Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Un millón de gracias

Author Monica Brown 
writes about the multicultural experience

In the 2013 Census, nine million people selected more than one race. In states like California, where I grew up, as well as Texas, and New York, half a million or more people, in each of these states, marked multiple-races. Yet when I became a mother of two beautiful daughters, Isabella and Juliana, I looked around and couldn’t find books that represented the multiplicity of our experiences as a family of two continents, many races, and diverse cultural traditions.  We are a nation of boxes, and until the 2000 census, we could mark only one.  It is unfortunate that many of our children’s books mirror only part of our culture and that many voices still go unheard.

My Personal Connection
My daughter, Isabella (named in honor of my mother Isabel Maria) was born in 1997 in Tennessee. We were living in a region of Tennessee where there were very few Latinos and race was defined in terms of black and white.  In the hospital, the nurses informed me that they adored my daughter, with her shock of black spiky hair, and that they called her “our little Eskimo.” My own family said, “She sure looks like a Valdivieso!” and yes, with in her dark eyes, light olive skin and beautiful black hair, I saw the face of my mestiza Peruvian Grandmother. But she also shared roots in Jewish Romania and Hungary, Scotland, and Italy. From my husband Jeff, came Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and Germany.  Surely a citizen of the world was born on that day in 1997.

No comments: