Ask ARP: How to instill pride in race and heritage for adopted son?

Dear Anti-Racist Parent,

ask anti-racist parentWe are soon to be a multicultural family and I am from the belief that every culture has a rich heritage to be embraced. Our son is coming from China and I have not been content with the way some of my peers have incorporated their child’s culture into their everyday lives. I am looking for ways to give my son a positive self image about who he is as a whole but I don’t know how. Maybe you folks can help.

I have never heard of the ice cream of coffee descriptions (honestly as a pretty ignorant white person I found it ridiculous). I want to go beyond heritage camps and learning from books but again nothing. I don’t even know what to ask but I do know I want my son to be proud of his race and heritage-I just want to know how. I want him to deal with racism face on but how can I each him when I have never been on the receiving side of it.

Here is my question-I have been trying to become friends with some people who are also from China within our community-how do we break down those awkward moments of trying to be respectful. It seems very hard to do. We have asked people over and such but no go. What are we doing wrong? I feel the best way to help our son be comfortable with who he is -is to build relationships with people of his race and culture and not just occasional get together’s but real relationships. We are trying to do so before he joins our family.

I have had friends and family tell me I am doing too much in trying to learn about his culture and race. I have actually been asked how am I going to “Americanize” him if I keep exposing him to all “stuff that’s Chinese”. My response is no matter how much I expose him to his culture it will never be truly Chinese and he can’t help but become “Americanized” but once he leaves his country he will lose all that is authentically of his race and culture. I am trying to learn some Asian dishes to cook, and am getting some items to incorporate into our home decor that reflect the Chinese influence in our home. From there I am out of ideas.

Thank you for doing this – thank you for the honesty and mostly thank you for your help.

Lisa from MD

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