Once upon a time, dear adoptive parents, I expected better of you.
And I kept hoping beyond hope. Even as you walked past me. Because I am invisible in your eyes. As your grown children are invisible as well. Those angry adoptees will never be your children, because your kids will not be oversensitive or have a chip on their shoulder. They’ll be able to laugh it off. They’ll have a thicker skin. They’ll be able to roll with the punches.
Because you’ve already told them how to feel. They push their own feelings aside, stuff them under, keep them hidden. Turn racist hate inward until it becomes internalized racism.
You tell them in thousands of overt and covert ways. Because we live in a colorblind society. Because Martin Luther King wanted us all to judge each other by the content of our character. Beause we have a black president. Because racism is over.
And because our perceptions of the world are faulty. Case in point: Paula recently wrote a post in which her son commented “people are nicer to daddy because he’s white.” An adoptive parent was quick to respond:
I am willing to agree that you are probably the suject of racism at times, but the plane incident could of just been a cranky flight attendent. We’ve all experienced people treating us second class not matter what color we are.
We’re all in this together, because everybody gets mistreated sometimes! It has nothing to do with color. Although I am willing to admit that maybe, just maybe, you might experience racism.
Because racism is only racism if a white person says so. They are the best judges and they can quickly and accurately sum up the situation even if they weren’t present. Because the perception of people of color is so markedly distorted because they’re always pulling out the race card and looking for a reason to be offended and seeing racism in everything. Because we can’t trust the evidence of our eyes and ears. Because it’s not like we’re making excuses for other people all the time and conveniently “forgetting” about racist acts as a means of self-preservation.
Jezzy wheezy, our “concerns” have no merit. We should take a chill pill. Because we are taking every little thing and making it twisted and turned into something ugly. Because it has nothing to do with racism. Because we are LOOKING for ANYTHING to be offended by.
Because our concerns as people of color are not important and can be dismissed with the cavalier phrase “chill pill.” Because a child replicating a racist gesture that has been used for years is just a “little thing” and is not ugly. Because racism is such a part of our society that it is seen as normal and not racist. Because the colorblind cannot see institutionalized racism and how that differs from something being “offensive.”
Dear adoptive parents, your children hear how you talk about race every day. And they hear how you don’t talk about it. And they hear how you respond to people of color. So they know better than to tell you what they are thinking or feeling. Instead they are alone with your hate.
A white adoptive parent once told me that she wanted her daughter to grow up to be an adult who was resilient and who rolled with the punches. Unlike me. A common, fucked-up viewpoint that tells the recipient of racism and hate to learn to deal without addressing the cause.
I told her I am resilient and I roll with the punches, as I imagined her daughter to be. But that she needed to stop punching us.
P.S. You seriously think your small child hasn’t experience racism yet?