Since my last post I’ve spent time reading other voices from all sides of the aisle on what happened in Charlottesville, as well as the larger picture of race relations. I’ve tried hard to hear the underlying and competing views, but like must of us, our lived experiences feed into how we see anything, what side we find ourselves firmly planted on.
It’s past time for all of us to reflect deeply on our own views, our morals, our way forward.
I’ve also spent the past few days reflecting on how I was raised, how many of us were raised, both the good and the bad and the privilege in being raised in homes where race wasn’t part of discussions to any degree, because it wasn’t a necessity. I was raised in a rural northwestern town/city that was overwhelmingly white except for the Native Americans. I didn’t see Native Americans as different that white people, they were dad’s patients, they came to the office, he did house calls to their homes, our friends from Church shared our table, we shared theirs, exactly the same as white people in the community. Missing in our home were discussions to any degree surrounding race, mistreatment of people of color by white people, racism, the horrors that had happened, were still happening. We were taught by the mantra that actions speak louder than words – and they excelled at setting examples, both by word and by deed, of that, there is no doubt.
It wasn’t until high school when I first realized that people treated others different based on race, and/or their perceived qualities being worthy of acceptance. A time when I was also deeply processing all that being adopted meant, one of which was that I was perceived as different from those conceived and brought into the world by a married couple and kept. I wanted to be accepted, I also rebelled, it wasn’t good, it also made me deeply aware of prejudices people didn’t know they had, that deeply hurt me, hurt others. I learned more when I married and hit the road, how ugly human nature can truly be, as well as how spectacular others could be.
So, while discussions on race weren’t part of my upbringing, I did learn by their example that treating people different based on their race or origins was not acceptable. I also suspect there are many of us who were raised that way, hold the same feelings I do, but we’ve never had bold, deep, conversations about beliefs others hold, and it’s hard to push through and talk now when it’s deeply needed. When it must be talked about once and for all, that we (us) change our ways, views, and most importantly, our actions.
I deeply appreciate the on-line community I have, it allows me the privilege of being with others, a social outlet, and just as important, a learning opportunity as well. I’ve also had the privilege of learning from people on twitter, highly educated, well-known people I’ll never meet, but listening to their words offered me the opportunity to reflect, consider, learn, get, in a way I’ve never seen before. It’s also opened my eyes to the deep pain brought from racism and the actions done to them, their family and friends, generations after generations. My understanding of the experience of being a person of color in America has undergone a rapid expansion. I still can’t imagine what it would be like to be a person of color today, I’ve had a glimpse into what it would be like, and that mere glimpse is enough to tell me that we (us) need to sit down and listen, hear the pain, hear the exhaustion, the frustration, learn from them and stop being the problem.
I’m challenging all that read this blog post to challenge yourself as I’ve done. Right now in the adoption community we (white people) must step up to the plate. Not just transracial families, all families in the adoption community (and elsewhere as well), need to listen, learn, reflect, change, and above all, talk about race. We need to evolve into better people, be part of the solution, not the problem.