« Birds, Bees & Butts | Main | Holiday Road »

November 23, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Breaks my heart to hear that the Peanut has been exposed to racism at such a young age. When I was growing up in a racially-diverse part of Queens, it wasn't until much later that I learned about race. Guess they're right. Kids grow up faster these days (for better or worse.)

JJ Daddy-o Baby Momma

Are you & the Peanut Asian? I don't think we noticed. Wait. Are we?


Last night, I asked her whether we were Asian and she said "No, Daddy. Not Asian. We're Ajin. A-J-I-N." She then threw me the combo eye roll/death stare.

Yep, she's definitely Asian.


It blows on so many levels that the shit starts so young. At that age, is there much down from whom their predominately learning that crap?

And personally, I think you should have kicked the little shit in the nads...


I work with a lot of older volunteers at a hospital and they still use the term "oriental." Finally one day I had to give a few of them the history of the term. A few weeks later one says, "I forgot which term I'm not supposed to use, Asian or Oriental?" At least she was trying.

I know Peanut has you and BossLady to thank for her innocence and smart wit. Thank you for always sharing your stories.



Speaking as a white kid from the UWS, I don't remember even getting into any racial situations in NYC until I was in high school, and the only instance I really remember is actually kind of funny: I went to Brooklyn Tech (very mixed student population) we played in the same school league as Boys and Girls High, in Bed-Stuy.
At that time B&G was famous in the City for having only one white student out of 3600+. (even today, it only has 1% white students). I was with the Tech volleyball team walking through the halls at B&G after final bell, headed toward the gym, and some kid pointed at us (the racially mixed Tech group) and said "Hey look, funny colored people". It was done for laughs, not to menace us, though.
However, I do think abut the fact that my kids are being raised outside of NYCs melting pot and how that's going to affect their outlook.


You should definitely keep your Twitter page. It's perfect for drive-by snarking without having to write a whole blog post! And you should follow ME...the married woman from Mississippi who has a mad crush on you (and who will have to delete a LOT of embarrassing tweets if you do).

And The Peanut? Quite possibly the best kid in the world (I can say this now that mine are grown). Having parents like you and BossLady will make learning the hard life lessons a lot less painful. To raise a child with a great sense of humor and pride is to give them an invisible suit of armor.

I think she'll be just fine.

Janet C.

"I used to think my dream woman was a mash-up of Zhang Ziyi, Tori Amos and Phoebe Cates but now I think she’s probably more a mash-up of Maggie Cheung, Christine Amanpour and Joan Didion."

THAT is why I love you, MD!


I love the fact that you honor your friend so well and so meaningfully. Thanks for providing the link for donations.


Nothing racist ever happened to me until I was 25 and people started asking me if I was the nanny. Honestly wtf?

Twitter is only awesome if you tweet things that are not complaints and follow people who are not complainers. Complaining Twitter and Work Twitter are the worst. You do great tweeting -- you have the perfect balance of "is this how this works?" naivete and "but you have to listen to me" broadcast authority. Rock it.

Karen from Chookooloonks

Okay, this post finally did it.

It is *imperative* that you and I become real life friends.

That is all.

Booyah's Momma

It's true. You never do forget your first time. I remember when I was little and someone called me a Twinkie. It took me a while to figure out they didn't mean that as a compliment.

But, on the flip side, Asian superpowers rock. If anyone were to pull any racial epithets on me now, I would threaten them with my Kung Fu moves.


you don't blog often, pls keep your twitter acct, some of your updates are hilarious.


Growing up across the river from NYC, I remember getting in more fights than I can count on my collective digits because of the way I look. Even today, as an adult living in NYC I still run into these racial situations like the time a woman threatened to, "kick my skinny chinky ass" because my bag almost touched her. Like most bullies she caved when confronted.

Sometimes it isn't even aggressive--like the man I happen to be alone with on that long, long elevator ride who thought it would be a compliment to describe my kind as "exotic" or the old Italian lady who expressed a bit of shock to hear my unbroken English. It is with some cold comfort that I do feel "lucky" to have been trained from a young age to deal with all these situations: sometimes with a verbal lashing, sometimes with humor and sometimes with just a shrug.


Both of my boys were the only blonde. white kids in a private school in So Cal. All of the other children were Korean, Chinese or Japanese. The traditions and glimpses into a different culture were priceless in my opinion, And, yes, my boys were left out sometimes because we were not Asian but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Thank you for the info on the scholarship fund in your friend Andy's name. I love your writing but your posts to Andy on 9/11 are truly inspiring and moving.


Nycgrl2010...I totally agree with you. It is certainly with "cold comfort" that I feel comfortable when confronted with these "situations." Truth be told, if I'm in the right mood, I sometimes welcome it.

But you and I are whom we are. If your upbringing was anything like mine, your parents probably didn't (or couldn't) even consider what I/you/we were going through.

It just kind of breaks my heart to see my daughter targeted like this at such a young age.


Sooo sad about your daughter! I hate that stuff.

And on another note- PLEASE don't' delete your twitter page! You're one of my favorites to follow!!!!!


You're my favorite book nerd. I am also reading Hitch's memoirs and Franzen's latest. Both two of my favorite recent reads. Maybe I'll check out The Snakehead?


That's really awful what happened to the Peanut. Can't believe it starts so early. She's lucky to have two parents who always have her back.


I hate hearing that about your little girl, too. If my 4yo went where she's zoned to go, she'd be the lone cracker in her class and would likely be told as much (I was on career day, but I just laughed about it).

We're frying another turkey tomorrow. Hope y'all have a good day.


My son likes to "accidentally" leave his glasses at home because of the crap the kids give him.

Parenting is nothing until your kid gets to elementary school and starts processing our basic, human fear of difference. It's on, now.

Harajuku Girl

You are so right about not forgetting your "first". I remember a girl in the neighborhood called me a "chink" (I'm part Japanese) because she thought the guy she liked was paying too much attention to me. I was ten years old. I slapped her in the face and pointed my finger and said, "Don't you EVER call me a chink again!" and ran home. My mom knew something was up because I was shaking and started to cry. I told her what happened and she made me go outside and apologize to the girl for slapping her. My mom managed to give her a "lesson" on race relations. She was awesome! It hurt me so much it took weeks for me to recover. We did become friends again and all was good in the world. I never forgot it though.

Then in college my roommates keep saying "JAP" freely (not to me, but in conversation) like, "Quit being such a JAP" and I kept thinking WTF?! They knew I was part Japanese so WHY were they using such a derogatory word! Come to find out they were talking about "Jewish American Princess". Who knew...

Growing up in Japan had its advantages!

Keep tweeting...I loved the tweet about John Hughes film...didn't we all learn how to "love" from watching his films?! (that is...our age group!)

Happy Thanksgiving!


Kids are creative. And they are cruel. It's a lethal combination. I was bullied because of my name. Even in an all white Wisconsin suburb it was enough to set me apart. At it's worst, I was spit on out of a bus window as I walked home. Oh, and on behalf of the Irish... honor + a brawl = two great tastes that taste great together!


Happy belated birthday to both you and the Peanut. Sounds like you had a blast. Have a great Thanksgiving!


Omg what NYC school is this? Horrible.


first: my dream woman is part christiane amanpour, too.

second: race/color thing. i feel you, man. i kinda give breaks to the people i met in my childhood bc that was a LONG time ago, but now? hm.


Do you think Asian-Americans tend to snub other Asians who are not born and raised in the US? I'm Asian and I have no problem approaching and making friends with other Asians regardless of what country they're from. However, I notice a barrier between us and Asian-Americans who are not as approachable or tend to hang out in their own groups or mostly with other white students. I've seen it in my undergrad years many moons ago, and thought this time around in grad school things would be different. Unfortunately it's still the same and I wonder if Asian-Americans like to differentiate themselves from other Asians.


sounds like I'm the only twit not twittering--I vote dump the twitter account since it has negatively impacted your blogging. I could put the ap on my phone but I already have linkdin and facebook accounts that are timesucks. we had R2 at a 90% chinese catholic school, but he's hapa and it wasn't working for him so switched (the kids gave him grief in the mandarin afterschool class because he wasn't Chinese enough). now he's at a public school that is 1/3 chinese, 1/3 hapa and he's happy as a clam, w mandarin 4 days per week in the afternoons. Even in SF, the kids self-segregate starting in the first grade, Mum and R2Dad were bummed to discover. In highschool, hapa Rodent1 is part of the "moderately popular white girls" subset. Go figure...


Man, I can't believe that shit starts so early. Has to be from the parents, right?


Did you mean that Hitch COULDN'T care less?
I think my indoctrination into race came pretty early since I grew up in a pretty white suburb. However, I was pretty naive as a kid and didn't really understand what was happening. I guess that was a blessing in its own way.
Oh, and you can follow me on twitter. ;)
I don't know about you, but while I initially started my twitter account as another outlet for my narcissism, I found out that it's actually a great tool for networking, especially for librarians. There are a lot of authors, professional associations, and of course, other librarians who all have twitter accounts I follow.


Yes - you're right. You never forget the first time someone calls you out for being different and experience racism. Hearing "Chink" still makes my blood boil and brings out the angry Asian in me. Even my white friends know they can't get away with that one, even out of jest.

Secondly - YOU CRACK ME UP. I plan to play that joke on some friends tomorrow. Thanks Metrodad.

Account Deleted

People are racist, sexist, perverted ,and a million more unfathomable depravities (or as my grandma used to say ,”it takes all kinds to make up this world …”).It’s very few children who do not learn these harsh realities early on (Sorry to be so blunt!).It’s sad that Peanut had to face ‘should-already-be-vanquished’ ugly race issue but she is /will be all right.Your desire to protect her is what any parent would wish for. Peanut is an amazing kid , she is incredibly blessed to have great parents in you and BossLady to show her that people are also kind,loving,generous and free-minded,and she is privileged to live in a city that maybe one of the few truly democratic places in the entire world. The unfairness of all this may occasionally astound her but she will grow up to be an even more amazing person.

A caveat ;I never faced racism/classism because I belong to the majority race/class in my (asian )country but I know /of discrimination,who hasn't ? I have coasted through life pretty much(I had a typical asian childhood but I rebelled at fifteen!:-)) but since a child my parents have embedded values of kindness,respect hardwork,pride in me (which borders on extremity ,I always tell them !^^)for everyone regardless of whoever and whatever they are.I’m not always all that but I strive my best to be .

On a snarky note ,small minded people makes me feel good ,their very existence prove why I am the way I am :-) and the way I look at it , we get to straddle the best of both worlds !

I have only been reading your blog for a couple of months now.Most parental love remains unsaid but next to having a great dad ,this blog will be Peanut's most treasured asset in future!

And honestly you should watch Korean dramas (if you aren’t already )with your daughter ,she will never look for another crack when she grows up :- ) and please keep your twitter page ,your wit is appreciated ^^


Happy Thanksgiving, MetroDad!


Racism isn't born, folks, it's taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.
- Denis Leary -


I'm so sorry that you and your Peanut are having to deal with this at such a young age...or at all. People are stupid.

I may be as white as they come but I teach my kids that people are people and I love that my kids pick their friends based on who they like...regardless of their skin color or ethnic background.

Happy birthday to her and to you.

And, yes, keep Twitter. At least you update it more often than your site. ;)


Sorry you had to deal with early-onset racism. That's really horrible but that's the world we live in, I guess.

Thanks for the mini book reviews. Over the years, you've turned me on to so many great books that I might never have read otherwise!


Six is a grat age for kids and parents. I have a little three year old grandson. He comes up with the funniest sayings, too. I know that I will enjoy him all the more when he turns six. I have never traveled on public transportation. I would not know what train or track to take without a long study of the area. It is not that I am rich or anything like that, we do not have a public service like that where I live. I really like having my car close by. I do not know what I would do without it.


"One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings." ~ Franklin Thomas


This is not chaos, this is an adventure. I wish you well and I think you are doing great things with your little peanut. I like to read your site because it makes me know that others are like me.


Aw man, that story about Peanut is heartbreaking. We're in a very diverse school, so I keep waiting for the day that my kids come home with some newfound understanding of race that I'd rather they don't have.

(Also, I'm dying to say to you, "Well you ARE prejudice because you think of Tom as your Irish friend and not just your friend."


despite the unfortunate circumstances that led to peanut's loss of innocence - i think she and you and boss lady handled it quite well. and sad to say, i'm starting to think that you have to be upfront about the existence of these ways of thought. although i wouldn't bring it myself either until it came up.

and you're right. you never forget your first time. although i have to say the second time made a far greater impression on me. not because of the stupid kids that i was actively ignoring. but because of one kid, who upon hearing them make fun of me, actually stood up for me and said to them "shut up, who cares? and really, i think she's pretty" heh.


FIRST TIME: I was in middle school - having moved to the Real South from the D.C. area. But let me tell you, it wasn't until I met Midwestern people (and married one) that I discovered a level of racism unheard of even in the South.

FLIP SIDE: check out the recent skit on Jon Stewart of Black vs. Muslim (ways to scare white people).

HOUSEKEEPING: fuck twitter.


At that age, don't you think it comes from the parents?

Paige Jennifer

Somehow you always manage to capture life in such an honest, entertaining, and enlightening way. That said, I totally lack the DNA necessary to appreciate/enjoy Joan Didion. Like Kris Angel, scrapbooking & Aquavit, no amount of exposure will change my mind.


I remember my kids innocence as well. They were the kids who referred movies as "cartoon" or "human". It's hard to keep them innocent forever, but I am with you. 1st grade is way to young to have to deal with that.


Hi Metrodad, I'm sorry your "first time" was with an Italian jerk. I am a native Italian and I am mortified... Anyway, I'll have my first child in a couple of months and I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. In fact, I am reading all entries from the beginning.

Happy birthday to your lovely little girl!



Here in Singapore (Chinese majority country), my cousin got called "chink"... by another Chinese.


Your Feng Shui prank had me cracking up. I can't wait to use that on my friends. Ancient Chinese secret. Hahaha!


Long time reader, first time commentor. While I am truly sorry that your daughter experienced racism (first grade? really?), it smacks of hypocrisy that you go on to end your post with the mention that someone nominated MetroDad as one of the “Top Ten Asian-American” blogs. I mean, you were born and raised in America, as was your daughter - that makes you both American. Sure, you’re of Asian heritage, but perhaps we can make greater strides to end racism and ethnicism by ending the incessant labeling? Perhaps people enjoy that victim mentality a little too much?

I know I’m going to get flamed for the above opinion, what with being an Irish- Scottish-English-American (do you see how ridiculous that sounds?) and having never not once been subjected to any type of racial taunting, because, hey, “reverse” racism is a myth, right? I guess the taunting and bullying I experienced my entire childhood for being skinny, buck-toothed, and four-eyed doesn’t count? Sorry, tirade over. And bravo for the Feng Shui prank!


My first time: 1st grade, sandbox, playground. A couple of kids came over, slanted their eyes with their fingers and called me a Jap.

Innocence cherry popped.

The comments to this entry are closed.

I also blog at...

Bookmark and Share

September 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad