Ok here goes my first blog – and it isn’t a easy topic – I apologize.
Internationally Adopted and/or Minority Adoption:
My son came home from school yesterday and said a girl made a racist comment about the color of his skin and about the country he is from. He refused to elaborate.
I basically heard from him : rude comment + skin color + birth country = racism. Got it.
But do I?
The verbal garbage that he heard was enough to make him feel less than or unworthy. He did not know how to navigate the nasty verbiage that was slammed in his face.
And I feel that is my fault. Mom Guilt (sigh)
I do try to teach my children about racism, differences in all shapes, sizes, colors and socioeconomic disparity. I thought I worked really hard to explain how racism might affect them. How racism impacted me, my father and my siblings throughout our lifetime. Yet here I was listening to my son, who said he had no idea what to do about it.
Maybe my talks weren’t enough?
I have to do better as a parent to speak with my children about what to do when someone says or does something due to their ethnicity.
So I went back to my thoughts on the matter and expressed to him what I believed from the heart to be the truth (again) and how he can handle himself the next time it happens. Hard, yes because I do not know if I gave him the answers he was seeking.
He only gave me a nod.
I hope I was able to give him some comfort level that this person unjustly targeted a part of him that is beautiful and to me perfect – he is my son after all. I also told him he needs to immediately find a safe adult and explain how uncomfortable the situation made him feel.
I kept talking but I don’t know if he was listening.
How many of you moms have sat there in the same seat I am in now and thought, “I have to make them feel confident about all of those traits that I find so overwhelming wonderful but that others may target.”
You hear it all now: racist crimes, racist police (not all just a few, the police help us) racist marches, racist groups.
And you wonder how much does your child absorb? It’s everywhere they turn and what is the impact on their self identity?
That got me thinking…
What does it mean to be racist, or make a racist comment or “joke?” Are those two things synonymous or interchangeable? Do we all do this subliminally without thinking about it? What can I do to change this? Is it possible or is it innate?
This is half of my family I am talking about here – not my immediate family – hallelujah. The elders cannot change the way they talk. I am considered a minority and the elders say racist things to me and don’t think anything is wrong with this.
Is it generational or is it behavior that starts in the home as children? Is it content influences like the radio, television and now the internet?
What I do know is what we say or do as parents might carry on through our children. We have a mighty job to think about!
And hopefully today my son has a better day and understands that this disgusting comment does not belong to him. It is not his burden to carry, it is hers.
Let me know your thoughts.
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton