Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kids say the darndest things

We (my family and I) just returned to Cambodia last week from our annual family trip to the US. We did the usual - three weeks in the States for the kids to see grandma and grandpa, a little road trip, a day at Universal Studios, etc. The tourist thing. Since our return to Cambodia the kids new school year has begun and I've been playing mad catch-up here at work, clearing three weeks of paperwork from my desk. As I plow through my piles of paper here, I reminisce about our holiday, and a story from last year's trip to the States comes to mind:  

We flew from Phnom Penh to Taipei and then Taipei to LA to begin our trip in the States. When we first arrived at the Los Angeles airport (LAX) and were making our way through the baggage collection area my 7-year-old daughter looked around  and casually but rather loudly observed,

"Dad, there sure are a lot of black people here."

Black people (those of African heritage) are, after all, a rather rare sight back in Cambodia where she's grown up. There are plenty of Asians and whites of various sorts but for whatever reason very few blacks. I cringed, took a quick glance around to see if anybody had noticed and then gently shushed her, explaining that it's not really polite to comment on the color/race of others in the US - that somebody might take it the wrong way. She seemed to understand and made no further comment on the subject. About a week or so later we walked into a McDonald's in Tallahassee Florida which was 100% black - the customers, the staff, every single person in the place was black. My daughter looked around and, following my instructions to the letter not to comment on other people's race, announced, rather loudly again,

"Ya know, we're the only white people in this place.

Kids say the darndest things.

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