Who is to Define Who is Black?

Forgive me, but I am still struggling to find fault with Rachel Dolezal. If you’re still not in-the-know, Rachel Dolezal’s name is now ‘synonymous’ with “Identity [re]formulation”; not the Caitlyn Jenner way. By the way, unlike Caitlyn Jenner who become an instant global phenomenon, especially among the people she re-invented to identify with, Rachel Dolezal has not been much embraced. I doubt she’s gonna sign a “Cover Girl” deal soon, like Caitlyn.

Rachel Dolezal’s crime, guilty as already charged by a large section of the ‘moralizing’ public, is “masquerading” as a Black person. She is identifying as an African American, a ‘coveted’ identity supposedly for only those who know suffering, blanket assumption is all Black people. Plenty of America’s Black women are up in arms that Dolezal “is demeaning and devaluing the suffering of Black women, who by no choice of their own are labeled black with insurmountable burdens and negative connotations. “Black womanhood is an identity forged in the lived experiences of black children,” writes Alicia Walters, who, like Rachel grew up in Spokane, WA, but allegedly without the ‘choice’ of ‘performing’ blackness.

Plenty are up in arms, charging Rachel with ‘performing blackness’, and ‘wearing’ an identity that is not her own, so they say. Her parents, as well, are ‘distraught’ that Rachel is misrepresenting her true identity, disagree with her blackness, and concerned that she is estranged from them. They say, she began ‘acting black’ after she went to college in Mississippi, and after the death of her husband, an African American.

I am concerned about the public ‘stoning’ of R. Dolezal’s African American identity as deception, fraud and performing blackness. Call her out for suing Howard for discrimination, or allegedly calling out another Latino for not being “Hispanic enough”. Don’t call her a fraud, because she self-identifies as “Black”!

Who is to say that Rachel Dolezal is not Black, if indeed she identifies as Black? Can we claim that Rachel is not black, by merely looking at her portraits from childhood to present? Don’t looks lie? Especially in our America, where the label is attributed to anybody with just a drop of black blood in their DNA? Can we rely solely on parental visual appearance and self-identity to tell us the racial make-up of their offsprings?

When I saw Rachel’s adult portrait, my first instinct was a recollection of “Skin”, a 2009 movie based on Judith Stone’s book When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided by Race. It is about a South African girl born to white Afrikaner parents but officially classified as “Colored” by the apartheid government. Taken prima facie, her facial appearance could have justify the classification as “Colored”, presumably a result of a genetic case of atavism, a reappearance of genes from previous ancestors, who could have been black, in the case of Sandra Laing (Skin).

A similar case is Little White Lie, a book and film based on the life of Lacey Schwatz, who grew up white, raised by two white Jewish parents she was made believe  both were her biological parents. Her mother hid a secret affair with her biological father, an African American man. Well then, maybe parents as well, misrepresent the truth, sometimes?

  1. Who is to say that Rachel Dolezal is performing “Blackness” and “Black Womanhood”?

  2. Why can’t we let Rachel define her identity to us, on her own terms?

  3. Do blacks [in America] have a monopoly over Black identity? And is it true that black womanhood is formed as black children?

  4. Do all black children, really grow up as Black? Or is Blackness attained as a Black child progresses in age, and within specific societies with overt racial categorizations?

  5. Is it not true that, perhaps some black children are ‘shielded’ from growing up with all the encumbrances associated with “blackness’ in America, such as, societal discrimination, underprivileged, physical threat, prescribed acceptable public behavior and actions, pre-defined identity, even if not their entire lifetime?

It is a wide generalization that “Black womanhood is formed as black children. Some black children, including my own, enjoy the ‘privilege’ of not knowing they are black, until later in life or until their parents open the subject of ‘coloring’ and ‘racism’ to them, or until they encounter a racialized experience during their young lives.

Here, I am thinking of Black children growing up in predominantly white suburbs, where they are the lone or one of the very few black family. Many of these children do not, by own confession self-identity with blacks from inner cities and metropolitan settings. Some, again by own confession, are afraid and ashamed of fellow blacks, and see their culture as ‘uncouth’ and incompatible with their lived cultural experience. Their main cultural experience is similar to the predominant white culture where they are growing up and exposed to, in their daily interactions.

For instance, my six-year old, growing up in a predominantly white community and culture, until very recently, identified as white. Until his classroom discussion about Martin Luther King during “Black History Month”, he did not have a clue about racial identity [in America]; he did not think of himself as black, and considered me chocolate not black. Still, I doubt the lesson in his classroom and our conversation at home on racial identity have altered his cultural learnings, experiences, and radicalized identity.

Then, what makes it wrong to accept someone, who personally identifies as African American? Who is to say, Rachel has not experienced or internalized blackness, or does not carry personal struggles identified with black people and black women? Who is to say that Rachel is wearing blackness as ‘a pair of shoes’, according to Alicia Walters? After all, she has been the target of the racist Aryan Nation in her Spokane, WA neighborhood, she found a noose on her porch, and probably a recipient of spite in her community, for marrying a Black man, her late husband.

Has she obtained privilege because of assuming an African American identity? Maybe. But so have plenty of Blacks that take on “Caucasian’-sounding names, and perhaps escape the [not so subtle] profiling in job application screening, or mortgage applications, where candidates with “African American sounding names” are not given the same or any consideration.

Or should we concern ourselves more about how Rachel has used her privilege as an “African American” for the betterment of African American peoples and cultures? In all of the history of African American struggles, white people have used their ‘white privilege’ to work  for the emancipation of colored peoples, forged alliances and immersed themselves into the black struggle, strategically or genuinely. I have white friends, who are as afraid as I am about raising black children in America, either because they are married to Black men or their hearts and life trajectories are intertwined with the struggle for equal humane treatment of all persons. White friends, who are married to black men, not as ‘voyagers’ but because that is “where the heart is”. I have white friends who have spent the greatest part of their lives advocating and fighting for the survival and lives of black people, putting themselves on the frontline to rescue refugees.

There are plenty of Black folks, for whom the “Black struggle” is not in their immediate preoccupation or concern, as much as their personal advancement and status in society. Some have publicly disowned “Blackness”, speak ill of Black culture, or wholly and conveniently embraced ‘white culture’ to their benefit, without seeing themselves as ‘fraudulent’ or misplaced, away from ‘Blackness’.

How can we claim to know what drove Rachel Dolezal to assume an identity so cumbersome in the world, especially in our America? An identity that is abhorred, denigrated and rejected even by the very people who are colored “Black”? Why should we label Dolezal a “fraud”, “deceitful” and “opportunistic”, for identifying with a people, a cause and a human race, within a society where due to her re-formulated identity, she possibly experienced being unwanted, and possibly exterminated by racist and hate groups? After all, she never claimed to be “Black” to obtain admission into Howard! Apparently, the school awarded her admission and a Fulbright scholarship, without the requiring her to disclose her ethnicity, most probably on merit. Assuming Howard awarded her admission based on her picture portrait, doesn’t that speak to the larger complicatedness of ‘Blackness” or Black womanhood in America, which the disgruntled Alicia Walters seems to agree is diverse/varied lived experiences?

If indeed Rachel Dolezal is misrepresenting the truth [I still give her the benefit of doubt, until DNA proves otherwise], so did plenty of folks involved in the Underground Railroad, or Henry “Box” Brown, holocaust survivors, international migrants and refugees or armed combatants. What all these people have in common, is the struggle for freedom and self-determination. The struggle to be set free from the bondages of being defined by others, and strive to create one’s own destiny and identity for the betterment of “the self” and/or the larger society. Don’t we all [re]invent ourselves, at different stages of our human existence?

No doubt, we should be much concerned about honesty, as well as letting others be! We do not know, if the experience of living with adopted African American siblings, and later marrying an African American husband gave Rachel an avenue to ‘find herself’ and find solace among a people with whom she felt comfortable and accepted? Perhaps that gave her the impetus to immerse herself in the lives and daily struggles of African Americans, by recreating her identity as an African American. In my experience, white folks who genuinely wish to be a part of the ‘black struggle’, while welcome and utilized by the [black] communities, are often still viewed and treated as ‘outsiders’. To avoid the baggage of being seen as a “token white woman”, perhaps R. Dolezal figured it would be easier to identify as African American. Perhaps? Well then, what is wrong with that picture?

Talking Racial Prejudice with The Six-Year Old

This morning, I found myself talking about Racial Prejudice with The Six-year old, aka Child of Mine aka CoM.  All this started while I was reading through my morning newsfeed, and saw video images of Miss Universe Japan 2015.

Remember her, Ariana Miyamoto? Remember when she won the Miss Universe Japan this year on March 12, though many Japanese did not accept her as ‘Japanese enough’, some calling her “ugly”?  Why? Because she is “Black”, and because she is biracial!

I showed my six-year old a picture of Ariana’s and asked him, what color he thought she was? To which he replied, “Brown.” Surprise! He did not say, “White”, which is the color he self-identified before we had the talk about “coloring and racializing” in America, not too long ago.

Typically, I like starting off by tickling my child’s brain, and framing my lessons with him through his own understanding of life, rather than imposing my own knowledge and conceptions on him. I did the same thing when we explored “Racism”; resisted delving into “that Holy Grail” with him, until he shared with me what he knew about racism. He had learned about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks during his class lesson on “Black History Month“.

Anyway, if you haven’t been following Ariana’s story, she said that she has received more public and media coverage, support and admiration for her win, from fans and media outside Japan or foreigners in Japan. Well, we are talking about Japan, which considers itself a homogenous country, with its long history of denying multiculturalism. Yet, Ariana defines herself as Japanese, of Black African American paternal and Japanese maternal parents. She visibly has Japanese features.

Anyway, I had to explain to CoM that in the video we saw, Ariana shared her story, growing up in Japan with kids who did not want her to touch them, for fear that “her black skin would rub off them”. Others wouldn’t get in the swimming pool with her “or threw trash at her. I share first-hand “trashed at personal experience from some of my white neighbors.

CoM’s curious mind wanted to know more, “Why didn’t other kids like her?”
“Because she’s Black,” I said.
“She’s not Black. She’s Brown.”

How does one break down such cumbersome, loaded details about race, prejudice and skin color to a six-year old? For a start, “Well, people can be different things. Yes, her skin looks Brown, but she’s also Black.”
Just like you. Your skin looks Brown, but you are also Black,” I said to him. I explained to him that Black peoples come in different skin colors. Just like Ugandans; they speak different languages, but they are all Ugandans. Or Americans like you, me, Obama. Some Americans speak Chinese, Luganda, Spanish, Arabic, but they are all Americans.

“Then why don’t kids like her?” He asked again.
“Well, remember that story you told me about Martin Luther King, and how he had a Dream that all his kids would be accepted? That Black kids would play freely with White Kids. Or when Black kids were not allowed to go to  school with White kids, or sit in the front of the bus, then Ross Park at the front and got in trouble?

Well, some White people were really bad! But you’re very lucky you live in a neighborhood with  White friends to play with, ride the school bus, go to the same grocery friends, and friends like C and Kay.

“Of course, there still some racist people out there,” I said to him. “Like the police who shot and killed a Black kid who was playing with a toy gun in a Cleveland park, Ohio. Or the recent manhandling of Black teens at a pool party in Texas. Yes, there are some nasty people still.

“Even in Japan. Some people think their skins are, close to your friends, like “Kay”, and do not want to be friends with Black people,” I continued. They think she is not beautiful!

Phew! At the end of it all, we had gone through the “racial prejudice talk”, exhaustively. I think he got the point, that some people can be nasty, while others accepting without prejudice or questioning. Then it dawned on me that, one day, society will redefine his reality. Maybe when he is a teenager, he will learn, through experience that he is different from all his close white friends – Co, Is, Eth, Seb; his close Hispanic friends -So, Bra, Ale, Am, Sab; his close Asian friends – Jay, To, Em. And of course.

Society is going to redefine him, and ‘pigeon hole’ him, and steal his innocence of the love, affection, joys and playfulness with his social relations, regardless of their skin color. Then he will begin to look over his shoulder, and run away whenever he sees the popo. Perhaps he will no longer put his hands in his pockets again, as he always does. Regardless of how much we shield our children, proclaim our humane living, open them up to ‘colorless’ social living, we can never completely shut the world of prejudice, hate and racial baggage away from them. At least we have tried, and continue to try, reminding them of the greatest social definition – as all Humans First and Forever!

In Defense of “Strong Women” and “Out-of-the-Box” People

A thought to write “In Defense of “Strong Women” and “Out-of-the-Box” People came to me, following a fb discussion, into which I was co-opted to respond a couple of weeks ago. I was not exactly participating, nor had any intentions of commenting on the thread that I sensed would cause me more unwarranted rebuke and distraction.

Yet, my FB friend, who posted the thread on his [I will be specific, “he” is male] FB timeline tagged me, “Doreen What do you think?”

Immediately after, another one of his FB friends [co-FB friend] shot back, “No no no no!
The thread poster asked, “What is it?” [That is, why are you do opposed to her?]
His response went like, “From previous discussions, she believes all black outrage is because if racism and slavery.” To which he said that he vehemently disagrees!

Well, for one, I didn’t know that he had such strong distaste for my opinions. Two, I didn’t appreciate his generalization of my opinions about specific cases of black public outrage to my views on all black people outrage. The particular discussions I recall engaging in where he was involved concerned police brutality against blacks in America, and the place, conditions and perceptions of African Americans in America.

He expressed my displeasure at his claim, that “it was a knee jerk reaction.” But all too late; I was wounded. Particularly because I had no plans of engaging in that particular discussion on”death rates in Baltimore“, where my views would most likely be caricatured or ridiculed. I know to self-censor myself.

I have learned from my social interactions that I do not have to express an opinion on everything, just because I hold one. I don’t lose a thing from “speaking my truth quietly”, by not uttering a thing. In any case, I save so many heads and hearts from pain over my potentially not-so-popular or appealing views.

If there is anything I am an expert on, it would be not to generalize, pigeon-hole people and speak for others. I have learned from personal experience that our beliefs, knowledge, values are very much a reflection of our life’s trajectories. We cannot assume to know more than we have been exposed to or have exposed ourselves.

Moreover, my professional and academic career, at the intersection of law and social sciences, is very much the “epitome of anti-generalization”. In social sciences, we are required to state if the findings, writings and assertions are specific to a given study group, or representative [of a whole population], or involve everyone in the study population. So, I very much detest anyone who generalizes my opinions or accuses me of possessing “sound judgment” for causes into which I sink myself. Perhaps it is my strong personality, and conviction and out-of-the-box thinking which is a threat to those who are comfortable blinding themselves to social reasoning.

To pretend that the process of passing laws, making political decisions, economic transactions, and building and maintaining social relations does not embroiled in emotional, is to fool oneself that law is absolute of politics and political interference.

Then, what makes strong women and out-of the-box people so unpleasant to those who claim possession of “higher logical reasoning”? Perhaps, it is because strong women and out-of-the-box thinkers and writers allow their vulnerability to play out in the public domain, and are not afraid to of hard talk. They are not afraid of swimming with crocodiles, the fire in the kitchen or running with the wolves.

To choose the opposite is to live a life of misery and lies to oneself. I would not trade myself for “fitting in”. I am as logical, as I am emotional. I do not sink myself into areas where I know next to nothing about. My commitment, my activism, my reason, my actions are very much influenced by my life trajectory, the relationships I have met and kept, the societies in which I have lived, the cultures [socio-cultural, socio-economic, socio-political, socio-intellectual] I have experienced.

Until death doeth me apart, I will continue in the lane of “Strong Women” and “Out-of-the-Box” people. I will not apologize for my critical thinking mind.

Meeting the “Gifted and Talented”: No Nigerians Here!

Finally, I met the “Gifted and Talented” aka G&T. I am still questioning what that means. When my son was in Kindergarten, he got tested for inclusion in “Gifted and Talented”. I received feedback from his Guidance Counsellor that his scores were way above expectations; should I say, outstanding!  He still gets plenty of those outstanding reviews, including from the most recent reading seminar organized for parents at his school. I was a very proud momma.

Yet, as his major teacher, of course according to me (he would vehemently insist his school teachers as his main/all-knowing teachers), I am always demanding more from him. I call him out when he slacks, and engage him with more learning. To me, he is not doing great because he is G&T, but because he is exposed to plenty of learning resources and the support of his dedicated mother and teacher. True, I am highly tickled by his reasoning, many times, his wits and comprehension. Maybe he is quicker to learn [than others of his age], I do not know. What I know is, he reads fluently for his age, because I have exposed him to books since before he was born, and we have read on since then.

Then I met the G&T, who are not related to me. They were also much older than my own. I am sorry to say that the two hours I spent with me, nothing about them sparked me as “Gifted and Talented”,. I saw a kids enjoying doing things other children do, like building cars, bridges, playing with legos, making stuff and rolling on a ball. I talked to kids who seemed to enjoy what they were doing, some with hands-on engagement, while others contributing verbal ideas.

I could not stuck away that miseducation I have regurgitated for generations since I began learning in the world I live, that “all smart people are white; all white people are smart.” I was surprised to learn that plenty of the G&T had, what we call in America “Hispanic Names”. They were children of immigrants from South America, two with parents from Colombia.

One told me visibly terrified, “My father was born in New York but grew up in Colombia. His mother took him back and left him there!” I explained that, sometimes parents have to make difficult choices to raise their children. For a single mother, which I learned her grandmother was, it can be difficult raising a child in New York without family support. Yet, her family in Colombia could easily help out.

Another myth buster – Not all G&T are children from rich and wealthy homes. Some are children of truck drivers, such as Aei. Another told me s/he lives in a single parent household. What is true, though, the “nerdy” stereotype was there. I could relate to those kids from among my school circles. I know exactly kids like them.

Sadly, there were no Blacks among the G&T kids I met. Yes, it does matter; here in America, race is one of our greatest preoccupations. My conclusion was, there were no Nigerians in the district! (smile:). If we go by the ‘great discovery’ of The Triple Package, the one Black group profile among the “super powerful/highly successful cultural groups” in America is Nigerians. Add to that, pretty much every story featured in the media about a black genius nowadays seems to have Nigerians roots. Not in this district, though!

Especially, surprising since there is a significant number of black kids in this particular location compared to other schools in the same district. Should we really care? Does it really matter, you may ask? Of course it does; just like having a G&T kid whose father is a truck driver, or the immigrant from Colombia, so should there be a Black G&T. It is inspirational, and these kids should have an avenue to talk to their classmates about the kind of activities they are engaged in or what makes them academically “different” from others.

While I am not totally blown away, yet by the group of G&T I encountered, I enjoyed supervising them as they worked on their projects for a regional STEM competition. More exciting because they were working with Legos, one of my son’s favorite play-toys! I told them, he would be thrilled to watch them build stuff. They suggest I should bring him to their STEM fair, so he can see their final products and much more from other competitors. Another thought crossed my mind, LegoLand Discovery! Thereafter, I can get him bumped him up from 1st Grade straight to 3rd Grade G&T class! 😉

You Bet, culture does REALLY Matter!

ImageIt might be hard to define my culture…but I think I can lay a claim to culture, as the belief in and love for humanity far and near.

And I strongly believe that “Culture Matters“, the title of a book by a professor from my graduate school, something Harrison (well, he had some kuku colonial ideas, so I did not give him too much attention. That was before I met “Bil[E] The Riler” aka “Bill O’Reily”, who taught me to accept crazies…

Back to my culture. I define myself as a Black, African Muganda. All these three elements are dear to my being…

Black makes me a borderless citizen

African identifies me with Ubuntu  or “global communitarianism”

Muganda defines my origin (…well, my father’s origin is a different story..but the Baganda are known to be accepting of anyone who “comes among them” you become:)

Now, I hope you are not saying that I am beginning to box myself into places because I do not see it that way. I tend to believe that each one of us has an identity. We belong to something or someone -be it a football club, a running club, a mother, a sorority, you name it. We are something.

Yet, I also think that my culture easily traverses borders and wades across waters with ease. It is all encompassing, too. 

Being a black person is universal —since we are all scattered across the universe, and our hands have blessed, supported and nurtured the lives of every living creature. We know of stories in apartheid South Africa where the Boers/Afrikaans resented any black person (Yes! still true today), yet still used them as maids, shamba boys, cooks, nannies and had them breastfeed their children -so the white women’s breasts would not sag. Same is true in Slavery America where all the resentment and sub-humanization of black people did not deter white folks from sleeping with black women and making babies with them.  Food for thought

The Hendersons of Scotland

The African lives among us all

To evolutionists, THE AFRICAN is anyone who traces the origin of human existence and civilization from “The Africa

To me, THE AFRICAN is anyone who identifies themselves with the notion of “Ubuntu”, wherever on this globe or extraterrestrial you might be located. 

Of course, this is a loaded notion and one that is both highly contested and aggressively guarded. In fact, there are two loaded notions that I perpetuate here: That THE AFRICAN is synonymous with or symbolic of UBUNTU. 

When,

To some, THE AFRICAN is anyone who lays a claim to anyone of the 56 countries that make up the geographical landmark called Africa.

With the latter,  folks like myself who have since resettled outside the 56 (adding Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and de facto Somaliland) that make up the area considered continental Africa, are easily excluded from belonging, by the guardians of “authentic Africa”, who are scattered in anyone of these 56 countries. 

But I guess what encompasses my culture, as I define it for myself is the belief in humanity in any sizes, shapes, looks, locations, orientation, identity. This comes first to me, and is vital in my human existence and interaction. Perhaps this explains quite clearly my choice of relationships. My best friend is Scott -white Scott –perhaps no way close to the  “typical African”…often defined as black…No! she was not born in any of the 56 countries…but Aberdeen….and she is all things black to me….and more…she is very human! She is my best friend!!

Now before I become confused with bigotry…this is NOT a story about “Black superiority”….But I am playing around with all “commonly dispensed wisdom”….about the: 1) origins of humankind; 2) the geographical existence of blacks around the world; and 3) the tags to Black people as ‘traditional’ and ‘communitarian’ aka Ubuntu. I trust, many other people who might not think of themselves as “Black” could identify with all three notions I list here…Keep reading ahead how I sort-of dismantle my own thesis:)

My son is America of black origin. Yes, my son’s daddy is African American, not a Muganda….Yes! It matters in America that your identity is tagged onto your “origin”. Perhaps my son might grow up to see himself differently, but that is secondary to how society sees him and what they think of him. Which then brings me to the real issues I set out to deal with here. 

I would have imagined that, “the blackness of color and origin” that joins us as continental and Diaspora America, would imply an ease of cultural navigation and understanding. Not true! African Americans are as American as “Joe the Plumber”. They love their big cars, big lawns, big space, the “paper-chase”, and they too believe in the might of America around the globe. They also enjoy dining at “Friendly’s” or Waffle House, going on road-trips across the country, in the comfort of their SUVs, munching on Pringles or sipping Coca Cola. Of course this is a broad-brush….because plenty do not do all the “mainstreamed American culture”. Some, like me love vegetables and fruit, no fries and no frying. Like Africans, they love big celebrations and family reunions (but so do Greeks and Greek Americans and Jewish).

So, when my son and I got reinserted into America mid this year, and back to my son’s paternal family, it hit us much more that, “culture still does matter”. We became more cognizant that, for instance, life is not all about screaming on top of our voices when others are enjoying their sleep. We also realized that childhood is celebrated and accepted, mostly when it is your own child…Not “the village’s child”…You know the African saying that, “It takes a village to raise a child”?

Interesting, my son’s American family -whom btw he looks like more than I think he does me or my family, see my son as strange, and say he “has a lot to learn”! [I wonder what that implies?!] Never mind that they have not mentioned a thing they are learning from him! Of course, he is bubbly, carefree and “mama’s boy”. Yes! He might be spoiled…but he is also used to a society that is too open..and “in your face”, where life is not a rush or a fine line —laiser faire

Resultantly, my son is beginning to resent being back to America, even though he pushed me repeatedly to move our departure date closer from Edinburgh where we were vacationing.

“Mummy, when are we going to America?”, became his daily question till we jetted into the US of A

He has already made him father and his grandma know that he does not like none of them….because “they are always tell him to do something”….I don’t wanna sound like a defender of my son’s “not wanting to obey”, but I get it.

Something equivalent to being lectured to all the time, without listening to him or letting him “just be”, I think. Back in Uganda, at home, school and among mom’s friends, he was let to just be. I agree, he can definitely use some learning of new environment and new people. Yes! including his own family. Though, I know very well that, even as adults, we do not take very kindly anyone who is always pointing out our shortcomings. It does not work for us, it should not work for kids.

So, I have decided to change gears. I am adopting what my sister in England shared with me from her teen son’s school teacher. Apparently, the school administration normally gives new immigrant children a break, a time to “live and let be” or “act out”, on the understanding that they are coming from different cultures and different societies, and getting immersed into a new and strange culture.

I am letting my son get acquainted with his American family on his terms, with very little lecturing. Kinda a montessori style of learning. He is a great and quick learner! And I know, once he starts school, it will be much easier for him to understand this world. Remind me to tell you what he is like, around this time next year. Bet he will be theAmerican boy, struggling to keep up to his Ugandan culture. And I will work hard to make sure he keeps up my cultural origin as much as we can. Because, culture does indeed matter!The penguin pose