Saturday, August 19, 2006


Until I entered school, my ethnic identity was one hundred percent Caucasian. Though I knew that I was physically different from my parents, it didn’t matter. In my insulated child world, what I looked like didn’t make any difference. It simply didn’t matter.

When I entered school, things were a little different. Children have a tendency to mimic their parents and not all parents were as tolerant as the people who lived in my neighborhood. It was a difficult transition for me to really realize that I was different. I always knew the fundamentals. My parents were extremely open with me about people being different, but I didn’t really understand until it became an issue.

I strongly believe that the key to my growing up into a fairly well adjusted woman is communication. It’s something that I can’t stress enough. From an early age, my parents began explaining how I was different and they made sure that I understood that this meant I was special. If you arm your children with a lot of information, let them know that there are bad things in the world; it’s a lot less of a surprise when you finally meet it head on. I can’t say that it’s less hurtful, because it isn’t…. but when you already have a basic understanding of the situation it gives you back a feeling of control.

As the parent, I have a tendency to want to protect my son from these things. I know what he’ll face and I remember the hurt, but there is a more practical side that reminds me that it was these events that shaped who I am today. We can walk beside them. We can listen to them. We can love them, but we can’t live for them.

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