"And in America, because of her appearance, she is seen as Chinese and perpetually foreign (after all, she can't even grow up to be President ..."
I just found your blog through google search. I have read a lot of them and thoroughly enjoyed them. I can relate to many of the things you have written about raising bi-cultural kids. I am Chinese from Fujian, China, and educated in Xiamen University in the 80's (that's how I
stumbled upon your blogs when googling with keywords 'Xiamen Blogs by Americans'). I left Xiamen in 1989 for the U.S. and have never had a chance to visit XiaDa since. I have been to China many times, though. Since my wife and I are both Chinese, our kids are naturally - you guess it right - Chinese-looking. Our kids speak Chinese at home and we have a Chinese nanny
who doesn't speak English. That helps with their Chinese. Just like you, I want my kids to feel comfortable being American as well as Chinese. As far as I can tell(from other older Chinese kids born and raised in America), it's very hard for Chinese-looking kids to feel American even though they are born in America and speak unaccented English. No matter how hard they try, they will still be viewed as Chinese. My 8-year old daughter was very heart broken one day when two of her best friends at school decided not to let her sit with them and told her that "We have lighter skin. You have darker skin." Race issue will never be over.
BTW, on another post, you wrote that your Chinese students didn't think "China has a race issue since its people are homogeneous." Nothing can be farther away from the truth. Chinese have always been one of the most racist people in the history. Ask any of your Fujian, Guangdon, or other Southern students to tell you the literal meaning of the word 'foreigner' in
their dialect. It has a derogatory racist connoation. Maybe the English equivalent is "uncivilized barbarians"? Can you imagine anyone in America label another group as barbarians? Well, maybe except for the Southern rednecks. Those guys can even make a living poking fun at themselves. You should ask your students what they think if they are married to an African or black Indian? Chinese in general are fine with Caucasians but are not at all the case with black folks. We can only hope one day people would actually look at each other by the content of one's
character instead of the skin color.
If this were an exam, I'd just write "Discuss."