White Parents, Becoming a Little Less White
Former Gov. Jeb Bush made news recently because he checked Hispanic on a voter registration form. This is obviously ridiculous from a scion of the Bush family (and Mr. Bush has said he made a mistake). Yet, I understand, because the family he raised is not unlike mine.
A few years ago, in fact, my wife casually mentioned that she doesnt consider herself 100 percent white any more. She has blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin, and as far back as anyone can remember, all of her ancestors have been Irish.
She was white when we were married. I know that because Im Chinese and that made us an interracial couple. My wife jokes (I think shes joking) that she married me in part because my increased melanin would protect her children from skin cancer.
She became less white when our son, and then our daughter, were born. I think the first bit of doubt surfaced the day we were on the subway with our newborn and a woman came up to my wife and said: Oh, hes so cute! When did you adopt him? I was livid: Did it not occur to this woman that the father was sitting right next to his wife and child? It turned out that the woman really just wanted to talk about her own adopted granddaughter but somewhere in that moment my wife was identified as the mother of a nonwhite child.
This is very interesting. People do tend to identify with the experiences of their loved ones and it sounds like being a parent would make this extra strong.
On a related note, if you know any lovely single ladies who want their future kids to have some more melanin, let me know!
After 30 years with my wife, but I have become very aware of all kinds of racism floating around us.
Not just the blatant in your face capital R racism, like when a redneck asked if my wife was a prostitute "back in China". But also the unthinking bland assumptions and ignorant attempts to be "open minded"
Having a non-white family sharpens your focus and gives you a different perspective on race and white privilege.