This past weekend, A's family was in town from Memphis for our belated wedding reception. The last time they were in Chicago was about 10 years ago, so we wanted to show them everything Chicago has to offer. Coincidentally, Kip Fulbeck's Part Asian, 100% Hapa solo exhibition was at The Field Museum.
A and I wanted to see this exhibit for awhile and with A's parents in town, it was the perfect time to go. For those who do not know, A is Jewish and I am Korean-American and we eloped 7 months ago, which is why the wedding reception was belated.
When we first started dating, both sides of our family, mainly our parents and grandparents, were disappointed and disapproving. Over time, both sides of our family have accepted and even embraced our relationship.
So we thought it would be interesting to us and A's parents to visit the exhibit to see what our kids could possibly look like. Hapa in the Hawaiian language, pidgin, means half and refers to an individual of mixed descent. In the past the term was derogatory, but now it is embraced as a term to describe individuals whose mixed descent includes Asian or Pacific Islander.
We don't think A's parents liked the exhibit as much as we did, b/c we don't think they understood why we were so excited, especially when we were looking at pictures of 1/2 Asian and 1/2 Jewish individuals.
Though we went to visit the exhibit to see kids that were half Asian and half Caucasian or hapa haole, the exhibit raised some very interesting points. Many people of mixed descent are asked "what are you" and often times they have to pick one race as their identity over the other. Though not the same, but somewhat analogous, we are often asked about Ms. M's genetic makeup.
The main guesses of her breed has been Boxer, American Bulldog, and American Pitbull Terrier and people like to point to specific phenotypic features to support their guess. On the other hand, Ms. M could care less about her genetic makeup, she just knows that she isn't human nor a cat and maybe not a basset hound. While some people see her as a vicious pitbull, she just thinks of herself as the cuddly, lap dog Ms. M. I realized that our future children could have some racial identity issues, and Ms. M would be a great role model. Hopefully they realize that labels that people give them are not important, it just makes it easier for certain people to use their preconceived notions to judge them, just like certain people can blindly judge Ms. M and Mr. B without meeting them.
And like Ms. M, hopefully our children could care less about their race and those of others and approach every person openly unless that person gives them a reason otherwise.