Friday, April 17, 2009

Scientist or Mathematician?

Setting the scene...

AA and I are in a Publix supermarket grabbing a few last minute items for dinner. AA, as is the norm, is running around beside me. In the distance I spy an elderly gentleman making his way towards us. He's not taking his eyes off AA so I know we're fixing to have a conversation.

How old is she?

A tad over 2 and a half.

Does she speak Chinese?

No, not really (more like Elmo speak but I keep that thought to myself).

Take long to get her?

Over 3 years...

Fill in additional small talk here (glad he doesn't ask if she likes rice).

Well, Alyzabeth. Tell the gentleman bye-bye.

Bye (pronounced with unmistakably developing southern drawl).

I bet she grows up to be a really good scientist or mathematician.

Slightly bemused (I think), you never know, says I... as we twirl and hop away, occasionally stopping to stand on one leg.
Taking leave of our conversation with an older gentleman working his way through a bit of stereotyping.



Kelly And Allison said...

OMG.. I can so identify with that. Think about the pressure those kids growing up. If they are not good at math, something must be wrong with them. My older one doesn't like books, but enjoy anything outdoors. Is she Chinese, of course.

Here is what I wrote couple months ago..


a Tonggu Momma said...

I think one of the hardest things about this situation is balancing out educating others versus teaching our children tolerance and being polite. You just kind of have to feel out each situation as it comes. Sometimes all you CAN do is smile.

Mama Duck said...

So funny! We have a neighbor who asked us (when Chloe was just 10 months old) if she'd start speaking Chinese when she learned to talk. His wife smacked him. I thought that was hilarious. Imagine, a baby who spontaneously starts speaking Chinese!

Dale said...

Yes, I hear you. My father in law thinks we're going to have to learn to speak Chinese when she gets older... he bought a dictionary and shouts Chinese phrases at my daughter, who is 14 mos old, and she looks at him and smiles. Its a riot. At least they didn't ask how much AA cost.

Pug Mama said...

Sometimes you just need to smile and walk away.
Can't educate everyone....

Colleen said...

OMW I tell you sometimes I have no patience for such ignorant statements...the worst I heard yet was when one of my old neighbors said "I bet she is good at ping pong".

Dita said...

I have recieved my fair share of stereotyped comments about my son's heritage, sadly enough, from family members who are educated enough to know better. I find that these stereotyped comments do come mostly from the older generations but their work at "educating" their younger generations is evident when I hear comments from them once in a while.

Given that I am not the strong silent type, I tend to open my mouth VERY wide often.

I can say that it is my hope that with the changing landscape of our world, our children will be less judged/stereotyped by the color of their skin and much more by the value they bring to society