Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Conversations with My Students about My Favorite Subject

My favorite subject is my kids, of course.

A few of my female students were concerned on behalf of my children today:

"Miss? Do you know how to fix them Black food? Do you make them cornbread and greens? Have you ever tried chittlins? Do you know you're supposed to mash up their cornbread with the greens for them? That's the only way to eat it."

I found it interesting that their identity as black women was so closely tied to the foods their moms always prepare for special occasions. I explained that our kids traditional foods are all Ethiopian which led to a discussion about whether or not they are actually black. They are, in my opinion, but I'll be curious to see whether Atticus and Norah identify themselves as African-American when they get older. We'll let them take the reins and make their own decisions about the terms they want to use to self-identify. Of course, those will be influenced heavily by us. What terms do others out there who have older children adopted from Ethiopia use?

For the record, I do like (and know how to cook) cornbread and greens. I've never tried chittlins, but I love all of the other filter-organ foods that my nutritionist-friend avoids like the plague (mmm...liverwurst, bologna, chicken livers), so I'd probably enjoy them. I was glad some of my students initiated a conversation about cultural and racial differences - especially since I might want to ask for some hair tips from them in the future.

We actually made doro wat and injera for Norah's birthday celebration this past weekend. It was our first attempt and they came out pretty well. Norah was more interested in the corn-on-the-cob, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it. Below is a picture of an Ethiopian meal we ate in Addis Ababa. Our attempt on Saturday did not look this good.

I'll post pictures of Norah's birthday soon. I'm hoping someone else who attended will send me some photos that are better than my own. At busy gatherings I always tend to be a slacker about taking pictures.


The Six of Us said...

I have wondered this very thing: will my child associate with the African American community or will he associate with Ethiopian culture? Or will he be suspended in the middle (most likely) and struggle with how to relate to either?
We have a challenge in front of us, but it is a challenge we must attempt to overcome through education, understanding and love.

By the way: I looked at the Ethiopian meal and though: Wow, she's good!"

Christina said...

i also looked at the pic and thought, wow, mine will never look that good :). interestingly enough, a Black woman stopped me on the street to comment on D's hair (or lack thereof :) ), and then stopped mid-sentence and said, "oh, he is Black, right?" wasn't quite sure how to respond to that...

Roselady said...

I really like that top pic of you and Norah...Amy