My 10-year old son, P, reported with amusement on a conversation he and his friends had in the carpool on the way to soccer practice. My husband was driving my son and two boys, one an immigrant from Somolia and one Oromo. We’ve known these boys only for a few months now. B, the Oromo boy, ventured to ask my son, “Is he your real dad?” My son, who probably hasn’t thought much about his racial identity yet, says that he replied, “Yes! Who else would be?” B quickly said to the other passenger, “See, Z? I told you that’s his dad.” My son said he asked, “Did you think someone else was?” B responded tentatively something about P not looking much alike his dad. P says he laughed and went through the list of physical differences we have talked about at home – noses, hairy-ness, and other. P says that he ended with, “And my hair’s black and his [gesturing] is” and B filled in, “Gray!” which caught my husband’s ear. At 43 and only the start of a bit of silver around his ears, this is a subject of some teasing in our family.
On the Way to Soccer