When I hear the phrase "melting pot," I think of my home state: Hawaii. There, you find so many different cultures (Polynesian and Native Hawaiian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, not to mention the Caucasians, African Americans, and Europeans) all living together on the islands and, get this, getting along! Hawaii has a saying: "Live Aloha." Live love. It is an integral part of living on the islands.
Growing up, I thought every community was like that. It never occurred to me that anyone could be looked down upon or treated differently for their race. Eventually, I lost some of my naivety and began to understand that racism exists; specifically, in Florida and North Carolina, against African American and the Hispanic communities.
But, and here's the thing: it was only in the past year that I began to realize that there is racism focused on Asians and Asian Americans.
Hapa Hopes and Keiko Zoll have spoken about this recently. In fact, the entire idea was first brought to light for me when Hapa Hopes touched on interracial marriage. I never even realized! For me, a white woman being married to an Asian man, or vice versa, was just normal! Something I saw everyday! Little did I know that I'm in a interracial relationship. Huh.
Keiko's recent post has brought it to mind for me again.
My husband is half Japanese. When I learned that, I thought I hit the jackpot! See, all the cute local boys on the beaches of Hawaii were hapa (half). Beautiful combinations of Polynesian and Asian parents, or Caucasian and Asian or Polynesian, but still! They were SO cute! Even now, five years into marriage, I feel lucky to have my very own "local boy."
Side Note: Let me clarify that I didn't marry him because he looks a certain way or specifically because he looks local. I married R because he is an amazing man, father, and man of God. The fact that he is also half Asian is merely icing on the cake. :-)
The point of all of this is the new baby. This little one I'm carrying is hapa, just like his/her father. When we were choosing a sperm donor, we were looking for someone who was like R. Someone with the same blood type, similar interests, life views, hobbies, and physical appearance, so it made since for us to look for an Asian donor. Now, it is very difficult to find a Japanese sperm donor. There just aren't that many in the registries! So we included other groups in our search. Eventually, we found the perfect donor who happened to be Chinese.
At first, I was calling this one Dim Sum. You know, my little Chinese dumpling. Cute, right? But Keiko's post got me thinking: was I already projecting a form of racism onto my own child? Even though the moniker was said with love and a smile, when my child heard the story later would s/he feel that it was cruel?
I honestly don't know.
I love this child because s/he is ours. Conceived out of love and born into a family that desired him/her so much that we would go to great lengths to bring it into existence. Do I find Asian children beautiful? You bet your ass I do! But that is because all children are beautiful. The worth of this child is not found in his/her appearance any more than Little K's! Our children have worth because they are a child of ours and a child of God.
Those are the values we are instilling in Little K and that we will instill in this little one. Who will, until the anatomy scan, be called Smudge.