Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pondering Race

In our interracial family, we are fortunate that we haven't faced any major or dramatic issues of racial tension. We celebrate the differences within our family, and the differences in our friends. But the longer I'm in this family, the more I have pondered what racism is. What it looks like. The ignorant comments, the intentionally hurtful comments, and the people with their heads in the sand. (I confess, I happily lived in my white bubble for many years and had some simplistic answers to the racial dilemmas others face.) Even yesterday, the woman handing out samples at Sam's Club was skeptical that I was Dayna's mom and gave her permission to try a small piece of bread.

We want our girls to grow up and be confident in who they are. To not make excuses for the difficult things they may face in life. But we also want them to be able to discern and appropriately respond to curiosity, ignorance, or blatant offense. I've long since given up the illusion that we should be "color blind" - instead, we should embrace the beauty of diversity. I'm also coming to accept that some people just have to jump over more hurdles - not because of the way they behave, but because of the way they were born.

A dear friend of mine has a veritable United Nations living in her home. She recently wrote (much more eloquently than I could) her thoughts on protecting her Liberian son from those who may react first and think second. Turns out this post went viral with over 800,000 hits in the first few days. It was picked up by Scary Mommy, the Washington Post, local newspapers and radio stations - just to name a few. She received some pretty interesting comments as well (although I recommend not going there unless you're ready for some visceral reactions) - from support of Black mothers, to ostriches proving that burying your head in the sand won't solve the racial issues, even a few threats (which didn't make it to publication).

I'm so proud of my friend and the food for thought that she continues to give me as I ponder what it means to be white in an interracial family - and an interracial world.

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