Sunday, September 28, 2014

cheng, chang, chong and "innocent" racism

yesterday was the holy grail of nerd meet ups: comic con.

the hubs and i enjoyed our time together as it was one of the few saturdays the hubs has off (the position of retail management doesn't care about weekends!). we met and fellowshipped with other socially awkward people and ate at a neighbor's new restaurant and later delighted in the glory known as "jeni's ice cream".  i was enjoying my "sweet cream biscuits and peaches" ice cream when i saw the this chalkboard kids draw on:

i remember being young and not (actively) thinking about racism and stereotyping and poking fun at other cultures. kids do it all the time, and parents, who either think it's funny, or are just as ignorant as the close-minds it breeds, laugh along with it instead of teaching and empowering in that moment. take the picture above "cheng, chang, chong"...
"cheng"= orange (color, not the fruit)
"chang" = long
"chong" = insect
(it's completely possible though, that they were trying to pass along a warning regarding a long orange insect lurking about this ice cream shop. but not likely). 
there's actually an entire wikipedia article on "chIng, chang, chong" regarding the racism and "western bullying" it implies. see, read it here. 
and then there's the childhood schoolyard rhyme:
"are you chinese (uses fingers to pull side of eyes and make slant up); are you japenese (uses fingers to pull sides of eyes and make slant down); or are your dirty knees (referring to the rest of the continent of asia)". 
the school yard was full of these rhymes and other equally as racist ones. 
(childhood innocent racism wasn't and isn't solely focused on individuals living in china or japan: 
"indian giver!" (really, do they even know the horrific things that were done to NATIVE americans at the hands of english settlers?)l 
"are you a smart american or a dumb pollock?" (followed by a riddle or silly question).

i think about the "innocent" (and blatant of course) racism our lucy-girl will encounter. the "ching, chong, ding-dong" chants she will overhear, the scenes of children pulling their eyes to make them slant she will glance at, and it breaks my heart. it breaks my heart to think of the damage to her beautiful, God-designed identity it will cause. i pains me deeply to think about her ever feeling less than perfectly beautiful and designed by the hands of God.  

i feel my heart heavy even for the young children missing an opportunity to learn, grow, appreciate, and love other cultures. simply put: racism allows minds to remain simple, and hearts cold. 
what more as parents, can be desired for their child than for them to genuinely love others, to want to understand differences, and appreciate those differences. 

we are here to be blinders for what she need not see and ear muffs for what would pain her to hear. 
and when we aren't physically with her, we trust God's faithfulness to be that. and when racist images and sounds creep in and damage her precious heart, we trust in God's redemption, and healing prayers to build her up and strengthen her identity when all the world wants to crush it.  

we believe prayer moves mountains and lets rivers flow in barren places, so,this is our new prayer manifest; declared on the chalkboard outside our bedroom so that we may see it and affirm it in prayer many times a day. please pray it with us: 
LOA by november
home by februrary

1 comment:

  1. I too have become much more aware of racism since embarking on international adoption. It's not as obvious when it doesn't hit close to home. Imagine growing up as a white person in the middle of Wyoming... You just don't experience other cultures and it's too easy to participate in racial slurs/profiling without even realizing how offensive it is.

    I so hope that your daughter is able to come home by February! That would be wonderful!