I have been thinking deeply about issues of race for a long time now. Ever since this past February when we decided to embark on the journey of adoption I have been contemplating my privilege as a white woman more and more and what that will mean for my child of color. One thing I think it means is that I am to reflect on history in an appropriate way. One that will enhance my child’s thoughts on his or her own culture, one that is supportive of the person he or she is.
It’s incredible how many people have been supportive of Brian and I adopting. For that I thank you all–your encouragement is so amazing. Something that bothers me though is this whole notion of us being a “savior” to our child, our presumably black, child-to-be. This is such a misnomer. As I heard from someone on an adoption panel for our agency “they [the children] save us.” I’m finally starting to get what that means. They save us from our narrow-minded perspective. Our hollow shell of existence that reflects but a small scope of history. You see, as white people, Brian and I cannot understand what it means to be a person of color. Yes, you may sit back and say this is over sensitive or you’re only mentioning this because the media hypes it up, blah, blah, blah. But I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it with my own friends, co-workers, and students. I work in higher education for crying out loud–a place where students are supposed to be treated with the dignity of the human person in mind. However, this is not always true for people of color, not just in higher education, but in our society as a whole.
Do I see inequality personally everyday? No. But do I know it exists and have I seen it often enough to be bothered by it? YES, yes I do. And I think if we put ourselves in the shoes of persons of color, we will start to see it, too. I myself have been profiled before. I have very few instances of my being profiled compared to my loved ones of color, but it has happened. People treat you differently because they think you do not speak their language or that you’re some sort of threat because of your darker features. It happens. And I know that this happens to our children who were adopted. I’ve had adoptive parents and adoptees alike who can confirm that it does happen. If you would like to see some of the reputable research I found, based on fact, I would love to share it with you.
Well racial inequality is something that, as a follower of Christ, I cannot get behind. I cannot get behind persons lauding the decision of a case that at it’s root has so much wrong with it. I cannot get behind the over politicizing that has happened as a result of a horrific situation. What I can get behind is that it is extremely tragic and unfortunate that a 17-year-old boy was killed. No matter what the facts are, our call as Christians is to love others, regardless of what they have done. I will not sit here and demonize George Zimmerman for what he did because as a Christian I am called to love him no matter what. But as a Christian I am also called to think critically about the world that I am in but not of and realize how sinful it is. How sinful it is that my black son or daughter might be looked at more closely in a grocery store, a movie theater, or any other public place because of the color of their skin. How sinful it is that our society can claim that our justice system is the best in the world when time and again it forces people of color to go through the ringer when often times white persons get off Scot free. How sinful it is that we turn our backs on our brothers and sisters of color without trying to understand the pain that they may go through on a daily basis. How sinful it is that we think our black youth are expendable. It’s sinful because we are sinful people, but at the cross there is no room for prejudice or ignorance. At the cross Christ beckons us to love others deeply since we are all made in the image of God. So I say, why does it hurt to consider the perspective of our brothers and sisters of color and mourn with them when something tragic happens to a member of their community? I mourn with you my brothers and sisters and so does my husband. Below is an email and article Brian sent out to some beloved friends and family members. I recommend reading it and the article link below. I will close thereafter.
Hi Future Influences on My Child’s Life,
You know, I knew that this whole adopting-a-child-of-color-thing would be pretty difficult. But I, as a Christian, am called to reach out to the oppressed and love on them. Whether you agree or not, people of color are still oppressed in our society. This is a fact. Since my son or daughter (and hopefully many after them) will be of color, I have to say that I am not their savior, Jesus is, and since He is our Savior I need to be on the “right side of history,” as they say, and work to fight oppression towards our society’s marginalized. I hope you will join me and my husband in this fight, a peaceful one at that, but a fight none-the-less to dispel ignorance and preach the love of Christ. After all, the case of Trayvon Martin is way past the point of “is George Zimmerman guilty or not guilty?” That decision has already been made. Your decision now is to fight ignorance in peaceful ways that will contribute to society, not make it worse. I pray that you will fight the good fight and begin to focus on love, not ignorance or hate. Love. When my son or daughter asks me what side of history I was on at this time in my life, I want to say, with complete confidence, love.