Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is he your biological son?

Is never an appropriate question.

Never relevant.

Unless you are a doctor trying to determine his fate after I've been diagnosed with some deadly genetic condition, it's none of your fucking business.

Just because we're both black, with natural hair and you've got quirky glasses and I've got a funky purse, doesn't give you the right to know whom I've expelled from my womb.

After a terse yes, I turned my back and let Thelonious give her the stink eye the few stops that remained before we exited the train. (I'm the chatty type, so if I'm ignoring someone, my kids intuit something is amiss).

I understand the curiosity. But simple home training separates wanting to know and having to ask.

Of my two children, my son looks most like me. Same face, same 24-7 mega smile. But the color struck among us never get past his fair skin, fine hair or blue eyes. Ironically, we were on the way home from a fantastic puppet show during which an elderly white couple, there with their youngest grandchild, were very sweet to us. And at no point questioned the exact nature of the relationship between myself and my child. Say what you want about older white Southerners (these folks could have been hard core segregationists for all I know) but they understand the art of polite small talk.


  1. Wow! That is really crazy! People can be so inappropriate! I've shared with you before about my husband's now-former co-worker who is Japanese and his wife is Caucasian. She has become very, very tired of the question, "Did you adopt her from China?" Adoption questions should be placed on the list of questions you should never ask someone...such as "Have you gained weight?" "How old are you?" "How much money do you make?" All questions very impolite to ask!

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  3. Yup, moms who don't share an exact phenotype with our kiddos have a sisterhood, whatever combination our families consist of.

    Whenever I'm primed for that line of questioning it never happens. I've promised myself that next time I'm going to take a deep breath and ask the person what it is they are *truly* after, why they think this is acceptable chit chat and to please to think long and hard before they ask the next multi ethnic family they encounter the same dumb ass queries.