Monday, May 17, 2010

Thinking About Race

I helped teach Luke's Sunday School class. One of the kids took him aside & asked him how I could be his Mom since we look different. Luke handled it super well by just saying, "I'm adopted." but then he came & told me about it as if to see if he did OK.  He is such a serious little boy sometimes that I thought I'd take a light approach & suggested next time he is asked he should say he drank a lot of chocolate milk & hmmm...look what happened! (We have already discussed what makes our skin different colors so he knows the scientific explanation already - don't worry! :) He thought that was a great joke & we shared a giggle & then he went on.

How much does race actually matter? I often forget that we, as a family, are "unusual" at all but going out in public always reminds me. I'm not complaining about negative attitudes because we RARELY get any. Even a sweet smile & an interested glance remind me though. And I guess that's OK really. I guess I'm still just getting used to it.

So, does race matter? YES! It does. As long as we live in a world where people can see at all, race is going to matter. I love my kids. I see them for who they are, not for their physical attributes (although I think they are all gorgeous!). Not everyone else is as biased & adoring as their Mom though! Darn! 

How can I better prepare my sons for life? Mark has green eyes and light hair and skin. Luke & Nathan have brown eyes & skin & curly black hair. Will the way they look affect their futures? It's NOT at all FAIR, but I think I might be naive to think otherwise. 

These are the things I am thinking about these days. I don't want to answer with "pat" or "run of the mill" solutions/ideas either. I want to really listen & to consider & to learn so I can equip my precious boys to grow up to be the awesome men they were created to be. 

Right now I am directing them to the truth of Psalm 139 - that God creates each of us with a plan & a purpose - that we are all valuable in His sight. 

Any other Moms out there thinking & working through this?


Marsalie said...

I have friend from school who has 2 biological boys, 2 adopted African American boys and 2 native little girls who have just been placed permanently into their family. She blogs and frequently talks about how race has affected her and her family. Here is the link to one of her blog posts.

She is a pretty amazing mommy (just like you)!

Patty said...

Thanks Marsalie. I actually read her blog regularly - she IS good! That's neat you know her from school.

Thanks for your kind encouragement too! Love ya!

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

My girls get sad when our family is out and they feel like everyone is staring at them. I do have to laugh, though, as I tell them that people have stared at our family for the past 21 years. (When my twins were born, my "older" kids were 1, 2, 3,.) Yes, we've gotten stares for many years ... just for adding so many kids to our family (whether black or white children).

On a more serious note ... yes, I do think about this. Sadly, our children have gotten a lot of extra "positive" attention because of the color of their skin. (Attention my white children don't get.) This, too, can be very frustrating as I wish our community would just see them as "children" rather than "cute little black children". Our community has been known to be very racist, so I think there are others that bend over backwards to prove that they aren't racist. However, they do treat the "little black children" completely different than the "little white children". So sad.