Thursday, March 11, 2010

color aware.

there is no such thing as "color blind".

those of us who have children with a different skin tone than we the parents, are becoming less of a rarity nowadays, especially with China adoptions, Ethiopia adoptions, and now Haitian adoptions.

we've adopted twice before, but always children with our skin color.

this is different.

more stares. more questions. some smiles. some raised eyebrows. no more "color blindness".

in researching about this, i've learned that it's important to talk about it. as opposed to ignoring it and pretending we're all the same.

we're not. our outsides are different.

my little girl has black hair, almond shaped eyes, and dark brown skin.

i have brownish-red hair, blue eyes, and white/freckled skin.

daddy has hazel eyes and brown hair (precious little of it!) and very freckely skin.

but daddy and i look the same, and she does not.


but it's not ok to ignore it.

when we adopted emma, our grandson jason (who is also BROWN and adopted) said, "i'm so glad i'm not the only brown one in the family!" ah. so there it is.

we have to recognize our differences and talk about them, and hopefully defuse the self-esteem issues that could follow.

being brown is beautiful, we tell emma. you have beautiful BROWN skin. some of your friends have brown skin, or black skin. some have white skin. it's OK TO BE DIFFERENT...but there are differences.

children who never learn to see, and love, the differences, will be afraid, embarrassed, and possibly feel inferior, to the majority.

our prayer is that she learns that BROWN is beautiful, WHITE is beautiful, BLACK is beautiful. and it's all ok.

i snipped this from the blog of a mom with two adopted BROWN/BLACK kids...and i plan to get the book she refers to.

How to Raise a Racist
Step One: Don’t talk about race. Don’t point out skin color. Be “color blind.”
Step Two: Actually, that’s it. There is no Step Two.
Congratulations! Your children are well on their way to believing that [insert your race here] is better than everybody else.

What NurtureShock discovered, through various studies, was that most white parents don’t ever talk to their kids about race. The rule is that because we want our kids to be color-blind, we don’t point out skin color. We’ll say things like “everybody’s equal” but find it hard to be more specific than that. If our kids point out somebody who looks different, we shush them and tell them it’s rude to talk about it.
It's kind of like the sex talk. If we never talk to our kids about sex, they are gonna have to figure it out on their own. Which will probably lead to some not-so-great influences filling in their gaps of knowledge.
So talk to your kids about race. Please. Have an ongoing and frank conversation, and observe their interactions with children who are different. Assume that they will have biases, and confront them when they emerge. Before another humiliated child becomes a public object lesson."

so there ya go. always on a learning curve.

No comments: