Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The beauty of diversity
One of the things that was at the forefront of my mind when I moved here in 2000 was that I wanted my daughter to have a VERY different childhood/educational experience than the one I had growing up from age 10 to 17 in Florida, living in an all Black neighborhood and attending all Black publicschools. Actually, I wanted her to have the diverse life I had growing up in Cali until my parents divorced when I was 10 years old.
Well her life hasn't been "diverse/Black enough" to me which I realize is a pretty ridiculous statement to make given that we quite deliberately live in the one of the least Black neighborhoods in metro DC (I've mentioned before that most Buppies in metro DC live in PG County, a county I refuse to live in because the public schools are crap despite having the highest per capita income of Blacks in the US). But that move was about getting her the best public education we could (and it's tops in the US), more than anything else.
So this year, when we were applying to summer camps for her to attend, I purposely picked one that I knew was targeted to Black girls because well, I wanted her to try to have more Black friends, girls with goals similar to hers. Well, the photo in this post is of my daughter's project group at camp and as you can see, the ONLY black girl in the photo is my kid. So I send my kid to an engineering camp with 80% Black girls, and she STILL ends up in a group full of Asian girls, LOL!!! And I should NOT be surprised. Her best friend is Chinese, most of the kids in the orchestra with her are Asian, and she's been taking Chinese language since she was in elementary school. Her bedroom is also full of Asian furniture and whatnots and has been since elementary school.
Now on one level, I'm thrilled she hangs with Chinese kids because when it comes to academics, these kids mean business. I've never seen one of them in "booty shorts", and when they come to our home, I eavesdrop on them talking about which classes to take and what college they want to attend. So when I asked her yesterday why she doesn't have many "other" friends, she responded that most of the "other" girls at her school are either too fast or too ghetto (and let me clarify, she ain't just talking about just Black girls here). What?!?! I can admit, that I've been looking at crotches and weave since she was in elementary school but I never expected to hear her say that. She does have one Black and one White girlfriend, but is that "enough"? Does that question even make sense?
I keep asking myself if it's okay that her main friends happen to be Asian, and I guess it should be because people should be allowed to be whomever they are and associate with people whom they have things in common with. And today's kids seems much more open minded about race than people in my generation were. People close to me tell me I'm worrying for no reason, that I should be happy she's not that into boys (yet), and seems so focused on having her own personal style, and being her own individual. And I am. I guess.