Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something to Read: "Blissfully Unaware"

In light of the conversation going on this week (and really, it is a conversation: if you haven't already, I recommend taking time to read all the comments on my last two posts), please read this post.

Also, in case you missed the comments section, here is one that stood out. I always listen extra close to adult adoptees. Thank you for your thoughts Kimberly. If I had a way to thank you privately, I would, so instead, here it is on my blog: thank you.

I grew up in a transracial adoptive family and I hated being called "the pretty black girl" it was meant as a compliment but it bothered, and no one understood how a "compliment" could hurt my feelings.
As one who has been the only black child in the school/neighborhood/etc I would say watch your son for signs not just acting out but different behavior. I sometimes felt like I had to be good all the time because people thought black people were bad I had to be good so they could see that I was "different, good, not like those others. It was exhausting and I put up with a lot of nonsense that I probably shouldn't have.
Parents take care of children but remember that children also take of parents. I told my parents, especially my Mom what she wanted to hear because I didn't want to get her upset.
Anyway I just wanted to add my two cents, I hope everything works out fine."


Casa Bicicleta said...

Oh wow. That was one powerful post. Thank you for the link.

Shaking my head.

Shaking. Period.

kn said...

Related to this wonderful, insightful comment; Valarie Washington's Yahoo group discussed this idea - children who have to perform. Valarie was working with preteen girls during a weekend retreat. All the girls were African American. She described an incredible moment in the group when all of the girls broke down crying as they discussed the incredible energy they expend have to play the role of 'good little black girl.'

At 8 years old I have seen Quinn act this out for the last 4 and 1/2 years. He is different when he is with all white people (although not my immediate family where I can tell he feels total acceptance) than when he is with all black people. We take him an hour an a half to art school on Saturdays so that he can be surrounded by brown skinned people. I know if he were in acting class or dance class with majority white students he would not feel free to make mistakes.

This is not something we discuss with him. This is just what we do based on how we see he acts at home. After several years I can say he is never as exhausted when he comes home from an all black event as when he comes home from an all white one.

The role switching starts very very very early. They get it before they can talk about it.

When we vacationed in the Dominican Republic this spring, a place where everyone looked like him, he said to me "Mom, next vacation we go one we'll go to a place where you fit in." This from a child where we rarely discuss race. We don't avoid it, it's just in the day to day life of an 8 year old, soccer, and baseball and school and art class, race just doesn't come up. But that statement showed me once again, that although I may not be talking about it doesn't mean he isn't thinking about it.

I need to do more talking perhaps.

becca albertson said...

just wanted to thank Kimberly too. Thanks Kimberly.