Yesterday we were reading a book about the post Civil War years in the South. The book kept referring to the former slaves as Black Americans.
Suddenly, Wenxin interrupted. "Mama. . . am I black?"
Then without really waiting for me to answer, he answered himself. Closely observing his own arm he concluded, " Ummm. . . not really black. I think I'm dark tan."
We had a quick little conversation about the labels people attach to race. I shared that when people say black, they are usually referring to people whose ancestors came from Africa. I told him that when people look at him they probably call him Asian, because people born in China, Thailand, Japan, Korea and the Philippines -- all countries in Asia -- have similar skin and hair color.
When you love someone intensely -- the way a mother loves her children -- things like race and skin color seem to disappear.
But they don't really disappear, do they?