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journal of the motherhood initiative 55 This paper examines the complexities both of being born an inter-ethnic subject, and of mothering one. I consider how inter-ethnicity affects the gender identities and gender performances of inter-ethnic children. It is interesting that, in western society, the last name is passed down to children in a patrilineal fashion, yet mothers still do the major-ity of cultural training, socialization and raising of children. As a result, children often have their fathers ’ last names but are raised more in step their mothers ’ cultures, as well as the gender performances deemed acceptable in such communities. Still, even despite this training such children will frequently be identified by outsiders as having at least some membership to their fathers ’ cultural group because of their monikers. This can result in children who feel culturally lost, as they find themselves unable to perform an ethnic background with which they are commonly identified. In this essay, I use the lens of empowered mothering discourse to find a way to change parenting practices so they do not result in ethnically hybrid children with such asymmetrical understandings of their cultural heritage. Ultimately, I argue that men must engage more meaningfully in parenting practices in order for inter-ethnic children to feel more evenly engaged with all the sides of their ethnic selves. To illuminate my argument, I use my own upbringing as an inter-ethnic person descended from both British and Armenian immigrants to Canada who was raised predominately by her stay-at-home mother. When I was in grade one, the morning of my first day of school, my mother sat me down and told me, “Sarah, you need to learn how to spell your last name.” The operative word was “your. ” It was not hers. As a feminist-identified former investment banker, my mother had kept the last name she was born with upon getting married. Her surname was the very Scottish moniker “Laidlaw ” and mine was the very Armenian “Sahagian. ” Despite the fact that my last name has no What’s in a Last Name? sarah sahagia

Topics: 56 volume 2, number 2
Year: 2016
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