Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Manchild, hold your promises

Racism. It's an ugly word no one wants to admit. In America, it's a state that far too many want to believe we have overcome.

When Trevon Martin was killed, I didn't blog. There's just no words to describe the fear in every mother's heart who has black sons when you hear a woman's precious child was killed for wearing a hoodie. I am well aware of the risks of a DWB. I'm aware of the safety rules and lessons I must teach my sons. I am not a person of color. I cannot make myself a person of color. I also cannot change that my sons must face this world as men of color.

I've seen parents in transracial adoptions where they truly believe they can become the same color scheme as their children. To everyone around them, it just looks bizarre. I've seen more than one child with a look of fear over it as well. Conversely, I've seen families who believe they can be truly colorblind and there is no reason to worry....that the world will simply fall in step with their progressive mentality.

I cannot create a situation where I can either change my ethnicity nor ignore my sons ethnicities. I have never presumed to try to do either. Instead, I attempt to offer my sons what I learn from those who are of color, especially safety rules for interacting with this world. I then offer my sons a safe haven. The world will always see their color. My home will always be an unconditional safe haven of love where color, ethnicity nor how we entered this family is what binds us but what makes us each unique and wonderful.

Yet, I had to sit down and explain to my newest son what racism is. Sadly, while I do not see his tone in a negative light, we live in a tiny school district where some do. The school officials let this son be bullied and initially missed which child was actually the aggressor. The bully proved his lack of ingenuity by bullying repeatedly in the months after he first picked on my child. However, some of the damage to this already hurting child was already done.

These days, when someone wants entertainment at school, they start by trying to get a fight started between this son and the bully again. My son is scared that people continue to think he is not a good kid. His background involves those who were supposed to love him forever always assuming the worst in him and he's terrified people will still think that way.

I was forced to teach this child was racism is because the basic fact is that I believe some of the struggles he is facing is that people don't always assign positive intent to this child first. I cannot say this is a certainty. However, it has now happened often enough, despite his desperate efforts to not let people believe the worst in him when the rumors start swirling yet again, that I had to explain to him that sometimes people see more than just what is before their eyes, even when it's wrong. This is the part of my job that I hate. It is, however, a piece of safety that this child has got to understand and given the extreme isolation and neglect he experienced previously it's not something he has grasped on his own.

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