Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 88 - Zac Smith & Politically Correct?

I saw this video on another blog this morning and Zac Smith and his family have been on my mind today. I am praying for a miracle...will you join me?

The Story of Zac Smith from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

I feel a little silly even writing a post after that amazing video, but since I am blogging we go...

I know that our society is all about being "politically correct" these days. In general, I agree that most "politically correct terms" are much more desirable and acceptable than the alternatives. However, being politically correct isn't always "technically correct."

Disclaimer: Don't worry...this blog isn't turning serious or political :o) Haha! If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you already know that :o) Haha! This blog always has been and always will be about my love for my PRECIOUS, SMART, ADORABLE, WITTY, WONDERFUL little girls (and boy & hubby), crafts and having fun...okay maybe a little rant here and there...but this blog really just reflects our everyday life :o)

On Day 71, I posted about about the 2010 Census. I commented on the fact that there wasn't a "box" for Julianne's race. There is a Vietnamese Box for Sophie Le, but no Ethiopian box. Therefore, I wrote in "Ethiopian" in the "other box." There is actually a movement in different races to get their particular race included...the one that comes to mind that I have read about on several adoption blogs is Taiwanese. When I wrote in Ethiopian, I wasn't necessarily advocating for an Ethiopian box in the future, I was just being "technically correct." However, if they choose to have an Ethiopian box in the future, I will be tickled!

The reason I am writing about this is because I got a VERY NICE comment on that blog post earlier this week...

Jebena said...
There is a box for Julianne, although she is Ethiopian, she is African decent and here in America, that means you are the Mother of a beautiful African American girl :)

Keep up the wonderful parenting, you are to be honored on so many levels in all that you do as a Mother!

March 23, 2010 4:36 PM

As nice and sweet (and I LOVE nice and sweet comments!) as the comment was, it kinda made me feel like people may have misinterpreted my intentions of writing in Ethiopian on the census rather than checking the "African American" box. I am not opposed to marking "African American" for Julianne. However, Julianne IS NOT an AMERICAN. Unlike Sophie Le, Julianne entered the United States on a IR-3 visa which means she is in America on a green card. We will readopt her here in the United States and then apply for her American citizenship.

So to be "technically correct," Julianne is an Ethiopian living in the United States on a green card.

Honestly, I couldn't care less which box my kids are in. They are just my kids. I didn't even want to fill out the census...I know, I know...don't judge. However, I did fill out the form. In my pre-mommy days (man, that seems like a lifetime ago!), I was a CPA. I chose that career because I like numbers and I like to follow rules and I like things to be organized, fair and correct :o) So, if there is a box for Sophie Le, I think there should be one for Julianne :o)

This also reminds me of an interesting conversation I heard the other day. See, this is why I don't write about these things...I just ramble :o) So I was standing in the checkout line at a store and a lady came up behind me in line. A cashier from the lane next to us came over and asked her if she had a return to make (this cashier could check her out, but could not make returns). Here is how the conversation went from there...

Lady: Yes, I brought some greenery in a few minutes ago and gave it to a black girl that was working at that register (which was now empty).

At this point, I turned around and glanced in her direction. Not a dirty look, just a glance because she was talking. I am sure I am not the only one that turns around when someone behind you speaks :o) However, when I turned around, the lady made eye contact with me and then she looked at Jonah in my arms.

Lady: Ummm, I mean African. Ummm, the girl...she was African American. She took my return and put it under the counter.

I think it is beyond funny that she felt the need to be politically correct for me :o) Haha! In my family, we would never refer to the cashier as "African American." I would probably not think to describe the cashier in terms of her skin color...I mean, really there were only like three cashiers working...I think they could have figured out who the missing one was :o) However, if we felt the need to describe the cashier's skin color, we would probably say she was "dark brown." I say probably because I didn't see her...there is a chance she was light brown :o) In our family, we have three "peaches," two "light browns," and one "dark brown." These aren't terms my hubby or I introduced, these are terms Hillary Ashton came up with and they make sense so we use them.

But her comment brings up another questions...Why are all dark skinned people labeled "African American?" No matter where they are from, no matter what language they speak. People from China are usually referred to as "Chinese" not "Asian Americans." Why do they get a breakout? Come to think of it, I have never had anyone say Sophie Le is "Asian American."

Why are Julianne and Jonah both considered "African American?" They are VERY different. She was born in Africa. She has brothers, sisters, uncles & aunts living there right now. Jonah was born here in the United States. His immediate family lives here...and they have for many, many generations. I feel I have a lot more in common with Jonah than Julianne...culturally speaking. Why wouldn't Jonah and I have the same box...we were both born in the United States and "speak" the same language. Why is "African American" such a broad label?

So long story short...yes, we will be very happy when our daughter is technically an African AMERICAN :o) Mostly because that will mean we are FINALLY done with all of her paperwork...haha!

Milestones...Jonah rolled over all by himself last Friday and today he scooted about 2 1/2 feet across the floor...on his belly...backwards!!! So sweet!!!

And just because...


Tricia said...

Very interesting. I am glad you felt the need to ramble. Thanks for sharing. And, thank you, it is good to be home.

Jason and Erin said...

That makes me laugh. My family grew up with our "English boys", foreign exchange students who never went home! They are our tall, big brown brothers! But people often refer to them as "African-American". Which is hilarious, because they are actually neither! They are British, which really throws people off with the accent, and they aren't African at all! Their dad is from St. Lucia. So imagine, with a British accent, of course, a giant brown person saying, "No, actually, I'm not African-American. I'm British-St. Lucian." I love the reactions! I just think it's funny that, in an honest effort to be PC, we end up becoming more uncomfortable and making others uncomfortable than if we hadn't said anything at all! Here's a minor tangent, then I'll leave you alone. The other night at a restaurant, a lady came in who was quite overweight. I PRAYED the ENTIRE meal that Loston wouldn't make a comment. He would never mean anything hateful, of course, but she was rather conspicuous, and I wouldn't know how to handle that! Any thoughts?

Lisa said...

I like your ramblings too! From some of the reading I've done, "African-American" is the term used because it is impossible to know a more specific term. Because these people's ancestors were stripped of their identities when they were brought here on slave ships, they have no way of claiming their heritage in a specific way. It was quite a poignant moment for me when I realized that fact. It is so cool that J will always know that she is an Ethiopia-American.

Dianna said...

Amy, just a tip from someone who's BTDT - do NOT change Julianne's name legally at the same time that you do the readoption unless you already have a SSN for her. Our SS office wouldn't let us get a SSN for Phoebe until the readoption was complete and we had a state birth certificate. We changed her name at the same time and now her green card and her legal name don't match - creating all sorts of new problems. :)

Neil, Amy and The Girls said...

@Erin - That is funny! I am sure they made people do a double take when they spoke :o) As far as larger people...the only advice I have is to pre-teach. We had this very situation with Hillary Ashton. She used to be very blunt (and loud) with her observations. I about died one day when she said, "Hey, look! That is a big mama!" Oh my goodness! I was so embarrassed! She also said a few times, "Wow, that's a big one." I had to tell her that it hurts peoples' feelings when you say things like that. She felt really bad and cried...she had no idea what she was saying came across as mean! She hasn't said anything like that since. Good luck with Loston!

@Dianna - Thanks for the tip! We have never dealt with a greencard adoption before.

Dawn said...

This is the exact same conversation that I just had with my husband over the census. We have a Vietnamese daughter and an Ethiopia son, which isn't an African American either. How funny!I could not figure out why they had the Asian countries broke down and not any other continent. Weird! But what I think is even more weird, to be "politically correct", they should not even ask. Aren't we all just people? Who cares what shade our skin is.

Renee said...

Henok was completely offended when I called other people African American. He said, "Mom, don't call brown people that. They are not Africa anything. I am from Africa and THEY are just Americans like everybody else." I've since decided to refer to myself as "European American".