Last week, while registering my daughter for pre-k, one of the questionnaires tucked in with all the other registration paperwork, asked about her ethnicity. The usual options were given: Black, White, Hispanic, Asian etc. I selected the two that applied to her and continued to fill out the rest of the paperwork. When I took everything back to the desk for inspection before submitting into the system, the lovely lady doing my application quietly explained that I was only able to select just one option for ethnicity/race since their computer system will only accept one!
I stood there dumb-founded, trying to make sense of what she had just said. I’m not the one to make a scene, as I am often asked to repeat myself since I speak so softly sometimes, so I politely asked, ” Why? Why in 2015, when bi-racial unions/ marriages etc have produced bi-racial children, have they not thought of updating such a critical facet to their survey system?” Well, to be honest, I didn’t say it so eloquently but I do remember asking, “How can you ask me to choose?”
She agreed with me, then proceeded to explain that many other parents have asked the very same question, which makes me wonder what our new mayor Mr De Blasio puts on his application when filling out such questionnaires for his bi-racial, city-schooled kids? This is one of those issues that won’t be resolved by making waves at the school. After all, I’m new, and I’m sure there will be many battles to fight in the years ahead (Why do I have a 4 yr old at age 40 again? Oye!), but if change must come this issue needs to be handled at a city level, which is why I think a letter to our dear Mayor is in order. I am hoping that since he too is new, and in full swing of making and effecting huge changes to the way the city does things, then maybe, just maybe, my letter will be received with an open mind — especially since this matter speaks of his bi-racial family composition directly.
I’ve never written to a city official before, at least not outside signing petitions, completing census surveys or attaching my signature to a tax check destined for dear old Uncle Sam, so to be honest, I’m not sure what to say. But I feel this is a letter I must write and I hope the good Mayor sees it before his exit from office.
Ultimately, I had to choose an option, as I was in a rush, had no desire to argue and knew fully well fussing wouldn’t make much difference. I chose the most logical option and these are the factors that attributed to my final selection:
- My daughter lives with me since her dad and I are separated and heading for divorce. So eventually I will have sole custody and I will make all decisions for her well being, which I already do anyways.
- Even if she has her dad’s complexion and would more easily be associated with his racial status, I make an effort to expose her to many different cultures and ways of thinking so ultimately whether I choose one or the other I hope to incorporate as much of his ethnicity into her life as I can so she knows and appreciates her ethnic origins — I love diversity and wouldn’t want to rob her of that!
- Spite. Why should I choose his ethnicity when I’m the one raising her ALL BY MYSELF!!! (Not the best of reasons but, hey, I’m human and have lots to be angry about when it comes to him).
So there, unsettling as all this was, I finally chose my ethnicity and the kind lady at the desk agreed (like she even had a choice… lol). Now off to work on my letter to Mayor De Blasio. Wish me luck ! ^_^
Written: June 22 2015 | Edited: June 26 2015 | Copyright 2015 Moylom Enterprises