Racism: Alive and Well??
The first time someone called my son the N-word he was two. My older son, 10 years old at that time lay crumpled on the carpet feeling powerless and that there was nothing he could do to defend the little brother he loved so dearly. When things like that happen you vow that you’ll protect them but that is short lived, soon they grow up they go to kindergarten and in kindergarten people ask them questions like; why is your mother white and they send them home with a paper that tells them to look at their parents and write down the traits that they got from them. And suddenly your world shatters again as you realize how difficult it will be to protect them now that they are out in the world; the world that you need to trust but cannot.
The closest thing to being black is being the mother of someone who is black. When we chose to adopt a child of African descent we lost friends. Neighbors told us they would move if we adopted a black child. Some people ask why we would want to adopt one of those, and yet another said I’m glad I don’t have a little blonde daughter his age. Now, interestingly enough those people really love my son and how sad it is that because of the color of his skin he had to earn the right to be loved by them.
The other night I was with a bunch of women. One of the women had just seen the movie Dances with Wolves and ask the question, if we were to live during that time where would we want to live and would we want to be Native American or a frontier settler? Almost immediately one of the women chimed up and said that she would live in the south she would be Scarlet O’Hara’s mother, she would sit on the porch dressed as a Southern Belle. She would have slaves but she would be nice to them she would even pay them. She would need her slaves to fan her because it would be hot and humid. The other women laughed. I immediately left. I was overwhelmed and shocked and saddened to the deepest core of my being.
Racism causes even a physical reaction in me; my body becoming hot, my heart racing stomach nauseous. The idea that someone could be hurt because of the color of their skin is almost more than I can bare.
For 17 years and counting I have felt honored to be the mother of the most amazing boy. I see him, the child he was and the man he is becoming and my heart swells with pride and a love that almost cannot be contained! We have experienced this journey together. The wonderful times and the hard times as well. I am grateful that I am his and he is mine and that I have been able to have my world become so much bigger because of our wonderful differences! My heart is tender beyond measure for those that suffer inequality and pure meanness because of differences but I am hopeful that we can and will all do better. That we will peel away the outside and just see the humanity of one another!
And recently we have entered a new chapter in this journey. I now have a grandson. Beautiful, perfect, loved, brown. And he has an uncle (my son) that will forever mentor and protect him! The bond is an awesome thing to behold! I am so grateful for the many blessings that adoption has brought into my life and I pray that God will soften hearts, that the planet will heal, and that we can love one another for the amazing diverse brothers and sisters that we are.