“Are they yours?” an older white woman wanted to know.

“Yes,” Ken said.

“Are they adopted?”


The woman had waved down Ken as he walked the dogs. She wanted to know if he was the same dad she had seen a few days earlier with two little girls. After he answered her questions, she went on and on about how beautiful Simone and Nadia are, how she could see the love of God through them and how they are proof that God is great.

I have to admit I’m leery of folks who spend way too much time talking about the appearance of our girls. Simone and Nadia are more than what’s on the outside.

Ken said he was surprised the woman was not embarrassed for asking the questions. She rambled on, and he couldn’t get a word in. That means the woman doesn’t know Simone and Nadia’s mother is black. Hmpfff!

Such questions are rude and unnecessary. They say more about the person who is asking them and prove we do not live in a post-racial society. Still, Ken and I laughed. He experienced what it feels like when strangers ask me such questions. It only took five years, six months and two lovely tans.

9 thoughts to “The Race Question

  • Velour

    That’s quite rude of her to get so inquisitive with complete strangers and obligate them explain or delve into their personal lives. Most people don’t know it’s impolite because they don’t have good home training, but they should at least sense that they might make others feel uncomfortable and singled out.

    As interracial relationships become much more common, there will be less stares as we walk with our partners, and less people wondering whether our kids (I have none yet but my hubby and I will be getting started on ours soon) are actually ours.

    • Honeysmoke

      I agree and congrats on starting a family of your own.

  • ET

    Doh! People mean well but going above and beyond to show their support (“Multiculturalism! Right on!”) — as you have seen probably too many times — can feel really uncomfortable and ingenuine. Sounds like you and your hubby handle it well. I’m sure your girls will learn by example to do the same.


  • Melissa

    I too think the woman meant well; she just didn’t know when to quit! That doesn’t absolve her from the rudeness of inquiring in depth into a stranger’s personal life however.

    My 90 year-old mother embarrasses me often with her “uncensored” comments when I’m out with her at doctor’s appointments or the grocery store. She’ll say things out loud within earshot of the person she’s observing that make me cringe.

    • Honeysmoke

      Yes, she meant well. I just don’t think I or anyone else should be put in an awkward position because someone else has a burning question. Honestly, a little observation will reveal the answer to her question. Simone and Nadia adore their father and can be heard calling him name every five minutes or so. Whether they are adopted just isn’t anybody’s business.

  • Blanc2

    Come to the Twin Cities. We have a couple of generations of golden children here. Nobody looks twice.

    • Honeysmoke

      Yes, but it’s cold up there.

      • Blanc2

        LOL. We hear that all the time (“It’s cold up there”). As if “cold” is the single feature that defines our climate. Sometimes, yes, it gets very cold. Sometimes it gets very hot. Mostly summers are rather moderate and lovely; winters are also moderat (for nothern winter, with snow) and lovely. Spring is a verdant, fecund explosion of life, while Autumn is fragrant, spectacularly beautiful, evocative. We have tons of lovely green space, lots of beautiful lakes, our arts are top notch and easily accessible by the average person, our schools are among the best in the nation, and our populace is bookish and highly educated. Plus, as noted, this area has a particularly high incidence of biracial families.

        But we’re happy with the perception by most that this area “cold.” It keeps the riff-raff out.

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