A Trans-Racial Parent Speaks Out

That’s what we’re called.  Parents who have children who are of a different race than they are – whether it is through adoption or through interracial marriage, I don’t think it matters.  

It’s different.  It’s different because you straddle two worlds.  You are in one world, your child(ren) are often in another world.   Sometimes those worlds mesh together, often they don’t.   Sometimes people in the white world understand, more often they don’t.

Read what Katie Ganshert had to say on Ann Voskamp’s site today. 

Read the whole post at http://annvoskamp.com/2018/04/why-the-church-cant-keep-turning-away-from-our-race-issues-why-we-cant-put-the-past-behind-us-because-its-buried-in-us/

“The world is wrong. You can’t put the past behind you. It’s buried in you.” – Claudia Rankine

Slavery. Convict leasing. Over 4,000 lynchings. Jim Crow segregation. White flight and red-lining.

All of it is buried in us. All of it points to an appallingly racist past that has left a racist legacy that manifests itself in policies and systems that disadvantage and oppress specific people groups.

Like our education system, where black and brown students find themselves more segregated than they were in 1968—stuck in schools that are understaffed and under-resourced.

Or a criminal justice system that frisks 85% of blacks and Latinos stopped by police, but only 8% of whites. Those are just two examples of many—the tippity-top of a giant racial iceberg. Statistics I didn’t know until I started to listen.

I had no idea that Sunday remains the most segregated hour in America. I saw a handful of black people inside my church as proof that we were fine. I had no idea that many black evangelicals in predominately white churches report feeling unseen and unheard.

That wasn’t something I learned until I leaned closer.

But now I see.

I see it in the person who posts Galatians 3:28 on Facebook, then goes on a rant about how much they can’t stand Colin Kaepernick.

I see it in the way people love the pictures I post of my daughter, but get really quiet when I start talking about the issues that will directly impact her as a black woman in this country.

We want Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech, not his letter from a Birmingham jail, where he calls out the white moderate, “who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”


Transracial Adoptive Parents–Reluctant Revolutionaries?

Transracial adoptive parents are reluctant revolutionaries?

Seriously?  

According to an article I read that was written by an African American man, yes, transracial adoptive parents are revolutionaries.

Why?

Because they are living what our country needs.

They are demonstrating, on a daily basis, what the country should be doing.

And what is that?

Making race “indifferent.”

Now I didn’t say ignoring race.   I didn’t say being colorblind.    I believe that colorblind is actually racist.

If you say you are colorblind, you are ignoring the racial make up of a person and saying that being Korean or Haitian or Colombian or Ugandan or African American is not important.   You’re saying that an important part of who someone is, their nationality, is not worth paying attention to.

This African American writer made a point that “colorblind” isn’t what our country needs.   What our country needs is for people to be “color indifferent.”

What does “color indifferent” mean?   It means that we acknowledge the differences, we don’t ignore the differences, but the differences don’t prevent everyone from being on equal footing.

In a family, the tall kid and the short kid get treated the same.

In a family, the skinny kid and the slightly overweight kid get treated the same.

In a family, the child with brown eyes and the child with blue eyes get treated the same.

In a family…….

You get the picture.   Physical differences don’t make a difference in how a family treats each member of the family.

And that’s where transracial adoptive parents are revolutionaries.  

Every day, transracial families are living a life of racial indifference.

Every day, transracial families are saying, we won’t ignore race, we won’t ignore color, we won’t ignore culture.

But we won’t let race impact the way we treat our family members.   We will continue to push and fight and embrace our entire family.

That’s a revolution.   That’s a change that will make the world a better place.  

Transracial Adoptive Families – reluctant revolutionaries.

Yeah, I think that might just be the ticket……

TJV

Straddling Two Worlds

We straddle two worlds.

We can’t ignore either one.

We can’t turn our backs on either one.

It’s a struggle we expected but it has boiled over to be much bigger than we expected.

How do we balance the two?

God put us where we are, because He wants us where we are. But we can’t understand why.

Rather than growing up in a middle class suburb, why didn’t I grow up in the middle of rural Africa?

Rather than attending a Christian private school, why didn’t I have to attend a struggling inner city school where the graduation rate wasn’t nearly as high as the incarceration rate?

Why did I grow up with an active, loving and engaged dad when so many grow up never knowing their dad?

Why could I walk from home to school and back without being afraid of being mugged or accosted by a homeless person?

I.Don’t.Know.

But I’ve seen glimpses of the other side. The other world.

I’ve seen black boys struggling for survival in the streets of Haiti.

I’ve talked to a teacher who has lost 5 of her students to gang warfare before they would have graduated from high school.

I’ve heard stories of black men – well educated, articulate speakers tell stories of being pulled over by cops and having their entire car searched – because they have had a tail light out. Oh and this wasn’t a story on the news, this was at a local church’s service of racial reconciliation. It.Happened.In.West.Michigan.

We straddle both worlds.

I am not a black man. I am a white man. But my son is growing closer and closer to becoming a black man.

I straddle both worlds.

I’m not part of “that world” but I am part of that world.

I hate that I have to tell my son to be careful where he wears the hood on his sweatshirt “up.”

I hate that people I care about still suffer from the scars that are still there from years and years of oppression.

I “get” that people in Baltimore and other places rioted because they lost hope. They reached the snapping point and blew up. How many of us haven’t done that on a smaller scale with our kids?

But I hate that it has to happen. I don’t want it to happen.

And it hurts that there are people I know and care about who don’t see that part of the world.

Who move around and live their lives enjoying the benefits of their middle class life with their middle class upbringing.

Who consider the plight of those who have lost hope as something that is “their fault.”

And it hurts that really good people who put their lives on the line to keep us safe are being “blamed” for the overreactions that others have had to those who lost hope.

When I signed on to being a transracial adoptive parent, I signed on to straddling those two worlds.

And I will.

But the wounds that are showing up are so much deeper and harder to straddle.

This is not the way that Jesus would want it.

And it’s up to all of us to do something about it.

Restore hope.

Restore dignity.

Rebuild understanding and acceptance.

Don’t make the world color blind – because that attempts to ignore the basics of who someone is. Instead, make the world color filled.

Celebrate the differences but work towards acknowledging the value and the worth of everyone.

Whether they grew up with two parents in a white suburb.

Or a homeless street child in the slums of big city America.

People, please, we have to do better.

All of God’s children deserve better.

All of them.

TJV