Sunday, November 22, 2009

Feminism and Children: on Raising Children for Abstract Concepts

A while back, a friend of mine suggested that to break the racism cycle so ingrained between generations, perhaps the Malaysian government could give "cash sweeteners when interracial couples marry."

Casting aside the obvious racism of this suggestion - that interracial couples would be valued more than mono-racial couples enough to receive privileges - I'm patently disturbed by the idea that interracial couples, producing interracial children, is going to solve the problem of racism.

I've written before on the problematic term "colourblind", and why discussions on race is still important, even though we know the concept of race to be a social construct. As Third Culture Kids know, navigating between the different cultures and never fitting in just one can be hard, particularly when people want to be territorial and demand that you take a side. I'm sure interracial children have similar problems - balancing between different heritages.

I reacted harshly against this idea, because essentially, it asks people to donate their children to an abstract cause - that of racial/national unity. Children who are, all in all, human beings, and we'll be using them for what are abstract concepts that can be shifted at will. Most people today wrestle with cultural concepts, trying to assimilate, appropriate, or mesh.

Bad enough that parents already pin all sorts of hopes on their children - be successful, be a good daughter, be a good wife, provide for your family, take care of your parents when they are old, become a great what-have-you, get promoted quickly. Be Perfect. Now we have suggestions of pinning hopes of an entire nation's unity - because apparently the adults can't do it themselves? - on them, just because they just so happen to be interracial. Because, you know, navigating between cultures and playing spokespersons come very naturally to interracial children!

No, not a burden at all. /sarcasm

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