“Mommy, when I grow up, will I be from someplace else like you?” K, who is six, asked as we lay in bed this morning, just before getting up.
“What do you mean?” I asked, though I was afraid I already knew.
“I don’t want to be from China. I want to be from your world” she wailed as she buried her head in the pillow.
We had a short discussion, including how being from China is not bad and is worthy of pride. That part of her story is that she was born in China, and will always be true. It seems at least one boy in her class has been asking her where she’s from, and even one of the teacher aids who helps out in the afternoon asked as well. She didn’t like being asked and said she wanted it to be “secret”. I tried to clarify the difference between secret and private, and agreed that she does not have to answer the question if she doesn’t want to, and may keep it private if she chooses. I did point out that people can tell by looking at her that she is Asian, though they may not know for sure which country she originates from. I happen to know that another classmate of hers was born in Cambodia, so I reminded her not everyone in her class was born in the United States.
I will be talking with the teacher this afternoon about privacy around questions, and that K does not wish to be “on display”. I don’t know if the teacher has witnessed anything, but my dealings with her so far have been overwhelmingly positive and K adores her. I hope my feelings about her are correct, and that she will leap to be K’s advocate in all this.