Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Monday, May 05, 2008

More Cultural Confusion

La Nina's latest homework assignment is a poster board doll we're supposed to decorate to represent our culture.  It came complete with instructions that parents were to be involved to help the children feel proud of their heritage.   Usually when we're assigned a project like this, I heave a sigh of relief and feel grateful our assignment is so easy.  We can celebrate China and be done with it.   

So, when I started discussing our doll's design with La Nina, she informed me she didn't want to do a China doll.  She said that she was tired of doing everything China and would rather do something different, like California.   My heart sunk.  What is culturally California?  An episode of the Brady Bunch served up to an Eagles or Beach Boy song?  So, I asked some other Moms how they were handling the assignment and here's a sampling of the advice I received.

"Just pick one and go with it," suggested one Mom.  "And don't throw out the doll, you can use it again next year for the Magster if it's good."  (An excellent example of recycling...I'm sure that's good for extra credit on Earth Day.)

"I married a pure blood Irishman, thank goodness," said another.  

"Yeah, I just say we're Irish, but really, I'm only a quarter,"  a third Mom chimed in.   "My daughter's an eighth Irish...after that it gets real confusing."

At what point do we chuck this whole multi-culturalism and declare ourselves Americans?  And why are we so reluctant to do so?  Has it become politically incorrect to be American?  I know most of the world thinks of us as shallow, isolationists with a penchant for global bullying.  I've heard all the jokes about our commitment to only speaking English.  I've watched enough television overseas to know most of the world thinks we're all about Baywatch and little else.  But so what?  We are who we are.   

Which bring me back to our heritage doll.  If La Nina wants to celebrate California on her doll, so be it.  We'll decorate our doll with a bikini top, denim skirt, flip flops and a tan and we'll make her a little sign that says "Proud to be a native." (Which La Nina can claim by being my daughter...I'm a seventh generation native Californian, fourth generation native to the Bay Area.)  And trust me, La Nina is a Californian from the top of her blown dried hair to the tips of her brilliant blue flip flops.  And there's no reason why she should be pigeon-holed into a single culture, when in fact she shares ours.   


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