Monday, May 02, 2005

No Offense, But...

Okay. Having been home from China for about 7 weeks, I would like to take this opportunity to say the following things, and I mean them in the kindest, tenderest way:

To All the Caucasians:

I get it. She doesn't look like me. You think that's funny/cute/remarkable.

You have about one more month to keep saying it, but as soon as she understands what you are saying I'm going to shut you down HARD. And I'll do that by discussing YOUR looks ad nauseum: "My! You used to be so much thinner! You look nothing like your younger photos. Your son is quite a bit fatter than you. Your husband must be what? ten years younger than you?" Trust me. I'll do it. Because as funny/cute as you think it is, and as much as you think you are the first person to say it to me, it's getting old really fast. Not to mention that it's not actually that funny, if you think about it. It just IS what it is: a clueless person reminding my daughter that she is not "mine" and that she is different. She'll already know it and won't need you to comment on how not like her parents she is to feel that reality. So chuckle to yourself if you do indeed find it funny, but just assume I've heard it a hundred times before thinking you'll share the mirth with me. I get it. She doesn't look like me. How hilarious!

To all the Asians:

If my daughter is staring at you and/or smiling at you, it's because she does that to everyone. It's NOT because you are Asian and "familiar" to her. Seriously. I know you mean well. But really. That makes no sense. As I've said before, to assume that a random Asian person will be more "familiar" to my daughter than I am, or her father or her grandparents is ludicrous. She may notice similarities at her age, but children don't develop a sense of racial identity until much, much later. The fact that you are Asian is not what makes my daughter smile at you. It's because she smiles at lots of people. She also DOESN'T smile at lots of people, some of them also Asian. She smiles at people she wishes to smile at, end of story, be they fluorescently white Scottish people, dark African-American people or anyone in between. Again, I know you mean well. But, again, it's getting old. So if she smiles at you, take the compliment personally, not as a member of an ethnic group.

To all the Nosy People:

Don't ask me how much "it" cost. How much did your kid cost? Oh, you wouldn't dare put a price on your children?! Right. So why ask me to do it? I was asked this question this weekend and I answered with, "More than we had in the bank; far far less than she's worth." The questioner pressed with, "No really. Just a ballpark?" I couldn't believe it. Have you ever heard of google, dude? Look it up.

Okay, now I can go to sleep with that off my chest. You all can bill me for the full hour of therapy...


Anonymous said...

I feel for you, my children, by my first wife are of a mixed ethnic origin. They more closely resemble their mother, then they do me.

Just like her, they display the racial characteristics common to most Asians. While I am a big goofy looking white guy. And I have dealth with all sorts of rudeness by the same kind of jerks that you described.

Although, you are better person than me, I have to admit that my handling of the situation was less dignified then yours. I have a tendency to tell people to go to hell, when they have the gall to point out that my kids look nothing like me. "Well, duh." Has been one of my kinder responses.

Raine said...

I've been asked when I was adopted. I look nothing like either of my parents (a bi-generational leap, they called it). Honestly, talking about someone's outside appearances is just rude. All of it, rude, unless its amongst trusted friends.
As an example:

Random women: "Why, you look nothing like your parents... they're... and you're so skinny..."

Me: "Yeah? Well, you're a fat, nosy old broad, but you don't hear me prodding you about it, do ya?"

That's been my most "dignified" response, to date. Honestly, I'm a bristly guy to begin with, but inane and pointless observations rub me like nothing else.

chrisnd said...

I have one question to ask you? Where on God's creation do you actually live, because where I am from (small town Ohio) people just aren't that rude. At least I have never met any of the rude people. I say to hell with giving these cranky-a** rude mother-f**ers another month of "stupidity" - start punching them in their teeth now!

Seriously, do you think that maybe, just maybe, someday people will start being a little smarter and little less (I hate to use this word) insensitive.

The people next door to me adopted a young Phillipino boy. He has some of the characteristics of his Phillipino dad, but looks nothing like his mom. I can only speculate that they spent a lot of money going through the process of adopting him. Why can i speculate - because I have never asked them! They are doing it again. Under no circumstances could I imagine myself, or anyone I know in my little world of small-town Ohio being so stupid as to say "He doesn't look like you" or "So, how much did it cost to bring him here."

I tell you, your stories of sheer stupidity on the part of those you meet tell me that you live in either New York or California. I pity you either way.

SquareSlant said...

Wait till you get...."When are you going to 'have' children"...I always wanted to smack them!

E said...

Anonymous--I like the "well, duh." I might use that!

Raine--as always, a funny and new way to see things.

Chrisnd--An interesting take, because I always wondered how adopted Chinese kids would do in a small town, whether life wouldn't be harder on them than in a big city. This was good insight. The question about her "cost" was from Atlanta. And he was clergy to boot!

Squareslant-I have a non sexual crush on you because you are so funny. ;)


Nick said...

No really. How much did you pay for it?