Checking Boxes

On April 16, 2012, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

shipping boxes

Allena Tapia writes at the Huffington Post: I can’t cheapen our level of “Mexican” or “non-Mexican” by putting it on some kind of scale, calculated by an odd mixture of which holidays we celebrate, what languages we speak, how often we’ve been to Mexico, and what kinds of foods we eat. Anyway, I simply don’t know the answer. It varies day by day.

Instead, I tell my children to always choose Hispanic or Latino based on the positives they stand to gain from doing so. Yup, I said it.

There’s certainly more to this essay than the quote above. Still, I suspect other parents feel like Allena Tapia.

I find this troublesome. Simone and Nadia will decide how they want to identify, and I suspect that will change as they mature. I’d prefer my girls identify with both their Caucasian and African-American heritage.  I do not intend to tell my girls to chose a racial identity based on advantages of doing so. It seems like another form of privilege to me. It is my hope that the “advantages,” whatever those are, will decrease as more and more official forms reflect society.

What do you say?

 
  • http://www.gardenwallpublications.com Allena

    I say: Thank you for contributing constructively to the conversation!

    I will say I have read before that if you don’t direct your children to SOMETHING before Kindergarten, then the default policy for unchecked boxes is that the administrator/teacher chooses based on looks. So either they choose (and again, it’s still ONE box) or, if left blank, it might be chosen for them…

    Also, keep in mind that, if you’re in US, and they’re bumping around in US culture day in and day out, they *automatically* get to identify with the (wonderful, rich) white side of themselves. I’d say we tend to push the other side in home and family simply because we know they’re not getting it anywhere else…

    • http://www.honeysmoke.com Honeysmoke

      Well, I may have to reconsider. I hadn’t thought about it quite like that. Thanks for your comment.