A colleague who works in the media recently posted one of those rare “stop-scrolling-down” updates on Facebook. It was thought-provoking and hard to ignore.
To understand fully, there should be background information. The only things you need to know is that she is white/Anglo/Caucasian, highly regarded in her field, and her son is adopted. And he is also black/African American.
So those details provided, here is her post, via social media:
If this conversation hadn’t knocked the breath out of me, I would remember the exact words better. But basically, I was trying to explain to my kid why we moved. I said I wanted to get my career back on track, and felt like I was running out of time.
“I’m a middle-aged woman and you’re just 13,” I told him. “You have the rest of your life ahead of you.”
And he replied very calmly, “Well, you could be wrong, mom. I’m black.”
Wow, right? Heartbreaking.
After chest flipping and stomach sinking, and contemplating, it also makes you consider, as Asian Americans, do we ever have this type of conversation with our families?
Most likely not. Degrees of marginalization and discrimination vary. We can’t discount the stereotypes and assumptions that being Asian involves—whether full/part/small percent of whatever we are. However, when it comes down to it, are we scared of our heritage? Do we worry about it? Will it hinder us?
Are we truly marginalized?
Perhaps we should be grateful for whatever step we have on the marginalization ladder.
And we should remind our colleague’s son that he could be President.
It’s happened. (end)