1. I am:
Mostly Romanian and German, with the rest a mix of English and Irish. In other words, white. The most recent immigrants in my family tree came to the States in the early twentieth century; the earliest arrived with the first English ships in the Virginia colony.
2. My kid is:
Also white. Puppy is mostly Swedish on his first dad's side. His maternal line is murkier, because of K's closed adoption, but she was told she has French Canadian and Irish ancestry. K's adoptive mom is a German immigrant, so he has cultural German ties on both his adoptive and biological sides.
3. I first started thinking more about race, culture, and identity when:
I only really started thinking about it when I left the Pacific Northwest to attend college in Los Angeles. I arrived a few months after the riots sparked by the Rodney King beating trial verdict and was there through the entire OJ Simpson saga--race was at the forefront of most community-wide conversations at the time. The campus was determined to reflect and interact with the multicultural reality of its surroundings, a mission that influenced everything from admissions policies (to the horror of generations of alumni) to coursework. Race, culture and identity were constant topics in the classrooms, the dorms, and the Christian fellowship I joined. I eventually went into American Studies so I could really dig into the ways race, class, and gender intersect in our society.
4. People think my name is:
Generic. For a white girl born in the 1970s, the only name more common than Heather is Jennifer. My German last name was pushed into middle-name obscurity when I took on T's vaguely Southern last name.
5. The family tradition I most want to pass on is:
A value for independence and pursuing your passions.
6. The family tradition I least want to pass on is:
Our nervousness about getting truly vulnerable in our conversations with each other.
7. My child’s first word in English was:
8. My child’s first non-English word was:
"Please" in American Sign Language. His first spoken non-English word was "agua" (water in Spanish). I have no idea where he picked it up.
9. The non-English word/phrase most used in my home is:
10. One thing I love about being a parent is:
Constantly being surprised by a new facet of my son's personality, a new skill of his, or a new way he interacts with his world.
11. One thing I hate about being a parent is:
Not leaving the house together with my husband after the boy goes to bed. No more late-evening walks or hours idling over pastries at the neighborhood coffee house. Sigh.
12. To me, being an anti-racist parent means:
Self-examination. Humility. Open ears. Open mind. Taking advantage of teachable moments.