Thursday, June 11, 2020


I've been radio silent on the internet for about a month and even longer on the blog.  To say that 2020 has walloped me upside the head and deep into my heart would be an understatement.  There have been hard diagnoses in our family.  There has been the pandemic and subsequent quarantine that took away our support system and routines and left us isolated and a bit undone.  I've been battling situational depression and trying to find a way through our days.  It's been a lot and then some.

But here we are in June, and the race conversation has reached a fever pitch and groundswell that cannot and SHOULD NOT be ignored.  George Floyd's death and Breonna Taylor's and Ahmaud Arbery's have brought Black Lives Matter back to the forefront of everyone's attention.  There are protests and round the clock news coverage that switched from the ongoing depressing cycle of Coronavirus to conversations centered on race and talking heads debating why black men and women are still getting killed at the hands of police.  Or at the hands of vigilantes who are then not prosecuted by our justice system.  I know I am recapping the obvious, and unless you are living in a hole (which sounds pretty great right now), none of this is new info.  

When we stepped into being a transracial family over 7 years ago, we quickly realized that we had a lot of educating we needed to do for ourselves.  We became more intentional to ask questions of the people of color in our life and to seek out more voices of people who come from different backgrounds.  We got to know the family we had adopted into, and we have learned so much from the twins' grandmother who attended Central High and knows members of the Little Rock Nine personally, because she closely followed their footsteps.  I've diversified my social media feeds, though this is something I am still actively working on.  We've read books and listened to podcasts and watched documentaries.


We acknowledged our white privilege years ago.  (Here are posts I wrote back in 2014 and 2016) I am not trying to make us sound more "woke" than we are.  We are still working to dismantle the racism and prejudices and biases that live within us.  It's hard work to humbly understand the role our whiteness has played in our success, and it is devastating to realize that we have two children who will not be protected under our privilege umbrella throughout their lives because their skin is beautifully darker than our's.  I do not feel guilty about being white, but I understand that whiteness in our country can and has been weaponized.  I'm saddened to say that I was not shocked by these deaths occurring in our country.  I am angrier than ever before, and I'm grieving, but I moved past shock years ago.

I realize that so far, I've made this post about our family's journey.  I wanted to show that learning about race and privilege is a journey.  A marathon.  A lifestyle.  It's not something to do only while it's trending.  It's more than posting a black box on social media to make sure everyone knows that you do care about black people dying.  And if you are tired of hearing about racism, imagine how tired people must be of experiencing it? (paraphrased off an instagram quote I saw)

What I have so appreciated through this round of national racial conversations is the way so many white people have begun to understand that we need to listen.  We need to reflect.  Is slavery our fault?  No, but it informs our current reality, so to discount those centuries of oppression is to ignore our real history and context that adds depth and breadth to the anger we're seeing and experiencing.  

So now what?  This is the question I hear friends asking, and it's a good one.  Now that we are awake to the systemic racism, now what?  We are having conversations with those in our circle about this issue, and as of this weekend, we have attended our first protest as a family.  I must say this was an experience that resonated with me on several levels.  I realized that I've not had many reasons to protest in my life, which means that mostly, systems work for me, an upper-middle class white lady.  There is also something very intentional about attending a protest - we took time to write out signs, which meant really trying to figure out what we wanted to say and taking the time to say it.  We explained to our kids what we were doing and why.  (We also loaded up a backpack full of snacks, treats and drinks, because it was over 90 degrees and at dinner time.)  It felt a little weird to pull up and unload, and because of the racial makeup of our family, it always feels like we draw a few more looks.  But, people smiled, and there was so much solidarity in the togetherness (while most of us were wearing masks, because what a delight that all of this is happening during a global pandemic).  


It was also a reminder of the nuance and listening that is still required.  Honestly, I didn't necessarily "agree" with all of the signs that I saw.  And as certain people were talking, I realized that I wasn't "comfortable" with everything being communicated.  However, it has pushed me to do more research - to learn what it might mean to rethink the role of police in our society and how funds could be shifted around to address the real needs of our communities and to listen to the people this is affecting negatively.  Again, the system has worked for me, but that does NOT mean that it is working.


We will continue to broaden our circle and have hard conversations that require humility and being uncomfortable.  We attend a predominantly Black church once a quarter to give ourselves and our bio kids the opportunity to experience being the minority every once in a while and to have a greater understanding of Black Christian culture in our city.  We work with an incredibly diverse population that feels keenly and strongly about everything going on.  John has spent a lot of time listening and dialoguing with members of our team, which has continued to open our eyes.  We are still learning so much.  It's super messy, but I am hopeful that real change is possible.  I can't speak to all that should look like, but I am hopeful that examining the systems and mechanics of what got us here will allow us to bring more accountability and change.  


I've seen lots of people scared to post anything for fear of getting it wrong.  I know that I will get it wrong, but I would rather say something than nothing.  I would rather share about things that matter to our family deeply than to ignore what is happening.  I realized that even though I feel a bit redundant, that is because of the social feeds that I have curated over the last seven years.  I can use my voice in my own circles.  

And lastly, to any brothers and sisters in Christ that may be reading this, please know that this issue needs more than prayer.  Racism is a sin/heart problem, yes, but the ways that it has spilled into our society require real cultural and policy change.  To simply say that you are praying it gets better is an incomplete response.

And because I am by NO MEANS an expert, I would love to point you to just a few books authored by Black people that are enlightening.  If you need more resources, just check the New York Times Bestseller list this week - most of them are centered on racial issues.

Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison

Here are some of the Black people I follow on Instagram that I am continually learning from.


Roy K said...

Hi thanks for sharing thhis