My wife is pregnant.
Yes, it’s pretty great news.
Our daughter is due in January. We’ve never been parents, so by next summer, I’ll be one of those annoying first-time fathers who believes the most important thing in the world is his baby’s capacity for drool. Just wait, I’ll be blogging about it day and night. This may cut into the readership of the 19.3 million mommy bloggers out there, so I apologize in advance for usurping their authority.
But with all the hectic preparation for the child’s arrival, and careful time set aside for crippling self-doubt and solipsistic panic attacks, I’ve barely had time to ponder the political ramifications of this kid. That has to change.
Let’s start with the obvious: My child will only be one-quarter Hispanic. This is because I am half-Salvadoran and half-European mix. My wife is primarily German. As such, there’s an outside shot our daughter will possess her mother’s blond hair. That’s right…blond!
So will she still identify as a Latina? If she does, is this stretching the definition? If she doesn’t, is it a rejection of her culture?
The country, as we’ve heard many times before, is moving toward a multiethnic population, where strict racial parameters become a thing of the past. My child will be evidence of this. Currently, 9 million people — or 2.9 percent of the population — identify as multiethnic. In fact, multiracial kids are the fastest growing youth group in America.
And as with all things cultural, political, or just plain cool, Hispanics are driving the changes. As we all know, interracial marriages (which often lead, of course, to multiethnic children) have reached an all-time high in America. And “45 percent of interracial straight married couples feature one Hispanic partner,” making it the top combo.
My parents were apparently trendsetters. And my wife and I are near the front of the parade. But among my family and friends, Latino/white children are fairly common.
Of course, I’ve also heard of more exotic combinations. A friend of mine has Vietnamese/Swedish kids, while another has Korean/Norwegian offspring. A couple I know has Arab/Jewish children (that’s really giving peace a chance).
But those are rare and funky dualities on the road to racial harmony. Much more common are kids who have at least a dash of Latino in them.
And this leads to an intriguing situation. Latino culture is a distinct entity, but with more Hispanics (like me) finding blonde people irresistible, the next generation of Hispanics will likely view their Latin American roots as just one part of their story. They will be Latinos, but with a twist.
In essence, my wife and I will be raising a child who, once upon a time, might have been considered exotic, or caught between two worlds. But in today’s USA, she will be viewed as just another all-American girl.