Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Olympics

We all had a great time watching the Olympics, especially so with the games in China. The girls loved it when the TV showed places in China that we'd been to.

About the third day of the games, Zoe had a question for me: "Mama, when the U.S. and France are competing, who will you cheer for?" (My mom is from France). She didn't ask who she should cheer for when China and the U.S. competed, but I figured that was really the gist of her question.

The question is really difficult in many ways. I remember attending a lecture by Iris Chang, the author of The Chinese in America and The Rape of Nanking, not long before her tragic suicide (I feel fortunate to have met her and to have her autograph The Chinese in America for Zoe). One of the things she talked about was growing up Chinese in America. She specifically mentioned being asked the question -- "Will you cheer for the U.S. or China in the Olympics?" -- and her feeling that people never saw her as American enough. (BTW, I recommend highly The Chinese in America -- very informative and very well written. I think China adoptive parents sometime emphasize culture in China to the detriment of teaching our kids about the Chinese immigrant experience and the history of Chinese in America.)

Still, in answering Zoe's question, I went for diplomacy: "Well, I think I'll cheer for both of them to do their best, and then cheer loudly for whoever wins."

That seemed to satisfy her, and she cheered lustily for the U.S. and for China throughout the Olympics. She was especially thrilled with Nastia Liukin's all-around gold medal in gymnastics, and wants to go to the parade to be held in Liukin's honor this weekend (oh, joy!).

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I agree Malinda. I have read the two books you mentioned and have a few more for you (give me a couple of days). We are trying as best we can to make sure that M has Chinese American role models as well, not just adoptee friends (it is hard where we live, but we do our best). She begins Chinese school next week (an hour and a half away) and we are very excited for her to be around other Asian children whose parents are not white. We have befriended a couple near us and they just dote on her. The hardest part of I am having is making friends for the sake of having Asian friends--I never had this problem in CA as I had a diverse set of friends because it was a diverse population; with our limited availability of diversity I feel like I have to force the issue and it feels odd.