Thursday, October 4, 2012

What Am I?

The ever infamous question from a biracial child, "What am I?"  Standing in the kitchen, preparing dinner yesterday, R asks me,"What is Cuban?"
I said, "Well it depends on the context you're using it.  A Cuban is a popular sandwich, or a Cuban is a person from Cuba.  Why do you ask?"
"Am I Cuban?"
"No, buddy, you're not Cuban?"
"Well, what am I?"
"You're black and white."
"But what does that mean?"
"It means you're Caucasian and African-American."
"I'm African?"
"Tell you what buddy, lets wait until you're dad gets home, and let him explain it to you.  He can explain it much better since he's black and white too."

Insert Dad, home from work.

"Hey Babe, R wants to know what he is?  He asked me if he was Cuban.  I told him he's black and white, but I think you can explain it better for him."
R is listening.
"Buddy, you are like me.  We are black and white.  That means we came from one white parent and one black parent."
R says, "And Landon too?"
"No, Landon comes from one white parent, and one mixed parent, so he's more white than black.  Look at it this many quarters does it take to make a dollar?"
R, "Four."
"Okay, say you are those 4 quarters.  2 of your quarters are black and 2 of your quarters are white, which means half of you is black and half of you is white.  But Landon would be 1 black quarter and 3 white quarters."
Me, "Wow Babe, that is a great way to explain it.  I would have never thought of it that way."
R says, "People at my old school called me black."
Me, "Well you are black."
R, "I'm tan.  I can say I'm black or white."
Me, "Yes, you can.  So what brought on this question today, R?  Did someone ask you what you are?"
"No, I was just asking."
"Well, why did you ask if you were Cuban?  Did someone tell you you were Cuban?"
"Yeah, Grandma and Stacie (biological mother), told me I was Cuban?"
Me and Dad, with emphasis, "R, you are not Cuban and we don't know why they would tell you that."

R and Dad on the 4th of July
Although we do know why they told him that.  They made it very clear in their household that they weren't accepting of black people.  They made him feel ashamed and embarrassed of his skin color.  They spoke very negative of black people in front of him and us when we were there.  I'm guessing they didn't know my husband is black and white.  It was at that moment that Marc said he wanted to take this boy away.  And now he's in a home where he looks like and can relate to his family.  Since day one of meeting us, he has talked about how him, my husband, and my son, look alike.


  1. Sounds like he has his place with y'all and he is happy! That is an awesome way to explain it as Marc did! I would have never thought that either!!

  2. You keep making me cry Hollie! I think it is so incredible what you and Marc are doing for Robert! I know it's really tough, but if anyone can do it, you can!

  3. Such a great way of explaining it. And how sweet that he will see he belongs just the way he is. Off topic, but do you watch Parenthood? Because it is such a great show, and they just had an episode that was somewhat similar. Love this post, Hollie!

  4. Thank you, ladies! So sweet of you guys. And Chandra, I have been an avid fan of Parenthood since the first episode. It always pertains to my life somehow, especially at the beginning of this season, when Julia said she was just waiting to fall in love with her adopted son. Great show!

  5. Marc did a great job explaining to Robert. I had a had a problem with as well growing up too. When I was told that I was black, I responded just as Robert did. You guys are wonderful parents!