Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream. Transracial adoption is truly his dream realized – full integration. Whites adopting black children to become forever members of their families. As divided as our nation was at the time, could transracial adoption been fathomed in his dream?
This weekend, we attended a foster parent training entitled “Healthy Racial & Ethnic Identity.” Race, as our instructor told us, is the white elephant in the room. Her words to us were: “Race matters.”
As an African-American mother of a gifted & talented African-American son, our presenter spoke openly about the reality of how race matters to our children, even today.
Teen filmmaker, Kiri Davis, explores the message that society gives African-American children in her video – A Girl Like Me.
Halfway into the 7 minute film, she shows African-American preschoolers 2 baby dolls, identical except for skin color. Watch what happens when she asks: “Which is the bad doll?”
I can’t help but tear up when she asks the little girl why. “Because she’s black.”
Julian Abagond writes more about the Brown vs. Board of Education doll experiment.
Another heartbreaking point in the film is the African-American teen who began wearing her hair natural, then her own mother tells her that her hair looks too African. What?
Another good film about the importance of race and ethnicity, produced by the Casey Family Services, is Knowing Who You Are, where former foster children and birthfamilies openly discuss integration.
Skin color may not mean anything to you. You may truly be “color-blind;” however, at some point in our children’s lives, someone will point out their differences to them, as they try to fit in. Skin color is just one of those external factors. We can’t ignore it.
Honestly, can your African-American son safely go for a walk in your neighborhood at night? Or could he end up as Trayvon Martin, the African-American teenager shot in Florida last February by a neighborhood watch coordinator?
Our speaker even asked a friend that is an officer with the Austin Police Department about what route her African-American 16-year-old son should drive to school. His words to her: “Take the interstate – your son will get stopped by the police if he drives through the neighborhood!”
The takeaway of the training was that race matters in society and as parents you have to be aware of that.
- Realize that, at some point, your child will probably be stereotyped according to their race;
- Give your child proactive and protective messages about their individual abilities and identity;
- Help your child identify themselves as something other than race (“I am a girl who enjoys reading vampire novels”)
What issues or controversies have you encountered with transracial adoption?