I've been thinking about the election in the U.S. and what it means to me and more specifically to my daughter. Peanut is Asian-American. Her father is Japanese, her mother is a Caucasian American. I don't know how Peanut will identify herself as she grows older. We're hoping to give her lots of opportunities over the years to live in both Japan and the U.S. and to learn a lot about both cultures. We've even given her two names, one that is Japanese and one that is more Western. We really want her to be able to define herself. I understand that others will always label her in some way based on what they see when they look at her or what they think they know about her, but I like to believe that if she can define herself first, what others say to her (especially if it's ignorant) won't matter as much.
To me, the election of a man of color, a biracial person no less, creates a world of opportunities for young people in the U.S. and for that I am grateful. I confess I am a fan of Mr. Obama and perhaps that makes me more likely to see only the good and to be overly optimistic. But as a new mama, it's a wonderful feeling to be optimistic about the future of my country, and to think that there might be global implications as well. In fact, I can't help but think that Obama's election represents something even more important when viewed through the lens of Japan where the racial and ethnic diversity of the nation isn't really the strong suit. In some ways the uniformity within the culture can be seen as a strength resulting in more efficient and unified approaches to problem solving. However, I like to think that giving Peanut the opportunity to see two cultures and societies with such different compositions in terms of race and ethnicity will only make her a better global citizen.
Plenty of people will describe Election Day 2008 with far more thoughtful analysis I'm sure. Personally, I'm just glad my daughter is seeing the dawn of a new day.