Wednesday, April 2, 2008

When is American enough?

If you are sensitive or have issues with sensitive subjects, please consider this my disclaimer.

In spirit of all things election and adoption, where does the fine line of race end? I do quite a bit of reading, how to help your child understand their heritage, and the country they are from, especially in a trans racial adoption. Ok, take them to cultural diverse events, celebrate thier heritage and allow them to express how they feel about that. But where does that become over kill that creates a barrier, at what point are we screaming to our children "YOU ARE DIFFERENT" "YOU WILL NEVER BE LIKE US" When do I get to tell people that my child is an American? When I go to the doctor's office and they say 'do you consider yourself caucasian?' I don't say 'well I'm French-American" they would laugh at what they thought was me making a joke. Don't get me wrong, I know that history and geneology is important to some people, but my history isn't in Germany or France, it's here. I was born in the U.S. I'm American. My parents are American. My history is as diverse as any ones. My ancestors have done some things that I can't be proud of, but they've done some wonderful things too. But what I know is American history, the rise to power, the wars the Great Depression, the mistakes and the politics. Am I a bad parent if I struggle with the significance of ancestory? I know that my children (biological and adopted) will want to know who they are...but I am not a French-American, I am an American, my family moved from Europe to the United States. This doesn't have near the impact on me, that living in a small community in Ohio has had. I don't eat snails, or schnitzel. I eat meat and potatoes, I eat vegetables and no pork (high school experiment gone wrong). I eat pizza. If I was from New Orleans I'd eat jumbalaya, I love it...but I don't have a clue how to fix it. if I lived in Maine I'd eat all lobster all the time, I love it but it's expensive. If I lived in Texas, I'd eat steak and it, but I can't cook. I drive a van and my husband a Blazer, if we lived in NY City, we'd take the public transportation and do a lot of walking, if we lived in Texas, we'd drive trucks. I'm sure you get my point...I am more affected by where I was raised and where I live than where my blood line stretches back to. I understand why people want to hold onto that heritage, but when does it take a back seat? When is it a title we can let go of? When am I an American of European decent? American of African decent? When is being an American enough?