Tuesday, July 16, 2019

5 Awkward Things White People Have Said to My Black Children

Our big, multiracial crew attracts attention.   Two white parents and four Black children.  It's obvious our family was built by adoption which intrigues many.   The kids, stair-stepped in age, also garner attention for their looks and personalities. 

Stepping out in public means knowing that we will probably be approached by a stranger for some reason. 

This isn't automatically a bad thing.  Sometimes a stranger might see us and simply say, "You have a beautiful family."  We always appreciate this.  Sometimes people will tell us their connection to adoption; some of those who approach us are adoptees (which is always a great interaction). 

But sometimes, we are thrown into some very awkward conversations.   And I'm guessing you've been there, done that.  Here are our top five most awkward things white people have said to my Black children: 

1:  I don't see color.

Um, you approached us because you noticed our multiracial family status.

To be perfectly clear, my children's race should be acknowledged and celebrated, not ignored.  Colorblindness, as I've said many times.  Is.  Not.  Real.   

Another awkward situation is when someone sees my kids, notes they are Black, but whispers "Black" or "African American" like it's a curse word or a secret.  

Oh, and my kids know they're Black. 

2:  How long did it take to get your hair done?!?

This is usually both a statement and a question.  Sometimes the person will say, "Hours?"  And, "How in the world can you sit still for so long?"  

Sometimes this is followed by an attempt to touch my kids' hair.

Don't even think about it. 

These hair conversations makes one of my kids really uncomfortable, because she's an introvert who hates attention outside of her basketball skills.   

3:  You are so lucky to have good and loving parents.

Adoptees tell me they are tired of being told they are "lucky."  They shouldn't be forced to feel grateful for being adopted.  Being adopted wasn't a choice the adoptee made.

We are good and loving parents, yes, but my kids also have other "good and loving" parents who gave birth to them and with whom we still have relationships with.   

Furthermore, my kids aren't charity cases, and we aren't saviors.  

4:  Girlfriend, you are just so cute!  YASSSSS!  

It's super awkward for the person we're talking to to all the sudden try to talk in the way they think Black people talk (usually based on movies or TV shows, not actual Black people...because they really don't know any).   Like somehow, the person can relate to my children by talking in a way that is supposed to be familiar to my children?  I don't know.  It's so weird. 

5:  What country are you from?

Newsflash:  not all adoptees of color were adopted internationally.  Shockingly (sarcasm), there are Black people right here in America!   

Also, many, many adoptees are white.  And the number of kids in foster care?  The majority are white.  (See, there's so many things people don't know!)   Oh wait, but you don't see color...

What's the most awkward thing someone has said to your kids?

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