Everywhere we went in India and Sri Lanka, people probably stared at us and wondered about us as a family: a mixed Indian-Chinese/Vietnamese couple with a mixed race child. We got asked a few times about our backgrounds, and they always thought it was interesting that we were a mixed race family. One night, when I was in a sari shop trying to ask if they sold toddler sized lehengas, two workers were eager to help me while I pushed Kaia around in the stroller. One of them asked me about my background, then asked about my husband’s. When I let them know, he marveled and kept repeating over and over again, “Wow! This child is Indian, Chinese, AND Vietnamese, living in America! WOW!” It was as though I brought in a tiny celebrity into their fancy sari shop, and the rest of the workers were oogling over Kaia’s “exotic” background.
There are always going to be people who marry “into” their race. People are comfortable with what they are comfortable with, and I get it: it’s nice and easy to not have to explain every single tradition custom or food or flavor, or have to translate everything from one’s mother/father tongue. But as the world becomes ever more connected, and as people continue getting more educated and intermingling, it’s inevitable that there will continue to be more and more mixed race babies and people, and those mixed race people will likely mix even further and create the most interesting and unique “mutts” we have yet to know. As naive as it may sound, maybe that could potentially be a way to combat prejudice and racism: if there are more people with more varied backgrounds roaming this land and earth, perhaps people will realize that it’s more “normal” and discriminate less. Then, people like Kaia Pookie won’t be so “interesting” or “unique” or “exotic,” and she will eventually be just like the rest of the world of mutts.