Monday, February 26, 2007

AA Culture Question

I'm shy, but I'm going to try to get up the nerve to ask around about this more than just online. I love our group of friends in this area, it's the strongest I've ever had. But we're all white. I'll probably ask this of a co-worker, but I'd like to get more than one perspective so I'll ask it here as well in case anyone has anything to say:

Niblet's dad is a Northeastern African American man in his late 60's. When I drop her off after a visit, as I did this morning, he asks, "How did it go?" or "How was she?"
I tend to say something like, "Oh, she fussed a little yesterday, I think she's getting a new tooth, but she did fine and she had a fun time."

In Jewish culture, if you don't complain a little then something is wrong.
In mainstream Midwestern culture, even a small amount of complaining is quite taboo.

So, obviously much is personality, but if I say the above to him - what is he likely hearing?
We have never had friends from Niblet's family's background(s) before. I suspect that having a personal relationship with folks like us (white middle class lesbians) is pretty new to them too. And we're all shy. So things can be a bit awkward and we almost always feel like we don't really know what they're thinking or what they want. So while this appears to be a pretty inconsequential conversation, it's a good 1/3 of our total communication with them and I'd like to make sure I'm coming across as saying what I really mean.

Thanks for any input.


A Special Family said...

I am really not sure about the cultural thing, but what I found worked for me was
a positive
an issue
a positive

that way we started and ended on a positive note, with any issues/concens in the middle!

fostermama said...

Interesting. This makes me think about making the positives more specific. Rather than "she had a great time; she was fussy and I think it's because she's teething *these* teeth; she had fun" I could say something specific about how we took her out in the warm part of the day and she enjoyed walking around, the thing about teething, and that she enjoyed yogurt at breakfast. Or something like that. As well as saying something general like "she had fun."

That is at least helpful to think about. We'll see how well I can put it into practice. :)

Tamara said...

Hmm - my husband is AA (and I lilly white) - I'll ask him. But your response sounds like exactly what he says to me if I ask how Cookie did. So, he details negatives too. Oh, and he's AA from Mississippi. VERY southern.