Maks is going through some stuff. For those of you that have never had the honour of meeting Maks, he is of mixed race. (So is Mat for that matter)
Millhouse is a pasty Eastern European / East Coast Canadian. He says the word sun and he gets sunburnt. This is not an over exaggeration on my part. This is a statement of fact. When we went to Cuba, I thought I had covered all his exposed areas in sunscreen but I didn’t. I missed his ankles and his ankles burned. Literally HIS ANKLES!! He had to walk around with Colgate on his ankles because he got a sun burn on his ANKLES. When does that happen??
I, on the other hand, am a dark shade of brown, maybe a dark milk chocolate complexion but not mocha. My family is Trinidadian and we look like we are from an island because we are.
Maks is supposed to be a combination of those two things and be a dark caramel sort of complexion. But because of his love of the outdoors he more closely resembles me. There were even times this summer when he was darker than I was because he was spending more times outside than I was. Neither of the boys have the light complexion that Millhouse has. There have been times, in the past, when people have asked darker skinned friends if they were the boys’ dad, not realizing that Millhouse is their father. When the boys are with Millhouse, the most popular assumption that people make is that the boys are mine but they are not his.
Now this has never been much of a problem for Maks until this school year. Maks best friend in school is Guyanese* so his complexion is very similar to Maks’. In fact R and Maks could be related. They are the same height, weight, hair colour and type. If you were looking at them from behind, they could be brothers. They have been in the same class for the past three years but this year things have become noticeable.
And this is what presents the problem.
The boys are using their similarities to confuse their teacher. It has gotten to the point where R will get in trouble but the teacher will yell at Maks to behave. She cannot tell them apart at times. And Maks finds this wildly hilarious and has started to refer to R as his long lost cousin not his school friend.
This is all well and good except for the fact that R’s parents are both the same race and nationality. Maks’ parents are not. Maks has started to pull away from identifying with Millhouse and now only identifies with the Trinidadian genes that he has because R can easily relate to his Guyanese genes. He is noticing just how much different he and his dad are and he is starting to distance himself from his father because of it. When they are together he feels like they do not match because people cannot identify Millhouse as his dad because they look nothing alike. Now if you look past complexion at Millhouse and Maks, you will see they have the same features. They have the same chin, mouth shape, hands, walk and stand. But Maks cannot see all that. He just sees that he and his dad are not the same in ways that other kids and their dads are the same.
I know he is having a hard time processing this. He tries to avoid discussion of race with Millhouse but by not discussing it, it is making it all the more obvious. It is starting to bother Millhouse and this is a discussion that needs to be had.
But I don’t know where to start.
*Quick geography lesson – Guyana is a country on the coast of South America. Indo – Guyanese people tend to resemble Indo – Trinidadian people, but Trinidadians are waaaaay better looking and have a sexier accent. The accent thing is a proven scientific fact, google it if you don’t believe me. And the better looking part is just obvious, ah duh!