Tonight, we went to a meeting at B's school about changes that will be happening next school year. There was a fair amount of complex drama that happened last year about district lines and such. With no kids in the system at that point, we just listened from the sidelines; this year though, we are going to these meetings to educate ourselves about all the ins-and-outs. It's interesting.
At one point in the meeting, we were to join up in small groups to discuss the proposed changes and to clarify what our values are as a community. I ended up in a group with a four other parents, two of whom were African-American mothers. One of these women brought up the issue of diversity in schools, and how important it is for her kids to have some faces that look like theirs in the class.
I'm pretty sure at this point she didn't realize I was an adoptive mother of a black child, which I'm sort of glad about since I then got to hear her unfiltered opinions about white parents who adopt black children. She joked about how she and her friend sit on the soccer field and try to pick out which of the black children are either "mixed" or "adopted." She pointed her finger saying "Yep, look at that messy hair. Adopted. Mixed. Adopted, adopted, mixed." Then she started laughing.
She went on for a while about how these parents think that "love is enough" all while not preparing their kids for the "different reality" that their kids will grow up in, simply by having darker skin. She's exactly right. Turns out she's a therapist and that some black adult adoptees have come to her to talk about how they don't know where they fit in, how their white parents didn't expose them to black culture so they have no way to judge character. She said that these kids end up in wrong crowds sometimes because they don't have positive black role models who show them how to judge character and help them know their place in the world. She even said that some white parents don't listen when their kids tell them instances where they were discriminated against.
I also found it interesting that she makes sure when her children are placed in their classes each year that "if there is only one other black child in that grade, they better be in my child's class." I was also thrilled to hear that one of her children was taught by B's kindergarten teacher, and that she loved her. I mean, she gushed about how wonderful she is.
She does "curly hair parties" for moms like me who are just learning. She is a bright, shining light of a person.
I also got her card before I left for the night.