Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Racism is a Reality"

…I guess I’ve just been blind to it all these years. Within my circle of family, friends and acquaintances no one has ever given me the impression that he/she believes that his/her race is superior over any other. As far as I could tell, racism was a thing of the past. God created all men in his image and offers forgiveness of sins to each one without regard to skin color. But, somehow I’ve been blind to the fact that as a society, we still segregate ourselves.

During my research on transracial adoption these words stopped me in my tracks, “racism is a reality.” I had to stop and think back over past experiences to see if there had been any proof in my life that this statement is true. I mean, I’ve always noticed that most friend groups are people of the same color. I remember wanting to leave high school early one day because there was a threat of a racial fight, but none of my friends were involved. I’ve seen racism on TV and heard stories, but they were all at a comfortable distance from me. I mean, my first roommate was black and we were alike in so many ways. We used to joke that we were the same person living in different bodies. But, apparently everyone doesn’t feel the way we do, especially in the south.

In my research I’ve heard and read stories about white adoptive couples out in public with their adopted children of another race when some opinionated bystander boldly spoke out against the union of a transracial family. On some occasions these families had to move north to protect their children from an emotional ambush.

When I teach, I notice that kids usually aren’t aware of their differences until around second grade. I always wonder what makes them aware. Is it their parents? Is it simply their own observations of how people tend to group themselves in society or is it color itself? Either way, I wish we could always have a kindergarten or first grade mentality when it comes to skin color.

As I mentioned in a previous post, when I teach I have to be careful not to favor my little black boys. I love them. They know that, so they love me. I am intrigued by their culture and energy. When we do hip-hop, they can’t believe a white girl can move like that. They say, “Yo, Ms. C, that was tight! Teach me, teach me!”

Long before I was married I used to joke that one day I would have a black son. I would let him have a fro or cornrows or dreads if he wanted. He and I would do hip-hop together. My friends and family have always known this about me, and no one has ever made me feel that it would be inappropriate. But, as I’m researching a world outside of my comfort zone, I’m finding out that there’s still a lot of animosity over the color of skin.

In the 70s, the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) started a movement against placing black children in white homes. Still today, they consider it “black cultural genocide.” The problem with this is, while there are fewer African-American newborns available for adoption than Caucasian newborns, there are also fewer couples seeking to adopt African-American children. When they put a freeze on transracial adoptions, these children got stuck in the foster care system. Fortunately, in the 90s, laws were passed stating that race could no longer be a roadblock if it delayed placement. (“The Complete Adoption Book” pg 299-301) Interestingly enough, however, I’ve learned that in 2005 The South Carolina Department of Social Services was found guilty of denying white families the option of adopting black children. Hopefully this has changed since the investigation was made public.

Besides the fact that our children will grow up in a racist society, there are other things to think about when considering transracial adoption which I will talk more about in two weeks. Next week we will be in Guatemala for our first mission trip! Too bad international adoptions to Guatemala have been shaky lately or we could have brought a baby back! ☺

Next Post: 8/2/2007


Ashley said...

Hey Michele. It's Ashley (the one with baby Brooke at Danielle's thing last night). Nikki Hill told me about your blog and I've really enjoyed reading it. We have several families in our church that have adopted (both locally and oversees). I'm pretty close to one of the families that adopted two children from Guatemala. If you'd like, I can put you in touch with them. They could give you a good perspective on what it's been like for them having a trans-racial family. My e-mail is

Anonymous said...

I'm not making light of the situation, but the last comment you made about bringing a baby back cracked me up. Let's go on a mission trip and get a baby, bring it home and tell everyone how your wonderful trip was. This our souvenior-not a t-shirt or blisters on your hands, but a baby! It would either make you want to immediately go back or wonder what the heck you've gotten in to-kinda like me when the doc broke my water...I was like "this is for real-no going back now". Guess I should have thought about that 9 months prior. You might be like that-all the planning and stuff then when it really happens it's a dose of reality! Fortunatley I was immediately ready for another.
HAVE A WONDERFUL WONDERFUL SAFE TRIP!!! Can't wait to hear about it. You'll have LOTS of prayers going up next week, because we have Revivle!
Love You Guys Tons!

Anonymous said...

Hey there toots!! Two words for you....WILLIE MINTON!!! You know he really is the son we both share!! Be safe while you are away in S.A. I also cracked up over your "bring home a baby" comment since that is exactly the type of souvenier (sp?) we brought home from Vegas. Love ya girl. I'm staying posted.

Anonymous said...

Hey Michele, this is Dotti. I just wanted to say that you and Andy are such an insperation. I told Andy about my brother and his wife who tried for almost 10 years to have a baby. They tried invetro, fertilty drug and artificial insemination. Nothing work. So they desided to look into adoption. For 2 years they searched and pondered and Prayed. When they finally desided what they were going to do my sister-in-law got "The Flu" {as she put it} after about 2 months of fighting the flu she went to her doctor.....lo and behold she was pregnant and gave birth to twins. Two years later she gave birth agian. I believe that when GOD is ready for you to give birth you will. But in the mean time I think it would be great to have a little black baby. You both are in my Prayers. Have a safe and Blessed trip. Hope to see you both soon.