My husband’s mother and his father’s father are from Mexico. Amusingly to us, most people think he is Indian. Amusing to me is that he seems the most offended when Hispanics assume he is “chicano” and start speaking in Spanish to him. I think though he isn’t really offended, just unsure of his Spanish. Perhaps he has had to answer these questions for so long, he is tired of them. To me, the questions still seem new. It does surprise me that people so often ask what his nationality is, and then when I explain that he was born in the US, so he is American, they are confused. “No but…where is he FROM?”
I found out recently that my sisters were surprised when I first brought him home to meet the family because i had not mentioned his complexion when i described him to them and they were expecting someone paler. To me, he was (and is) dreamboat handsome and I never can manage to remember that his skin is darker than mine except when I’m slathering on SPF 1000 so I can go outside on a cloudy day.
My 7 children cover an entire spectrum from fair to quite dark. It is my secret fear that someone will come up to me in a store one day and insist that my children cannot be mine because I don’t match them. So far, it has never happened, although I am almost always asked, “where did they get those dark eyes and hair from?” For awhile, I dyed my hair black and didn’t have to answer that question. (The black hair was enough even though my eyes were still blue.) It was nice to not answer that question all the time, and I did feel more safe shopping with my kids, but keeping up with the hair dye got old fast. Also, my sixth child turned out to have light brown, almost blonde hair like mine, so then my dying my hair made her the odd man out. I decided she needed someone to match, too.
Sometimes I think perhaps I am the one who is prejudiced because I have this worry and it has never happened. But it is also possible that people where I live do not usually expect crime, because it rarely happens, and in a big city I would be challenged often. Great post. Lots to think about!