Recently, a newly published mystery/thriller author received an odd question from a journalist. He asked, “Are you half Asian?” Caught off guard, and unsure what this question had to do with her writing, she responded, “No I’m Asian all the time.” The interview ended with both of them laughing at his stupid question. However, this story gave me pause.
My husband is Norwegian and Creole (a mixture of French, African, and Spanish-his is Cuban). When he was little, he had a blonde Afro, blue eyes, luscious thick lips and very white skin, think paper white. Growing up, people assumed he was Anglo-Saxon and made very prejudice remarks in his presence.
Fast-forward twenty years, to a more receptive, supposedly open-minded society. I’d argue that in some ways we still don’t accept diversity because we carry stereotypes of how a mixed person should appear. Let me explain with several examples.
My oldest is blonde hair, blue-eyed and fair, but when she was younger, her pediatrician was flabbergasted that she carried the sickle-cell gene. I explained that my husband was black and she whipped her head and stared at my child in disbelief.
My sister-in-law is Asian/Hawaiian and her husband who is Creole too have the same problem. When she is running errands with her son, people, constantly, stop to ask her if she is the nanny to the blue-eyed, curly-haired blondie.
I want to know why does it matter? Who cares??? I go back to the story of the author and wonder what did her ethnicity have to do with her writing. If she wrote a good story, it wasn’t because she was Chinese or Filipino, or Japanese or White. It was because she can write.
Unfortunately, my husband still hears inappropriate remarks and it makes me wonder what the future holds for my children. Hopefully by then, we truly will be more accepting.
What do you think?