My good friend Kim and I are in the Big Easy this weekend to speak about 21st Century Families at the Mom 2.0 conference with the amazing Mir, Polly, and Deb. I'm not fully operational (I've been battling an arse-kicking virus all week, and my normally latent asthma seems to have kicked in just in time for this speaking gig), but since I'm not up to talking like I usually am, I'm going to write instead.
A native Louisianan, Kim wrote an excellent post about how growing up down here, you were either black or white, and that left her -- a Vietnamese girl -- feeling isolated and disenfranchised. She explains why that's one of the reasons she and her African-American husband choose to stay in the DC area, even though it would be much less expensive to move back to their hometown state.
Her post reminded me of why my husband and I believe cultural diversity is one of the top criteria for any place we choose to live. It's not that we hate certain regions of the country -- every single city and state has its beauty, art, architecture, and cool folks. In fact, one of the states I was most awed by after only one visit is Utah, which is statistically one of the most homogeneous.
But, in terms of where we want our kids to grow up (or in the case of New York, grow up knowing like an insider and not a tourist), we choose multicultural areas where families like ours don't get remarked upon (OK, they do, but very, very rarely, and usually only by little old ladies who call my daughter a "Chinadoll" or ask where I adopted my son from), and where my six-year-old can come up with her "matching" theory on race. Maybe I'd feel differently if my parents were alive, or if my siblings all lived in the same city, or if my husband in any way loved his Central Pennsylvania hometown, but in the absence of any preset "roots," we feel compelled to live where race is beyond black and white. Where, yes, I can't help mentioning it, the Daisy Troop consists of girls of Jewish, Mormon, Protestant, Catholic, irreligious, African, Indian, Latina, Caribbean, and several multiracial girls. We just wouldn't want it any other way.