This I Believe

Jose - New Orleans, Louisiana
Entered on April 6, 2007

“I Believe in Hybrid American Babies”

I believe in hybrid American babies. They are multiracial future diplomats who can help put an end to the cultural conflicts that divide us in these un-United States. My wife, born in San Diego to a German native mother and an Irish American father, recently gave birth to our racially diverse cherub.

I am from Ecuador, South America with Andean Quichua ancestry to accompany the Spanish blood ties. Thus, our baby is an Ecuadorian-Irish-German-American Latino gringo boy with the name Darius Amancio Torres-Copeland to accent his brilliantly complex hyphenated identity.

He represents a new crossbreed of children, who by their very being, will help eradicate the prejudices that prompt fear of “otherness.” I believe my child embodies the triumphs of multiple races coming together. He is the living representation of a dynamic genealogical assemblage of the “American Dream.”

When he gets a chance to check the identity box on government application forms, he can mark all of the above, and then some to include the parts of Polish and Cherokee heritage on his grandpa Copeland’s side. He can draw strength from the heroic story of his Ecuadorian grandma who migrated to the U.S. in 1968, not speaking any English, and had the audacity and enough dream in her to own and run a coffee wagon business in New York City.

While he hears English all around him, I speak to him in Spanish, and his mom sings German lullabies for naptime. We will encourage him to develop language skills that empower him as a trilingual prince of a more inclusive universe. He will learn to appreciate and respect human differences, and we want him to connect as much to his Irish roots as to his Latino lineage. I believe he will fight for the rights of all to claim this country as their own, and oppose those who use divisive strategies to demonize one group over another when it becomes politically convenient.

Conceived in New Orleans, where my beloved and I were married last April, my son is also part of the post-Katrina baby boom that has spawned a new generation during the reconstruction. To celebrate his entry into the world, we recently paraded him through the streets in our first Mardi Gras as a family. He was costumed as a chili pepper, and our collective theme was “The Hot Tropical Trio.”

He is the genesis of a two-year relationship that moved at warp speed into marriage after my wife and I escaped the flooded city on a stolen school bus three days after Katrina hit. He is our manifestation of survival under crisis, and I believe that his heterogeneity will inspire him to forge a more compassionate and tolerant America.