Monday, June 16, 2008

Racism & Reverse Racism

This evening I was introduced to a well-written 2006 Washington Post article entitled Black Men Quietly Combating Stereotypes. I found it on a blog that I visit from time to time, one family's story of their adoptions (both domestic and international) and their efforts to raise healthy black boys in a transracial family.

Speaking from my own perspective as Mom in a transracial adoptive family, I can honestly say that our "rainbow" family is a thing of beauty to me. And living in Chile as we do, with a black son as young (and dare I say adorable) as ours currently is, we actually experience on a daily basis what I like to call "reverse racism." (Or as my seven-year old daughter somewhat enviously describes it, why-do-people-always-talk-to-Owen and why-do-people-always-look-at-Owen and why-do-people-always-give-Owen-free stuff!)

I joke about the "paparazzi" but the truth is that we cannot go out in public unnoticed. We are gringos in a land of Chileans and we are a shocking contrast of white-skinned and black-skinned in a land of mostly matching mocha. Children are the most amusing to watch when we pass by; too innocent to dissimulate, their mouths usually drop open in amazement and their voice soon follows in an animated announcement to "mira el negrito!"

So the truth of the matter is that for here, and now, our son is a warmly welcomed celebrity of sorts. But he won't always be a cute little boy. Someday he will grow up and become a black teenaged boy; someday he will grow up even more and become a black adult man. And someday, he will return to a land where his skin color is not such an exciting novelty and people are not so curious to know who he is - because they will think they already do, simply because of the color of his skin.

It would be untruthful to say that I don't sometimes feel scared for my son's well-being: I do. That is why I read blogs and articles and books and try to prepare myself to prepare my son for what he will someday face in the world "out there." But my heart's greatest desire for each of my children is that first and foremost they will find their identity not in the color of their skin; or in being missionary kids, "gringos," or adoptees; but in being a son or daughter of the King of kings.
That is my hope, and my prayer.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I think you're right on, dear Steph...praying with you on that one...
~DSG