Monday, October 7, 2013

It's Not Enough to Just Braid Hair: On Taking Chances and Making Friends

On a Transracial Adoption FB group I frequent, an adoptive mother brought up an excellent point:  Do White transracial adoptive parents focus too much on things like hair, and Black history, and soul food, and Kwanzaa, etc., and not enough on developing meaningful relationships with people of color?  

If you've never had a real relationship with a person of color, and your only education about people of color is from BET and the NBA and the evening news, you might be White.   And you might be intimidated.   Aren't a lot of Black men criminals?  Job-less?  Fathering three babies in one year with three different women?  Aren't Black women curvy and really loud and have some sort of thing about their hair?  Aren't Black kids sort of suspicious?   Aren't the majority of welfare recipients Black?   (Way to go, media...)

Like, how do you do it?  How do you befriend someone you are scared of and intimated by?

Is it racial-targeting to purposefully seek out and attempt to befriend people of color for the benefit of yourself and your adopted child?

What if you are laughed at, ignored, or worse, rejected? 

What if it's just easier to focus on things we can find out about elsewhere---an online message board, or a blog, or a book (like from anywhere but from conversations with people of color)?  

Here's the deal.

You chose to adopt transracially.

You chose to become a parent.

(You didn't choose the easy route).

You know what you need to do.

So, are you going to do it?

You might be a quiet, private person.  Or you might be someone whose not all that educated on politically correct language.  You might be a person who is very fearful of rejection.  You might be someone who feels a bit overwhelmed with transracial adoption.  You might be sensitive.  You might be timid.  You might be easily embarrassed.  

But transracial adoption isn't about you.  (Hint:  It's about the little person next to you).

But it does, often, start with you.

Without risk, there is little reward.

You, adoptive parents, you have to get over yourselves.  You have to do what is best for your children.   And in doing so, you might learn a thing or two and form some really great friendships.

It's like this.  Say your child contracted a horrible disease.  There was a cure, but it would require you do something you are terrified of doing.   Would you not face your fears to save your child?

I'm going to be cliche here and say:  practice makes perfect.

The more you reach out, the more likely you are to hear "yes."  

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." 

I understand that the media makes is really difficult for Whites to feel they can trust, like, or even love an adult person of color.     For hundreds of years, people of color have been isolated, mistrusted, wrongfully persecuted and judged, harshly scrutinized. 

You are, as my mother taught me, in charge of yourself and your children.  Your kids are trusting you to make the right decisions for them.   To embrace possibilities.   To take chances.  To confront your own fears, prejudices, and skepticism.

I have found that when I began to push my fears aside (and still do), I was able to find treasures that exceeded my hopes.    The friends of color that I have made have enriched my life beyond what I could have imagined.  They have blessed me with knowledge and advice and encouragement.   I am more blessed than ever.  I'm developing authentic, kindred relationships with people because I took a chance and said hello.  

Try it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated and published upon approval. Your thoughts and questions are also welcome via e-mail at whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com.