Thursday, June 4, 2009

So... What IS he, exactly?

I've been home only a week and The Question has already been asked several times. I knew it was coming, I just wasn't expecting an onslaught.

Um... I was just wondering...what do you call him?
We call him Sam.

No, I mean, like... Is Sam Asian... or what?
No, Sam is not Asian. You could call him a Pacific Islander, I guess, but he's not from an Asian country, so it wouldn't make sense to call him Asian, would it?

But is he, like... I mean, Biracial or Hispanic, or something?
He is definitely something.

So, is your baby Samoan, then?
Ummm, no. If he had been born in Samoa, with Samoan geneology, he would be Samoan. He was born in the Marshall Islands (RMI), and is of Marshallese descent, which makes him Marshallese. The Samoan Islands are actually closer to Fiji than to the Marshalls.

Is that, like, some kind of Hawaiian?
(Oh, Precious Lord, help me please.) I'm not familiar enough with Hawaii and its culture to know how many kinds of Hawaiian there are, but... No. Sam is not "some kind of Hawaiian." He is some kind of Marshallese. There are similarities in appearance, I guess, to Hawaiians, Samoans, and other Pacific Islanders, and they are all located in the Pacific, but Sam is (flippin') Marshallese. It's really not that hard, it's just unfamiliar to you. Let's attack it from this direction... If you were born in Japan, and your parents were of Japanese ancestry, you would be called Japanese... Yes? So, it's the same thing.

Wait, I don't want to cause any confusion... Sam is not Japanese.

The Marshall Islands are in/a part of Guam, right?
No. Guam is a separate place... In anticipation of your next question, I'd like to add that the Philippines are also a separate place. And, as previously established (I hope), Samoa is a separate place. The RMI is actually closer to being part of Micronesia than it is to being part of Guam, but it is its own country.

I'm really not irritated, and I hope I'm not coming off as offensive- I'm just having a little fun with you. I know lots of people have never heard of the Marshall Islands, and have no idea where they are, so I expect questions and I honestly don't mind (as long as you don't get all obnoxious on me).

So, here's the deal:
Sam was born in the Marshall Islands. His birth family is Marshallese. He is Marshallese (specifically, he is from Majuro, the capital atoll (island) in the Ratak chain of the Marshall Islands. The pop. in Majuro is approx. 25,000 and the island is less than 5 square miles).

To recap: He is from the Marshall Islands and he is Marshallese. He is a Pacific Islander. He is not Samoan, Hawaiian, Filipino, or Guamanian.

And yes, by the way, he is an American.

He is also gorgeous. He is loved. He is my precious, gift from God. My sweetie-pie. My beautiful little lamb.

Not to be a total smart*$$, but this... is a map. I'm told these are widely available on that World Wide Web thing, and they show you the locations of places. They are amazingly helpful little things. Sometimes they are flat, and sometimes they can even be round. The round ones are called Orbs, I believe. Or maybe Globs... Something like that.


Anonymous said...

People are so funny that way. ("Funny" meaning "Annoying") and I swear it's worse out here on the east coast than it was in the Pacific Northwest. Everyone has to smack a lable on everyone else, based on skin color or their names or whatever. I'm thinking the easiest reply is "Why do you ask?" Because most people will then realize how nosy they sound. Also, he IS a cutie. And totally adorable. So perhaps people should be forgiven for losing their ability to think straight when in his presence. ;-)

Chandra said...

Wow, how daft can people be?

Person 1: "I'm American"

Person 2: "Oh so you're Canadian?"

Person 1: "No I'm American"

Person 2: "Oh so you're like English?"

Seriously, how hard is it to get that he is from the Marshall Islands, hence, he is Marshallese. What is so difficult about that? People seem to have a hard time understanding how many different ethnic groups and countries there are in the world. It's amazing how many people think Asian=Chinese.

Ok sorry I started ranting on your blog! Sam is absolutely GORGEOUS! Are you able to resist holding and snuggling with him all day long? I don't think I could. Way too cute.

Terynn said...

Your baby is so purty! Seriously.

And why you would even *pretend* that you were not being a teeny, tiny, smidgey bit smart-aleky with us is beyond me! ha

If we've been reading your blog for anytime at all, we already know that about you! (wink) And we love you for it and keep reading, right? Right.

And no, I was not a questioning, nosey commenter! heh heh And since you've answered everything about Sam's heritage so thorougly, thankfully, I won't have to be!

LaLa said...

People are soo dense. I will say that more than once I've had to check "Pacific Islander/Asian" on a form for Annslee..they seem to just clump then together ..not sure why??

He is so stinking CUTE@!!!!

Heidi said...

You're more patient than I am! And funnier, too.

Your Sam is definitely AS CUTE as my Sam! And he looks pretty darn happy too.

Tami said...

Hear ya! Oh, how I hear ya! And seriously...could that child be any more beautiful?! :)

Heather said...

first of all... my heart mealts with that picture. Second, I will admit when you said you were adopting from the Marshall Islands, I immediately went on the www to look up where it was. I had no idea. So I can appreciate others ignorance, but can never understand their determination to fit a child into some known "category". You must want to do the teacher/parent thing and just say "look it up" sometimes. LOL. I want to hug that little peanut... he is so incredibally cute.

Just Mairs said... he's a marshmellow then?! Certainly cuter than one! I know all about stupid comments - believe me, they'll only get stupider...

Anonymous said...

Funny, only not funny haha...
I have been having soooo much trouble opening your web page. It keeps saying there's some sort of error and it closes. I was afraid you'd think we broke up!