Anti-Racist Parent meme

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Awhile back, Jason Sperber from Rice Daddies (and Anti-Racist Parent columnist!) and Eliaday from Kimchi Mamas started an APA Parenting Meme.

I thought it might be fun to riff on that and adapt it for Anti-Racist Parent readers and columnists.

So here are my answers to the questions below. Please post yours in the comment section, and/or on your own blogs! I think it’ll be fun to learn more about each other in this way. I’m going to tag all our ARP columnists!

1. I am:
Chinese and Belgian. More specifically, my mom was born in Hong Kong but my grandparents came over from Chiu Chow province in China. My father’s side of the family is from the Flemish part of Belgium. Good, healthy peasant stock from both sides of my family.

2. My kids are:
I don’t have kids yet, but they’re in the 5-year plan.

3. I first started thinking more about race, culture, and identity when:
I moved to the U.S. in 1995. I grew up in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Belgium. Being mixed, I always had some feelings of not quite fitting in. But generally speaking, I identified as mixed and most people identified me as such too, so I wouldn’t say that I struggled that much with my identity. What I wasn’t prepared for when I moved to the U.S. was the discomfort with mixed race identity. When people asked me where I was from, or why my last name was Van Kerckhove, I would launch into an explanation of my background. Inevitably, they would say, “Oh so you’re really just Asian then.”

4. People think my name is:
Germanic last name? Spanish first name? It confuses the hell out of everyone, and when they see what I look like, they’re even more puzzled. ;)

5. The family tradition I most want to pass on is:
An emphasis on academic excellence.

6. The family tradition I least want to pass on is:
Disdain for exercise. Both of my parents were extremely uninterested in athleticism, and would even help get me out of PE class by writing notes for me.

7. My child’s first word in English was:
See no. 2

8. My child’s first non-English word was:
See no. 2

9. The non-English word/phrase most used in my home is:
Sum ling seung tung. A Cantonese phrase that translates roughly as two hearts being connected. Totally cheesy, I know, but it’s the phrase that best captures the feeling I get when Mr. Carmen says something I was just about to say, or we finish each other’s sentences. And it happens on an almost daily basis.

10. One thing I love about being a parent is:
See no. 2

11. One thing I hate about being a parent is:
See no. 2

12. To me, being an anti-racist parent means:
It means that I never stop working on myself. I want to keep reading, writing, learning, and reflecting so that I can be the best role-model and influence I can be to my future children.

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