Monday, February 02, 2015

NEW SERIES ON RACE

Last summer, I blogged a bit about how I didn't know what to say about Ferguson.  I still can't sum up anything concise, but the conversation about race has been a rather constant one in our home since that time.  On Friday night, we went to see Selma, which was really, really good.  Afterwards, instead of heading home, we went out to debrief the film over a beer and Pizookie (cookie "pizza" with ice cream).  I think most conversations would be better if had while consuming those things - don't you think?

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In case you haven't seen Selma, I want to highly recommend it to you.  It is the true story of a protest march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama with the goal of helping to gain black voting rights.  I had never heard the story - or if I had, I did not recall it at all.  It is amazing.  Both John and I felt like it did a really fair job of depicting the fact that though Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a perfect man - he was a hero.  It managed to paint a gripping picture of the complex issues of that day and gave the stories of the brave people who stood up to do something about it.  Parts of it are very hard to watch, and they should be.  It is difficult to realize that all of this happened during my parents' lifetime.  It is really recent history.

As I said in the post about Ferguson last summer, this issue has become very personal.  When we started our adoption process, we knew we would be adopting black children.  We thought they would be African, and instead, God gave us African-American children.  Those are actually pretty different things, in all reality.

We were prepared to visit Africa and embrace the culture of Ethiopia, and we looked forward to it.  We thought we would have only a small part of their personal history and that connecting the dots for them would be a challenge.  Instead, God brought us children with a birth family nearby and now in our lives.  We know a lot of their history, and because they are African-American, we are now working to embrace that culture.  

To be really honest, I think this is harder.  It comes with personal bias.  We all have our own narrative with racial issues, and especially here in the South, it is usually complex.  But - it is critical that we do this and do it well.  I recently read this article about 3 black adoptees who were raised in white families who all felt like their families tried to raise them with "colorblindness," basically ignoring their race.  They all craved to understand their roots, and I can see that if we as parents don't do a good job of really understanding what is means to be African-American in our day and time, then we would do our children a massive disservice.

I've also realized that it takes a lot of humility to do this work.  I have to lay down things that I've always assumed.  I have to be willing to listen with an open heart and mind to really hear.

I'm going to do a series of posts as we continue through this journey.  John has already agreed to write several, and I'm hoping to solicit a few guest posts as well.  It is a vulnerable place to write from, and I'm sure that I will get many things wrong along the way.  But - I feel like it is worth the time, effort and emotional energy.  Thanks for reading along.

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