Recently, I called my daughter's preschool. I spoke with the director about our family situation. I explained that our daughters were both adopted and were both African American. I told her that diversity is important to our family, and thus, we found her preschool to be the best option for our oldest daughter. I then requested that when she divided kids into classes for the year, that she put my daughter with other children of her same race.
I then posted on Facebook, "Called my daugher's preschool to request that she be in a class with other kids of color. Being a transracial family is interesting!"
I got several comments. One of which was that I shouldn't have done what I did. That my daughter is only two and will thrive no matter the racial makeup of her class. Another friend posted that a good educator would divide kids up racially without a request.
I also heard from a friend, via e-mail, who, by the way, is in a transracial (biological) family. She said that by talking about race and emphasizing it, we keep racism alive. (Then I thought how my two-year-old knows she is "brown" and her parents are "pink"---and we talk about this often. Am I screwing her up?)
All interesting points.
So, I want to know from you:
Is talking about race and ensuring that our kids grow up in a racially diverse situation (be it school, neighborhood, church, etc.) keeping racism alive? Or, is doing this being realistic about the world we live in and providing our kids with opportunities?
Is race a "big deal" anymore?
I find that generally younger people (like my students, about age 18, 19, 20) don't make a big deal out of race. Twice while on vacation, we bumped into a group of college girls. They doted on both my girls (which they, of course, loved) but didn't make a single comment or ask a question about adoption, their hair, race. Younger generations, is seems, are either less experienced in racism (meaning, they didn't grow up during the Civil Rights Era), aren't bothered by transracial families (more used to it? after all, adoption is popular both in mainstream culture and among celebrities), or simply don't care to comment. I realize these are all assumptions on my part, could be geographically-linked, and are over-generalizations...but I'm just sharing my thoughts here.
I don't think colorblindness (or the idea of it) is cool. I celebrate my diverse, multi-racial family. Not only are my girls black, but they are adopted. They are unique on two levels. But is it really a big deal?
What I'm coming to realize is there is no single answer. To some adoptees, being adopted is a big deal. To some, transracial adoption is a big deal. Some grew up around lots of white people, and they weren't negatively impacted by that. Others (like in some books I've read) state that their white parents really screwed up by not exposing them to people of their same race on a frequent and intimate level.
Wow---this post is all over the place.
Just like many adoptive parents, I'm searching for answers. Shrug. Where I'll find these right answers, well, I don't know.