And now for something more serious
I happen to live in a very diverse neighborhood in a very diverse city, so my half-Korean, half-white daughter sees and interacts with many black and Latino adults and children on a daily basis, in addition to the white and Asian adults who are the center of her baby universe. But when she is ready to start school, I know that the "better" schools in our city tend to be more heavily white, and even in this diverse city, it is incredibly easy to be lazy and fall into only interacting with people of your own race. Having grown up as an Asian American daughter of immigrants in a Midwestern, nearly all-white environment (in my high school of 1,200 students, 10 of us were not white. TEN. Nine Asian kids, and one black kid), with all the self-loathing and baggage that goes along with that, I am most concerned about Bat Girl having lots of interactions with other Asians, so that she can know in her bones what it took me a lifetime to learn: that her Asian features are beautiful; that her heritage is something to be proud of, not ashamed of; that anyone who talks down to her or makes fun of her because of her race is a damn fool not worth the dirt on her shoes. I want her to wear her identity comfortably, feeling it as part of the fiber of her being, not as something she wishes she could peel off (which I am ashamed to say I felt growing up).
But I don't want her to live in a white/Asian cocoon, either. I want her to grow up with friends of all races, as my husband and I were unable to do. I want her to be able to travel and experience different cultures. And I want her to love and appreciate human differences. It makes me a little uncomfortable when people brag that their kid "doesn't even realize that the little black girl in their class is another color"--there's a naivete to that kind of aggressive color blindness (in an adult, not in a child) that bothers me. We are not all the same and I would far rather my child recognize that someone has a different skin color, ask about it, and accept that as one piece of what makes the person who they are. After all, I am Asian--I am not white and I do not consider it a compliment if someone says they don't even think of me as Asian. Race is important. It shouldn't be ignored.
One thing that has been worrying me lately: If something were to happen to both me and my husband, we've mostly agreed (we haven't made our wills yet, gulp) that our daughter should go to his sister, who is at this point the family member best equipped to raise her. (My parents are too old, my brother is still in school, my husband's mother is terminally ill and his father is crazy. We don't feel comfortable asking any of our friends to take her.) But she lives in a tiny rural white white white town, with her (sick) mother who is a lovely caring woman but who says things like "you know, black people are afraid of dogs" and refers to Asians as "Oriental." And the thought of my beautiful girl growing up in an environment like that, where she will not know a single other Asian person, where her only contact with her mother's culture may be a half-hearted attempt by her aunt to take her to a Chinese restaurant once in a while...it gives me a pit in my stomach. I know my sister-in-law would give up her life for my baby and would take good care of her. I've already told her that she has to keep my parents and brother in Bat Girl's life. I know that if Bat Girl loses both her parents, she will have much bigger issues than not knowing other Asian people. But it still bothers me. Which is maybe a sign that we need to rethink the whole guardian issue.
I don't know what I'm trying to say. I guess just that this race stuff is really, really hard. But we're trying.