not have thought about.

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