We had our own interesting little experience several years ago when we returned home on a furlough. Our little girl has been raised for most of her life in Russia. After our first three years here in Russia we returned home with a little girl who spoke as much Russian as she did English.
When we first arrived in the States we headed to a Taco Bell in our home town of Kent, WA. As we we had just stepped off the plane our Daughter was still in “Russian mode” in regards to her communication. As we started to eat, our daughter looks over at a young very large man sitting next to us points and says, “Daddy look at the big N*****.”
I about died. I went over to the gentleman and explained how we had just come from Russia where we are living and working and that in the Russian language this is the only word used to describe someone of African decent. I added that I had grown up in the area and he understood that we weren’t some white supremacy quacks. He laughed it off and shared a big smile with my daughter who, not understanding the situation, smiled back and waved at him.
Needless to say we had a talk about Russian words we don’t use when we are in America. Having grown up in an area where race was not an issue it is interesting to see how people still struggle with preconceptions based on skin color. We have several friends in our church that are what people would call mixed race couples…..shoot half our church in Tacoma is technically mixed race couples. We just don’t view them as such. Sure our kids asked about why Fre’chon has a mommy that has light colored skin and a daddy who has darker colored skin. We just explain to them that it is the difference of where their ancestors came from. They came from different people groups just like our relatives except that our relatives are Jewish, British and Scottish.
David is a Baptist missionary living in Siberia. Many thanks to him for this story.