A Heartbreaking Question

As I was getting my daughters ready for bed, my four-year-old asked me a question that took me completely off guard. “Daddy, do I look American?”

I frowned and after getting over my shock I answered, “Of course you do, honey. Why wouldn’t you?”

I don’t know what is more heartbreaking; that she asked the question at all, or that there is no shortage of people out there that would disagree with my answer.

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4 Responses to “A Heartbreaking Question”

  1. Damien says:

    The question you should be asking yourself next is, “Why did she ask me this question, and why now?” These questions rarely come out of the blue. My wife is a 2nd generation Japanese immigrant and it’s a topic we’ve discussed in detail because, unfortunately, her parents had the same issues. Our daughter might be too young to worry about things like xenophobia or racism, but being the child of a full-blooded Highlands Scotsman and a classic Japanese woman she’s bound to run into the issue regardless of which of us she ends up taking more after. Luckily she’s only 6 months old, so I’ve got a little time 😉

  2. SylviaM says:

    🙁 Damien’s right about finding out why she asked; where is she getting this idea that Americans look a certain way? I hate using this metaphor because it makes her sound like a soldier*; but finding out the answer to that question (from her or elsewhere) will better equip you and her for whatever ridiculousness comes later in all of your lives.

    Damn. I want to hug her right now and give her a red white and blue cookie. It’d be the American Way.

    *Or maybe it’s just me. I think “equip” and it leads to “defense” and that makes me think of “basic training” which makes me think of “soldiers and civil service.”

  3. Thanks guys. It’s funny, the question of what specifically led her to ask that question never really crossed my mind, but when I relayed this to my wife, that was almost the first question out of her mouth. Unfortunately, Keiki just shrugged, so we don’t know if this is something specific directed at her, or if she picked it up in some sort of innocuous way I can’t imagine.

    As for the boot campy stuff, don’t worry Sylvia. Having been through bootcamp, I don’t associate the term “equip” with military stuff. I’ve done more “equipping” in videogames than I did during my ten years in the service.

    Ah, and six months Damien… heheheheh, you unfortunately have the ancient curse of interesting times ahead of you. It’s a good curse, but a curse all the same.

  4. Oh, and the red white and blue cookie idea was uber cute.

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