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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ask a Dad

Culture Clash
A first-time mother asked me to comment on the risks associated with raising an interracially mixed child. Fortunately for you, this is something I have personal experience with. Emi is the byproduct of an interracial union that wasn’t even legal in California during the fifties. Sometimes we still wonder how confused Emi will be in trying to adapt the ideologies of two very distinct cultures. Kacey is a 4th generation Japanese American, so you know that she will instill esoteric values and uncompromising Japanese traditions that will contradict my stanch 6th generation British American heritage. This cultural mêlée has not created a benevolent melting pot, but rather a smoldering pot of immiscible ideologies.

The Holidays
For New Years, it is customary for the Japanese to eat a tasty lucky bean referred to as, “lucky bean”. That’s not what my forefathers did. They watched Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve and then went to bed at or around 11:15PM. For Christmas, Japanese people will send thank you cards to everyone for gifts received. My British American culture tells me this is only necessary for wedding presents.

Language Barriers
Kacey has about a 45 word Japanese vocabulary that she uses on a semi-frequent basis. For instance, when we’re about to give Emi a bath, Kacey will say, “time for your bocha”. Is this going to confuse Emi down the road as an adult? You tell me.

Relating to Friends

Unfortunately, in San Francisco, only one out of four children are a Caucasian/Asian mix. This means only one in four friends of Emi will look exactly like her.

Cuisine
Emi’s aunt (Kacey’s sister) eats the most disgusting Japanese food called Natto, which is fermented soy beans. It looks and tastes like snot. We eat Japanese food about every other day and everything else is delicious. But what’s up with Natto? What if Emi makes the mistake of serving it at a party? She will offend the pallets of many of her British American friends, as well as her Japanese American friends and pretty much anyone else.

My advice to you, interracially married reader, is to make it easy on yourselves. Compromise by selecting a culture outside the innate heritage of both you and your spouse. That will give both of you equal footing for cultural influence. Kacey and I are looking to immerse Emi in the traditions of Peru.

-Tyler

Tyler H is a guest blogger and father to Emi. The Three Bay B Chicks have asked him to shed light on a Dad’s point of view under the stern supervision of his loving wife. If you have a question for Ask A Dad, feel free to submit it in the comments section. The Three Bay B Chicks are not responsible for Tyler's "advice."
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19 comments:

Alicia said...

Wow..I would think there would be more mixed Asians and Caucasians in the city! Well, here in the Bay Area...everyone is mixed! I think if the parents are really into their cultures, the kids will be too!

The Blonde Duck said...

LOL! We're all a big mix. It's all good.

Stesha said...

The melting pot that never stops melting!

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

FrankandMary said...

Haaaaaaaaaaaaa. On not being responsible for his advice. I think he did a very good job, and kept the interest level high also.

I've tasted Natto. Unfortunately. Oh yuccck.Sorry, but really...
~Mary

So said...

It sounds like Emi has a lot to learn from both cultures. Hopefully she will learn not to serve Natto, ew.

I wish we had a little bit more cultural diversity around these parts. I have two nieces who have been adopted from China and they struggle with looking different from everyone else, even though they are gorgeous.

Karen said...

Try this for some interracial parenting: I'm Japanese American and I'm married to your average white mutt. We have a daughter adopted from Korea. Every holiday we spend with my very Japanese mother, we introduce her to things like natto and octopus. Then we go to my in-laws house and she spends time with her Hispanic grandfather (my husband's stepfather) and he introduces her to traditional Mexican food. Yes, it's the great American melting pot here...

Shupe said...

Tyler-
It's nice to hear this from your point of view!
I think Emi will get the best of everything when you mix and match all the great parts of both cultures!
THAT is the best part 'bout SF- You can't help it there!
Could be stuck here with the rednecks I live amongst!
But talk about mixed- My children are :
Irish, Danish, Sweedish, Polish, Welch, French Canadian, British!
That was a mouth full! I'm minus the last two- so they had no hope!

Laura said...

This is great advice. I also think that you have to pick an accepting city like San Francisco or New York to give children the best start they can have.

I love your thoughts! When you get a chance come and stop by and enter my Valentine's Day contest.

Kim said...

Thanks for my Word of the Day. Immiscible!

B said...

Tyler. I can't believe the ladies of Three Bay B Chicks are leaving you hanging out there on your own and saying they take no responsibility for your "advice" when they ask to to come in for a visit.

I do agree though, my daughter is three fold mix and we've decided to just do what we want, and she can be her own person, not asian, not native, not white. She can pick and choose who she wants to be and her cultural background isn't going to determine it for her (I'm adamant about that).

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

Thanks for the advice! It will be helpful with my children...my husband is Polish-Irish and I'm Irish-English-Scottish-Welsh. Now they won't be doomed to cultural confusion because of your wisdom! ;o)

Help Que and Brittany Adopt said...

What a wonderful post- thank you!

Grand Pooba said...

Ok, the post made sense to me at the end when I found out it was your husband! Come on, I'm a blonde, you need to type slowly and use little words!

But seriously, I think Asian/caucasian babies are just adorable. It's funny you post this today because I was heard on the radio this morning that in the future we will all be the same color. They said that if everyone is doing everyone then generations from now, there will be one race.

Isn't that wierd? I've never thought of that before! What do you think?

Kathy said...

How lucky for Emi that she has a cultural leg-up on her peers! I believe most of us are mutts, right? Lucky for me I'm adopted; so I just re-invent my heritage depending on the situation and the audience :)

Nana said...

We are a melting pot that is for sure. I see everyone was thinking the same thing as me. What a cute little girl. So cool for her to grow up with two wonderful cultures.

wenbren explains it all said...

Yeah we have to incorporate a little of where we came from, my kids are mexican-caucasian and they get the best of both worlds!P.S.Check out my new post and poll!

Tina said...

I know what you mean. My children are half Chinese, half white. My husband and I have a some different ideas on how to raise them and so do our families.

Anonymous said...

She'll be fine being bilingual i'm mixed and i've spoken both languages since i was young and i've never been confused.

Anonymous said...

Ugly kid