Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Race Relations Addendum

I typed and shot off my blog post this morning much more quickly than usual.  I wanted it out today, and I was spending the majority of the day in the car transporting to and from an urgent therapy appointment.

So, I've already been criticized for my poor writing.  Which made me chuckle.  It's not someone who knows me AT ALL.  So, they don't know. And it almost makes me want to write "incredibly poorly" again.  (One of my character flaws.  Sorry, not sorry.)  Incidentally, looking back at my previous post pre-criticism, I knew there were more errors than I prefer.  With more time, I would have cleaned it up a bit, but I felt pressed to get this out.  From some private conversations I have had already today because of the 1st post, I am glad that it went out, errors and all.

AND.  The reason I am adding this follow up is I meant to add some resources for you if you wish to learn more, dig deeper, and change hearts--your own and/or others.  (And I was going to do this when I sat down to type and saw the criticism of my writing.)  I have already heard from some of you and the trying racial situations you are in.  I understand.  I am sorry that you are not feeling valued, or heard, or that you have a voice.

I am incredibly sorry that some of you who are fighting for love and equality are having to do so in Christian situations and churches.  I do know that it does.  Some of the worst we have experienced have been in those same situations.  I know the disappointment is so great, because we expect better of those who claim Jesus as their Savior.  I keep telling myself that I shouldn't expect better of faith families, but that part of me keeps hoping for and wanting better.  No matter the dominant race in a church, Church Hour is still the most SEGREGATED HOUR OF THE WEEK. So, I also want to address a couple of things that I did not put into my first post on this topic today.

Adding to my "things we've experienced section..."

5.  It doesn't mean anything when my child says he or she doesn't like your child's brown/black skin or tells your child that he/she can't play with them.

  • This makes me want to curse a blue streak and snatch someone bald.  
  • My child who heard this at ages 4-5, did know what it meant.  And she's never been the same.  At that age, she started wetting the bed at night, cried about these statements.
  • From that point on, when others stared at our family, yep it happens, she automatically assumed they didn't like us or her.  For years, we have tried to help her change her perspective to consider that these people might be thinking, "What a beautiful, unique family.  Aren't they lucky to have that precious child!"  
  • We changed churches at that time.  This is where this situation occurred, and we needed an environment for our child and our family at that time which could minister to us about this and empower us and our child.  This is precisely when we moved to a wonderful mostly black church.
  • The most harmful parts of this situation are NOT what the CHILDREN did.  It was how their parents responded to us when we spoke with them about it.  For those who were floored and had their young children learn to make an apology by drawing a picture, had important conversations, our relationships were not harmed.  We understand errors and how important those teachable moments are for all of us.  With the adults whom dismissed our concerns and said the kids didn't really understand what was being said, that it was just like saying, "I don't like the color of your shirt."  These relationships changed dramatically.  We couldn't trust them with the heart of our child.  I'd also like to send them some of our therapy bills from that time and its scars.
6.  Earlier this year, Jerica was asked to a school dance by a boy (yes, black).  He came over with his mom to meet us a few days before the dance.  He had asked Jerica some questions before hand about what he should call us and what we were like.  Jerica's 1st response to him was pretty telling.  She said in a text, "Well, they're white, but they're not racist. Obviously."

Following are books that have added to our understanding greatly, and I recommend them.

I'm Chocolate, and You're Vanilla by Wright

Different and Wonderful by Hopson and Hopson

Loving Across the Color Line by Rush

Of Many Colors:  Portraits of Multiracial Families by Kaeser & Gillespie

Another resource for transracial families primarily formed through adoption, fostering, etc., there is a great book company that we have used for all of our children's lives.  Tapestry Books has books for children, parents, teens, birth mothers, foster families, transracial  and international families, same sex parenting, etc.  Check them out!  Affordable and quick shipping.

Below I have included links to a couple of books related to Race and Religion and church.  While we were attending the black church, we participated in a book study addressing these topics in a group of both black and white church members.  I cannot find that book or remember the name of it to share with you.  I have not read the books below, but they are on my long, never ending list of books I'm going to read.  Based on descriptions and my knowledge and experience, these books look very worth while.

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