Chucks and Pearls: Hope for My Multicultural Daughter

Disclaimer :: We believe it is important to celebrate this moment in history – the first Black female Vice President of the United States – and we did not want to let this moment pass because it is too significant to go unmentioned. 

For weeks, I’ve joyfully and anxiously awaited the inauguration of the first female Vice President of the United States of America– the first BLACK female Vice President. I have thought of all of my African American female students, both past and present, and how much pride and hope they must be feeling during such a momentous and historic event. I have lived, somewhat vicariously, through them in this moment.

And then, I saw a Facebook post from a colleague of mine, a father of two half-Asian boys, expressing his joy in having a half-Asian role model for his children in one of the highest offices of our government. FULL. STOP.

My eyes misted, tears threatening to spill from my lids and down my cheeks. In my hope and pride for my students, I’d overlooked the implication of Madame Vice President’s achievement on the lives of my children, particularly my daughter.

You see, my not-so-white children have grown up surrounded by their mostly white family members–mine. Their local Asian family members number in the single digits. Their Asian peers? ZERO. Aside from my mother-in-law and her sister, my daughter knows no other women who share her ethnicity. South Louisiana isn’t exactly a hotspot for widespread Asian relocation.

But this week, my daughter – my half-Asian, multicultural daughter – was able to witness a half-Asian, multicultural woman rise to the second-highest office in the nation. When my girl and I discussed Kamala Harris’s ethnicity, bébé H flexed her biceps. Even at eight years old, she understands.

Representation Matters

In no way am I minimizing how much this means to the African American community, particularly here in the south. This is HUGE. This is HISTORIC. This moment is absolutely theirs.

But it is equally my daughter’s. She is female. She is Asian. She is multicultural. She is A FORCE. She is the epitome of Harris’s spirit.

A year ago, I witnessed my husband cry as he watched Crazy Rich Asians, not because the film was an emotional masterpiece of epic proportions, but because he saw people who looked like him STARRING in a film that, at least somewhat, showcased aspects of his heritage. He isn’t alone. I’m positive that other Asian Americans felt EXACTLY that way, too, just as many of my African American friends felt at the representation in Black Panther.

My fervent wish is that bébé H looks at our new Vice President and sees possibility and opportunity. I hope she sees that her multiculturalism is not a disadvantage but an asset, a gift. I hope she understands that though she is isolated from Asian influences that it does not mean that her Asian culture does not matter. I hope she sees that Vice President Harris represents HER and what she can accomplish.

I hope all American women, of all cultural backgrounds, understand that, now, there are no limits to what they are able to accomplish. The glass ceiling has been shattered.

What I’ll be telling my girl? Strap on those pearls and wear your Chucks, H. Careful. There’s glass everywhere.

Hope

julielee
Julie is a mama, wife, teacher, writer, photographer, designer, and basket case—jack of all trades, master of none. She lives in Ascension Parish with her husband, her two hooligans, and her quarankitty, Stella. She’s an English teacher by day, and a lover of words by destiny. Her favorite word is schadenfreude. When she’s pretending she isn’t too busy to breathe, you can find her curled up in her hammock with a book.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I am amazed at the ignorance of some women who are so threatened by other women that they have to discredit them. So proud of Kamala. Can’t wait to see her work!

  2. Love Kamala! What an amazing role model for our daughters. A natural born leader. Can’t wait to see the wonderful things she does for our country. My hope for America has been restored.

  3. “What I’ll be telling my girl? Strap on those pearls and wear your Chucks, H. Careful. There’s glass everywhere.” Love this!
    Having a female VP, regardless of her cultural background, is a long overdue step for our country. To have one who represents more than one facet of US citizens in such a visible way is especially important for our youth.
    Like so many women, I grew up hearing that I could be anything as long as I worked hard enough, but not seeing that ideal in action. Actually witnessing it is huge.

  4. “What I’ll be telling my girl? Strap on those pearls and wear your Chucks, H. Careful. There’s glass everywhere.” Love this!
    Having a female VP, regardless of her cultural background, is a long overdue step for our country. To have one who represents more than one facet of US citizens in such a visible way is especially important for our youth.
    Like so many women, I grew up hearing that I could be anything as long as I worked hard enough, but not seeing that ideal in action. Actually witnessing it is huge.

  5. Thank you for writing this. Vice President Harris has broken through the second highest glass ceiling in the United States. She is a role model. I believe she got there because she is a strong, determined, capable, and intelligent person. Anyone who denigrates her accomplishment with comments related to her ancestry or gender insults everyone of that ancestry and gender. If someone doesn’t like VP Harris, challenge her on her merits, not her race and gender.

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