What!? I’m not American?

Last week I was watching another episode of ‘Desperate Housewives’ and it started to hit me too — essentially, the Solis family is of Hispanic descent and it seems their 7-year old daughter only figures this out at the admissions office of her new school. She is going in to meet with the principal for an interview and testing and the principal says how nice it is to have a diversity and a Mexican-American family at their school. The girl freaks out and says with a tear in her eye, “I’m Mexican!? I thought I was American!” It is enough to make you giggle. The parents have to explain to her later that she is Latino and that her grandparents are Mexican. She does not grasp it. They wonder how could a 7-year old not notice that we are of Hispanic heritage…. as they look around at their white Anglo Saxon neighborhood and their own habits they realize they never kept their heritage alive.

In any case, applying this to us, I realize as we walk through stores and restaurants, I am not sure my daughter knows that she is Indian-American and I doubt she will know this for sometime. She does not yet identify color or language as something “different”. She just falls into place at school with all the other Caucasian, Indian-American, and Hispanic kids and goes about her business. While she is not color blind in the medical sense, she certainly is in the race-sense. In any case, as I look around our neighborhood, my work colleagues and the kids she goes to school with, I realize we will have to teach her about our heritage, our culture, and our religion because she could fall prey to the same dilemma little Solis faced on ‘Desperate Housewives’ and one day, she may say, “I’m Indian? WHAT! I thought I was American.”

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