So You're Transracially Adopting: A Reality Check For White Parents
So you’re transracially adopting. Congrats! New life, new child, love and happiness, blah blah blah, now let’s get to the real shit. You’re white and you’re adopting a non-white child. That’s fine, however, what is not fine, is pretending like the non-white child you’re adopting, is white and isn’t going to grow up having extremely different experiences as your white family members. As a transracially adopted person myself, I am here to tell you the shit you need to do to properly prep for having a transracial family and I’m not going to be sweet and nice about it. I was raised by parents’ who like you, didn’t know much better, they did the best they could with their knowledge, but honestly could have been more active in their own learning about blackness. Lots of love just doesn’t cut it. It is 2016, and a lot of these things shouldn’t have to be explained but here we are. I’m going to be blunt and you will probably get your feelings hurt, but I don’t care. I’m here for the benefit of that brown child that is going to be in your family, not to cater to your white feelings. So if you truly want to adopting this child and raise it in a great loving home, listen up, because you can’t just raise us like we’re white. SURPRISE! We’re not white, we never will be, and we know it. So let’s get this shit poppin.
- Throw that colorblind shit out the window
Look we don't have the time for this crap. You're not colorblind, you can see color. You see skin color, you know you're white and others are not, so cut the crap. While your intentions of colorblindness may be good, in reality it's not. Most white people think colorblindness is progressive because "we're all humans, and we all bleed red, I don't see differences blah blah blah my whiteness is at work. At the end of the day, ignoring color issues, race issues, does not help them go away, it just encourages it to keep going. If you see someone getting mugged on the street, does ignoring them make the attacker stop? No, same shit applies to racism and any other form of oppression. Furthermore, differences are not bad. So why are you implying they are? My skin color is not bad, so don't try and erase difference, embrace them and accept that everyone is different and that it is okay. Now in terms of adoption, you need to understand this because that child of color you're adopting will 100% be facing racism from the day they enter this world, and as parents you need to be there to help and support them. As WHITE parents, you have never had to deal with actual racism so you need to work even harder to be present and aware of issues so that when they need help and support you are there for them and not just brushing it off as "a bad experience", "not all white people are bad" or "overreacting" like most white parents to. Be there to validate their experiences and to protect them, not dismiss them.
- Read a non-white history book...or two
Believe it or not, what you learned in school about the history of this country, it whitewashed and edited. By that I mean, it is rewritten to make white folks look like heroes and everyone else to be worthless savages that deserved their ass whooping. So you need to start reading and listening to the story from the non white point of view. The internet-webs is free, if you're reading this, you have access to google, so use it. There are books, blogs, websites, TV shows, so many platforms, FREE platforms to get the non white narrative from. A few books I would suggest starting with "A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America" by Ronald Takaki, "Rethinking The Color Line: Readings In Race & Ethnicity" by Charles Gallagher, "A People's History of The United States" by Howard Zinn & "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong" by James W. Loewen. Depending on what race you're adopting specifically, you should additionally read up about the history of that race in particular. The reason you need to do this, is to understand why we face the shit we are facing today and to cure your ignorance. As white people, you never have to think about race. We as people of color, are reminded every single day from birth that we are not white, you need to be able to understand the racial tension and struggles going on the in the world so that you can raise your child to survive in it. You HAVE to realize that in all brown families, we are taught to survive being black or whatever we are, from birth, we get the talks about how to deal with police, and how to handle racism in school or the workplace, you are not used to having that conversation because you never had to deal with it. Well guess what, your child is going to deal with it, even when they don't fully understand what is happening or why, you as their parent need to be there to protect and teach them how to survive being brown in America. You have to be the one to have those talks with them now. I would also suggest looking into taking some cultural and/or diversity classes. Most local community colleges have them, I'm sure there are classes online now, probably free ones too. And I don't mean those "hey be nice to people who are different" classes, i mean classes that really get into the nitty gritty and tell shit how it is, classes that flip your reality on it's head and make you see from other people's perspectives.
- Learn about the culture you're adopting
Similar to the previous point, you need to learn about the culture of the person you're about to bring into your family. You're a family now, and rather than erasing their culture, incorporate it into your family in addition to whatever your white one is. Their culture is just as important as yours and furthermore, I promise you, not matter how much we might play along and put on a smile for your white shenanigans, we do not connect to your white culture, at all...because we're not white. So for example, if the child you're adopting is black, read up on black culture, you don't need to go in black face and all that shit, but incorporate black history month, Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King. Jr, day etc. into your families traditions as well. Teach them about black history and icons, make sure you have black representation in your household like you do whiteness for your white family members. If you really want your non white child to feel comfortable at home, let them see that you think they're identity also matters. Again, you are their sole source of comfort and information, especially if you're adopting young, so showing that you care about their identity and showing them representation of themselves is important to showing them that you love and care about them. How would you feel if you're entire life you're family didn't bother to show you people who looked like you? We're already are told by society that we ain't worth shit, now on top of that, your own family who is supposed to be there for you, never bothered to show you the powerful and important people who have made it? Who overcame the odds? Never bothered to celebrate your people's culture or history, but are never late to celebrate some white holidays and history. It's really a slap in the face to that child and makes us feel even more like an outcast.
- Check your white privilege
You need to get over your whiteness and realize white ain't the center of the universe. You have privilege as a white person and before you start that "well i grew up poor and my daddy stabbed me in the eye when I was 12 and I slept in a 2 legged tent, so I can't have privilege, read my post about privilege and get a grip. There are text AND video versions, so you have no excuses. There's also about 783200037 other sources that discuss white privilege so just go educate yourself. You as a white parent need to be able to set aside your ignorance and realize that because of your privilege you are not going to face the same things your child of color is going to. You may not even understand their experiences because how could you? You're not a person of color, but what you CAN do, is not be ignorant to the fact that racism exists and whether you understand or not, be there to fight for your child. If you have a black child, guess what you should be right there on the front lines protesting against police brutality and all other anti-blackness, you should be willing to lay down your life like you would for your white kids. That means fighting for your brown child's rights to live and be treated equally in this country. Being aware of your privilege is important to this, as white people you have the power to be listened to and seen as valid, use that to fight for your child. Don't sit on that power and privilege and just watch as we fight for ourselves, because guess what, Treyvon Martin, could be your child on any given day. Don't leave us out to struggle by ourselves, you're supposed to be our family, so back us up like one.
- Get over your whiteness
Get over it, let it go. Get over the white tears and your hurt feelings because at the end of the day, you're white and you will be fine. Your child on the other hand, will not be. Stop focusing on being called out or "generalized". If you're offended, it's probably because you're guilty of whatever the post was saying. As my own white mother said, as a white parent you need to be able to accept that you are not perfect and be able to recognized when things do and do not apply to you. You should be focused on "well not all white people", be focused on the point that is being made, and if it don't apply to you, keep it pushing or better yet, share it anyways for your friend and family who ARE like that. Whether you like it or not, yes all white people are not racist, or owned slaves, however ALL white people still are reaping the benefits of this fucked up racist system that has been set up, thus all white people, including you, especially you which the non white child, are responsible for helping get rid of it.
That's all I have for you right now, you can read some of my other posts about adoption both here and on my tumblr and watch my several videos on my YouTube. There's much for you to learn and if you truly care about the well being of you child, I suggest you get to absorbing some knowledge. It's not all about you, put some time and effort into making sure your child of color feels loved for who they are, let them know it's okay to be different, to have the color skin they have, and they you are there to have their backs. Fight for that child like you would your white one.