I Got it From My Mama

My friend has this theory, about mixed race families and cultural heritage. The theory is, mixed race children inherit culture more strongly from their mothers, and so you can usually tell which side is what from the way children culturally identify.

The theory isn’t that outrageous, if you believe that women are naturally more nurturing and tend to spend more time with their children because of societal norms. We don’t have the space to debate that, so instead of debating the theory, we can debate some real life examples.

1. Me. Multiracial, Asian and white. I write an Asian American blog, work for an Asian American Studies Program, go to an Asian American church. Mother = Asian. Check.

2. “Kimmy”. Multiethnic, Korean and Chinese. Goes to a Chinese church, knows Chinese culture better, likes Korean Melona bars. Mother = Chinese. Check.

3. Barak Obama. Multiracial, black and white. First black president of the United States. Mother = white. No check.

4. James McBride. Multiracial, black and white. Wrote “The C0lor of Water, a Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother.” Mother = white. No check.

So it’s more complicated that who your mother is, yes? Other factors may include: what the racial/ethnic mix is; how culturally involved your mother is; where you grow up. Myth busted.


One thought on “I Got it From My Mama

  1. In the US, white is the cultural “norm”, so white behaviour is typified as normal, whereas any other behaviour would be labelled “ethnic”. In the four examples you gave, all of them were identified by their “non-whiteness”.

    Food for thought.

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