Hello World Wide Web! I want to share with you where my journey has recently taken me. As my children continue to grow and become school aged, I’m really being placed into an atmosphere where I’m actually examining first hand the selection of race and ethnicity. My daughter is now in kindergarten, and my three-year old has entered a pre-school program. I know I’ve shared this but just for reference, my children are in my eyes, African-American & Latino. I didn’t know until recently that a final determination of how our school systems view our children depends on their father’s race or ethnicity. My children’s father is Latino. When my daughter started pre-school, I entered her race on her school application as “Other” and proceeded to explain in the area beside that box, my race and her father’s ethnicity. After reviewing her records, I found that her race was changed to Indian, and her ethnicity, Latino. I thought, do we really have a choice? Can we truly give an explanation of our children’s background? Recently, entering my son into a pre-school program; I was advised of the same information. That his race was determined in our school system by the race of his father. In essence, now the system is telling me, as an African-American woman, that my children are now Latino/Hispanic.
I want my children to embrace all of their identity. The fact that they aren’t allowed to and even forced into an institutional box for statistical purposes shows up on my radar with big alarms going off. Now there are people who have a father that is African-American, and find being placed by their father is ok. I think the choice should be a personal choice. The problem is that it is not.
When I take my daughter to school daily, I watch a man enter with his three children. He has two girls and one boy. He is white and his children from their appearances seem to be what some would refer to as just “light-skinned” black. As a white “man” I wonder how he feels that the rule does not apply to him. That the male race rule could never apply just because he is a white man. I often want to stop and talk to him and just ask. That’s a unique perspective that I have yet to gather.
We have a box on the US Census called “Other”, that generally Latino, biracial, and even people who fit comfortably with a race, but belong to an ethnicity other than the social norm like Italian, Jewish etc. check to show themselves uniquely. I’ve even spoken to an African-American man who said he checks the box “OTHER.” I met a woman who appeared to have African descent, and a man from Haiti, recently at dinner who informed me that they “do not” place themselves as African-American or Black, because they are not. I find that most people self identify, but do we really have a choice of racial and ethnic identification? Chime in & share your experiences & information below.
As always, thank you so much for visiting. Please be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter @wecheckother
Until the next,