Wednesday, June 24, 2015


 Trust me...there's a reason why I'm showing a photo of
sushi in a post about race. © Toshihiro Gamo
Given all of the news of late where atrocities based on racial prejudice have been committed, it's a natural step to examine your own biases on race and ethnicity and confirming or denying where you fall in the spectrum of popular opinion.

My kids are multi-racial, which brings up obvious questions around identity. When I in college and working toward a minor in Asian American studies. there were plenty of discussions surrounding the 'melting pot' concept - forever immortalized in a Schoolhouse Rock short - and how it's really more of a stew: each ingredient a distinct shape, texture, and flavor all thrown together and retaining their integrity, more or less. We can remain true to our cultural identities while co-mingling with others.

Can we?

Kids are colorblind; they are born without bias. And because I believe that the acceptance of people not in your ethnic cohort means that you don't use stereotypes as markers, I've done my conscientious best to not call someone black or Asian or whatever unnecessarily. I love that my daughter has a bona fide rainbow coalition of friends. I wish that she acknowledged her Chinese heritage more frequently and proudly, but that will come in time. I love that my son is interested in learning Chinese and different languages when the opportunity is presented to him.

People are, frankly, weird about race. I've gotten into heated discussions on whether a non-Japanese server or chef working at a sushi bar makes the experience less authentic and therefore not as good as one staffed with folks of Japanese descent. My answer: it's irrelevant. The food and the experience, the end product, is what matters. Is the fish fresh? Is it cut and portioned well? Does it taste good? And are you enjoying what you're eating?

I'd carry this through to people: do you like hanging out with them? Can you share a laugh and a joke? Are they quality peeps? If all of the answers are yes, then does it really matter what their ancestry is? Nope.

No comments: