Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Damn and Gook

Frances said "Damn" the other day. She had been sleeping in her car seat, and I woke her up to take her out of the seat and she looked at me and said "damn." Suzanne was sitting there and she looked at me, and we said "did we just hear what we thought we heard?" And agreed that we did. Perhaps I am naively in love with this child, but I chose not to be offended by her choice of words. I think I read somewhere that "damn," in Chinese, means "hello beloved father, I am delighted to see you..." which means its another one of those expressions that suffers in translation--much like Frances' original name "Shi Tong" which means "red poem." Since I'm often called a communist when I talk politics, and since I am an English teacher, I felt "red poem" was an especially suitable name my child. (I still cringe when Frances gets mail from US Immigration addressed to "Shi T Lin" though)

I was, however, offended--only slightly--when someone left a comment calling Frances a "cute little yellow gook baby." I realize I should feel very sorry for this person, since he or she has nothing better to do than go around spreading hate on adoption blogs. What kind of life is that? Its a damn shame. But its interesting to me, because I've never been on this end of racism before. When I was in England in graduate school, I got some "anti-Americanism" from Brits on a bus--but once they found out I loathed George W. Bush more than they did, they didn't find me nearly as odious. But I'm a fat white boy--I've never thought about being on the recieving end of racism, and now I suppose its something I am going to have to be more aware of. I immediately deleted the comment, without even trying to see who would post such a thing, and am not sure if I regret doing that or not, because the poster might view that as a challenge to post another... next time I'll let it stay where it can be seen for what it is.

As Louie Crew says... Joy anyway.

4 comments:

Billy and Maggie said...

With all the words children here in the english language isnt it funny which ones they will pick up and use. When my son was a baby he did a "dern" good job leaving me red faced on more than one occassion : )

Glad to see your joy was not stolen! Very well put!

Carol said...

Sounds like something that Gerty would say.

Suzer said...

Sorry to hear that you had to endure such insensitivity and ignorance. But, as Billy and Maggie said, glad that your joy in your daughter is undiminished!

Merry Christmas!

G's Momma said...

Egads! Its hard to believe that a person would put such stupidity in writing. The only good thing I've found about encountering rascism is that its a good reminder that its there. Unfortunately, these ugly things are in some people's thoughts. Of course, I prefer if they're going to have such ugly thoughts, they keep them hidden in the dark recesses of their pitiful little minds instead of spewing them.

Susan
mom to Georgiana, dob 1/7/2008, ours forever 12/7/2008