Thursday, May 25, 2006

Questions Strangers Ask

Jack is almost 8 weeks old; he will be Tuesday. He continues to amaze us as he grows and changes daily. He is such a happy baby. We're so proud to be his parents.

My girlfriend, Carolyn, took me to lunch for my birthday today. Being a proud mommy, I brought the latest batch of photos of my little angel along to show her (since Jack was home bonding with Daddy learning about the pork business). Our server noticed the baby pictures and wanted to know who just had a baby. Carolyn told her it was me. The lady, not realizing how she sounded and genuinely being interested, looked at me and asked, "Is he mixed?" I smiled and replied, "He's Hispanic." When she saw Kevin in one of the pictures she still didn't get it and commented on Jack's dark skin. She said she'd never seen a baby that was "part Hispanic still be so dark." I smiled and explained that Jack is "full Hispanic" and that we adopted him. I knew that would springboard us into the next famous round of "Jack questions."

She wanted to know where he was from. I said the United States. I knew what she meant, but couldn't help making it harder for her to get her answers. I don't think I'd ever be as tenacious with personal questions, myself. She asked again, "Well, yeah, but where's he from?" I told her Texas.

My point is that we live in America, the melting pot, salad bowl, or whatever you want to call it of the world. All kinds of folks live in the USA. If you've ever visited large cities like New York, Las Vegas, Las Angeles, Chicago, or Baltimore you'll understand. Just because a person's skin has a particular tint doesn't mean they just got off a ship or crossed a border. In America, it's quite possible to live within communities where there are many others with your same ethnicity. Your own culture can thrive in a community beside another different community. It doesn't matter whether your relatives/ancestors are German, Irish, Nigerian, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese. That's the beauty of America. Jack's ancestors have lived in Texas for generations, just as my Irish ones have and Kevin's Dutch and Irish ones have. We're proud of our heritage, but we're American. Jack is American. His birthmother speaks less Spanish than I do. She doesn't listen to Salsa music for pleasure; she listens to Enya and Sade. She doesn't eat tacos at every meal; she loves Italian food, same as me. I'm sure she has habits that stem from her Hispanic roots, but we all do things just because our families have always done them a certain way.

Jack's of Hispanic descent, but his nationality is American. There are all different colors of Americans. When Jack is older and questions why his skin is different from mine, I'll point to all the other people around us with a variety of skin tones and tell him in the great words of author Karen Kingsbury, "God gave everyone a special color, a color he loved for that person." You see, God knows exactly what color is the most beautiful one for each of us.

It doesn't bother me that people ask. It reminds me that we have a different kind of family. I wonder how Jack will receive it as he matures and tries to understand. I guess I'm just now becoming more aware of it than I ever have as a "white person." People seem to forget that were really all different, unique on the inside and outside.


Anonymous said...

Hello there,

What you wrote is true....everybody has a special beauty that god created for all of us. The baby is beautiful & u r a very lucky woman. May you always be bless with abundance of joy & happiness with the cute baby boy.

Take care & Remain Bless

Stacy said...

Jack is going to grow up to be very wise and very considerate of all people. He's very blessed :)