Curious In A Very Positive Way

“I love that my older daughter makes reference to her friend, Regina, as brown.”

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In addition to the questions below, please see How to use the questions for reflecti..

Clarifying Questions
  • What does the speaker mean by “curious in a positive way?”
  • Why is the diversity of Hilltop House important to the speaker?
Interpretive Questions
  • Why might the speakers be concerned that others will stop seeing her family as “different in a positive way?”
  • What kinds of questions might the speaker not want her daughters to hear now that they are old enough to understand the questions? What impact could those questions have?
  • Why does the speaker correct her mother-in-law?
Implication Questions
  • Why do we tend to “lump all _____ people” in one group? What makes it hard to see the range that the speaker refers to?
  • What might we do to increase our ability to see the range within a group of people we perceive as different than ourselves?

Let us know how the conversation or self-reflection went. Email us or discuss the experience in our comment box.

Transcript for Curious In A Very Positive Way

So my husband and I, we’ve adopted two girls who were born in China. Early on when we adopted our first daughter and she came home as an eleven month old we felt really embraced and pleasantly surprised when going out in a restaurant or going out waiting in line at the store. The response that we would have most of the time from people in the community who would smile and say, ‘Oh isn’t she cute?’ and ask us questions–sometimes too many questions–but who were curious in a very positive way.

That was wonderful, I felt reaffirmed as an adoptive parent and I felt hopeful for the future of my daughter and how she would eventually live her young life out in this community. And I won’t say that that’s been replaced by anything negative, but when babies stop being babies, you don’t get the attention or the recognition that there’s something special about your family or something different in a positive way about your family.

You know, perhaps that’s fine because I don’t really need my eight year old hearing questions or too many comments from complete strangers when she can understand. But I do wonder about how things are going progress for her in Elementary School. That and I wonder how I’m going to help her navigate that because I haven’t had that experience of being the person of a different ethnicity in a community except for the short few weeks that I’ve been to China. I don’t really have an answer I guess we’ll just take it as it comes.

I’m a big advocate for the Hilltop House down on old campus. It was the only preschool that we would have considered just because it’s got such a diverse group of kids there. The teachers are diverse, ethnically diverse, there’s you know a span of socioeconomic backgrounds for these kids. I love that my older daughter makes reference to her friend Regina as brown. When I was a kid we didn’t talk about brown, it was black and white.

It’s just, it’s small, it’s really subtle, it wasn’t anything that we taught her, you know, that just also speaks to the real diversity and skin tone and facial features and hair that you just can’t lump all Chinese people in one group. We’ll all put our arms in the middle of the table and she’ll look at her younger sister’s skin color and mine and my husband’s. And, you know, you see that there’s a range, lighter than, darker than, I guess that’s the extent she has described her own skin color. My mother in law, she will describe my older daughter’s hair as black. I’ll say, “Well, no, it’s not black, it’s dark brown, it’s kind of like mine. It’s actually really close to my color.” Oh, and she’s, “Oh, I guess you’re right I just you know, just…” keep bouncing back to that thought about Chinese people having dark, black, straight hair. It’s not so simple as that.

  • Victoria B

    We can increase our ability to see the range of diversity in people by being more aware of how we describe people. By talking about people without generalizations based on their ethnicity, we are challenging ourselves not only to be more creative and precise in our language, but also more sensitive to what makes each person unique and how best you can represent a complex human being with simple descriptive words.