Is Dressing Your Adoptee in Certain Apparel Racist?

Is Dressing Your Adoptee in Certain Apparel Racist?

Over the past few months, I have seen a reoccurring discussion pop up in the TRA community around dressing TRAs in certain apparel. The concern is around dressing your TRA (particularly black TRAs), in clothing that has perceived racist imagery. Clothes with images such as monkeys or watermelons. What is interesting to me about this topic, is it doesn't seem to be limited to the adoptive community. In fact, I have seen black people criticize other black parents for dressing their kids in "racist" clothing and I'm a little befuddled on how we got here. 

So here's the thing—I can understand the logic, (however little) behind this thinking. These images have for centuries been associated with black people in a negative context. We have been (and still are), often referred to as monkeys. gorillas, apes etc

The same goes for things like watermelon, fried chicken and many other images that have been racially attached to black people. So on one hand, I get it. I can see why this could be triggering to some people. However, on the other hand...it's literally a piece of clothing. 

The same goes for things like watermelon, fried chicken and many other images that have been racially attached to black people. So on one hand, I get it. I can see why this could be triggering to some people. However, on the other hand...it's literally a piece of clothing. 

So here's my issue, with this discussion. It's not racism. Period. Unless the clothes say something like "n**gers love watermelon", simply wearing a shirt with watermelons on it, is not racist or anti-black. I even saw a post on Facebook calling Serena Williams anti-black because she has a stuffed monkey she took a photo with. The monkey is something she has had since a child, and it has sentimental value to her. How does that make her anti-black? Look, I get there is a history behind some of this stuff, but the bottom line is, just because white people are racist, doesn't mean I, or any other black person, need to stop enjoying my life. White people make this shit up out of nowhere, I will not and never will comply to these stupid stereotypes. Watermelon and fried chicken are just good. I don't care what race you are, it's good, and I'm going to eat it. If I like a shirt with a monkey on it, I'm going to wear it. In fact, I might just buy myself a whole ass monkey, just for the hell of it. Monkeys are great and smart, and honestly, don't know why white people chose of the smarted animals to use as an insult...but logic has never been racist's strong points. 

In terms of transracial adoption,—is it racist, No. Should you avoid it? Probably. It's a little bit different when you're a white parent dressing your baby up in monkey or watermelon clothes. While it's still not inherently racist, and personally, I wouldn't care. You're most likely going to get some wild looks and have a person or two tell you it's not okay. Maybe it's only something you do around immediate friends and family who KNOW you're not racist, or maybe you are racist. I don't know, I'm assuming if you're reading this blog, you're probably not. But if someone doesn't know you and just sees a white person, a black baby, and monkey clothes, their first thought it not going to be positive. Given the plethora of baby clothing that exists, it's best you just avoid it to save yourself and your child a headache.  


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