I want to thank all the people who gave me advice and opinions regarding the question asking us to numerically label my child’s racial category on the Kindergarten registration forms. After reading all that everyone had to say I see things from the school’s side a little better than I did before. This is not to say I’m any less annoyed by the numbering thing, but I am ready to look at it less emotionally.
I did call the school and ask why they want us to number the order in which we want the races to be entered. The person I talked to had no idea for the reasoning behind it. I decided to just let it drop rather than ask to speak to someone else who might know. She did mentioned that if I leave it blank they will probably have to choose one to enter first.
Big and I talked about it. He’s not as upset by this question as I am. But then again I find he gets less upset than I by the few incidences regarding race that our family has encountered. He believes that his skin has gotten tougher due to years of dealing with race issues while I am still a newbie at it all. He probably has a valid point. It could also be that I am a far more emotional person than he and tend to vent my frustrations, disappointments, and disbelief more openly than Big.
In any case, here is what we decided to do. I checked off Asian and white but did not number them. I asked one more time about this when I went to turn the papers in. I was told to leave it the way I put it and write a little note stating that I prefer not to number the races since Shorty is equally both. I was told they would call me if there was a problem with that. So far I have heard nothing.
When Big and I discussed this topic we decided that if we had to choose one of the races to be listed first, at least in this instance, we would list Asian first. Why Asian some of you might be wondering? If, as we suspect, the numbering is to help determine demographics and funding for the district then marking Shorty as Asian may help our district get more minority funding or possibly programs for children who may need it. That’s not a bad thing. Also, in case they track the demographics for several years to determine educational programs that might be beneficial for the students we figure having Shorty marked as Asian could help lead to future classes in Mandarin or Asian cultural studies. With China becoming the next world Superpower classes in Mandarin could benefit all the students in our district.
I’m not sure how valid any of our reasons truly are or how misguided they may be but that’s what we decided. So, maybe I’ll get a call from the school and maybe I won’t. I have a suspicion that someone will just choose for us without letting us know the choice. I also suspect that they may choose Asian since it is listed first both on the form and alphabetically and because many people still feel that if a person is mixed you categorize them in the minority race. Since Big and I would have chosen Asian first anyway I’m okay with that. But by not numbering Shorty’s race and leaving the little note on the form I am hoping that it will at least trigger something in the school district that leads to a discussion of how they can improve upon racially categorizing their mixed students. Or at least I can hope that is the case.