Today I had a friend add highlights to my hair...and it ended up making me look more like Billy Idol on a bad hair day or perhaps ready to go surfin' in CA!! Hahahaha! My hair didn't end up highlighting at all but instead looks almost bleached blonde which wasn't the intention but might be fun until it grows out. When Matthew saw it, he had a very interesting reaction, when asked if he liked it he said that now I was like "the perfect race, blonde hair and blue eyed". Now this might not sound as bad once you recognize that he has this huge interest in history and Dominick and he had just had a conversation recently about Hitler and the "Master Race", but it really did make me stop and think about how my sons view their own race as well as ours. Do they really see white as "perfect"? Do they see themselves as somehow inferior? I of course, sputtered and reassured that I thought it was silly to think of any race as "perfect" and that I thought Asians were beautiful and that I wished I had darker skin like Matthew does so I wouldn't burn at every opportunity...but it felt so lame, so weak.
Later as I thought more about it, I realized that there is absolutely nothing I can do to change this...they are Asian and we are white and we can't paint ourselves different colors to look more alike. I also realized that regardless of my efforts to present positive Asian role models, to add diversity into their lives, they will always view themselves as different than us, because they are. It is not as if I hadn't understood this, but the reality of it sometimes hits you in the face like a ton of bricks just as it ocassionally does when someone unknown to me will ask me if I am babysitting because they can't see that these could possibly be my children. We are forever marked as a different family, but I think the main responsibility I have as a mother to my kids is to somehow get across the idea that "different" doesn't mean "bad" or "wrong". There are moments I feel fairly successful at this and then there are moments like the "perfect race" comment when I think I am an utter failure. How can I ever express to Matthew that there never lived a more "perfect" son than he or his brothers??