Big Brown Dad is a blog dedicated to providing parents the magical salve that makes most of this mayhem manageable: laughter. If you’re not laughing at yourself (or, more enjoyably, other parents) then you’re doing it all wrong. I’ve been laughing alongside today’s guest blogger, Manuel Montero, since we were both little boogers and today he proves being a Big Brown Dad can come with challenges, MOST of them surmountable. Enjoy!
BROWN DAD, WHITE KID
It’s a tale as old as time. Brown guy meets white girl. Brown guy falls in love. Brown guy gets married , fathers a white kid and gives white kid a very ethnic Spanish name.
I’m a first generation American with family from Mexico. I met my wife, Marissa, 11 years ago and we have been married for 5 years. We have a 3 year old son named Manuel.
I knew that I had a challenge ahead of me.
At first I told myself that I was the household minority. We live in an upper middle class community, so, maybe I should just be more white. I watched episodes of Friends, Family Ties and hung out at Starbucks, taking notes. The results were less than acceptable.
I had to come up with a plan, and it had to be soon! After careful consideration, some soul searching, and drinking, I found it!
This is my journey.
I had to start early! As soon as we were able, we introduced our son to his culture.
No more awkward questions from strangers to my wife like, “His name is Manuel? Isn’t that a Hispanic name?” His estilo suave will speak for itself.
Lookin’ good. My mijo is on his way!
Now we need to get his Spanish up to speed.
We decided to send him to a Spanish speaking school and immerse him in the language.
Nothing says “Soy Chicano” better than…well…“Soy Chicano.” Since I was never taught Spanish, I left it up to the professionals. At 3, my son has a larger spanish vocabulary than I do and his cussing is pretty impressive.
He now handles our banking at the liquor store, haggles with the vendors at the flea market and screens phone calls for bill collectors. So far, so good. He’s got the look, got the lingo, now he just needs more exposure at home.
So, I decided to set a better example at home.
I can’t expect my son to adopt into something that isn’t displayed at home. Sure, I am of Mexican descent, but my days of Nike Cortez, wife beater shirts and beanies are long behind me. I decided that I needed to be an example. Unfortunately, the results were less acceptable than when I tried to be more white. I may have actually reversed some of my son’s progress by doing this. But, that’s for his therapist to sort out.
He did, however show interest in helping with the yard work, so I considered that a win.
Time to stand back and admire the product of my efforts.
I was so proud!
My son has the look, he speaks the language and was going to bring home his first girlfriend. I couldn’t wait to meet the lucky little Latina!
And the cycle continues….
Manuel Montero is a husband, a father, and a self proclaimed BBQ Pit Master. He work as an IT professional in the San Francisco Bay Area and when he’s not busy making the pretentious soccer moms nervous at my sons preschool, he can be seen giving guest talks and motivational coaching with local inner city youth trying to get a leg up in the work force. Take up Manuel’s offer to speak to kids in your area and email him at mpmontero at gmail.com
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