Today the topic of race came up with some of my new mama friends. Particularly how and/or if you should talk to your children about race, which, of course, is a topic of fascination to me as a newbie to transracial adoption.
One of them had watched children avoiding holding her kids' dark-skinned hands during an activity, yet silently looked on as the other moms handled the situation. (I know that will be me at some point in time, and I can easily get anxious and heartbroken at the thought of what Jameson might have to face just because of the pigment of his skin.)
I think my friends speak for a lot of families in our country. Race can be a polarizing, uncomfortable topic. We don't want to say the wrong thing, we don't want our KIDS to say the wrong thing or believe the wrong thing, so we often don't say anything at all.
But I think we need to realize our underlying assumption when we do that is that we're equating the topic of race to something bad, something we should avoid unless it absolutely needs to be mentioned.
Our family talks often about race. Maybe that's a byproduct of being a transracial family? Since Jameson doesn't even have one parent that shares his culture, perhaps we have to be more intentional in learning about and integrating his culture into our home than my friends do.
But maybe my friends also don't need to talk about race as much because they're always around it. As I listened, it was obvious they live and choose diverse settings for their children so maybe the subject of race isn't a big deal when you're constantly surrounded by a community of multiple ethnicities.
Honestly, my world is much more colorful now than it used to be, but it's still more white than I'd prefer.
Each family decides how they'll choose to handle the sensitive and messy subject of race with their kids. Certainly it's a tricky balancing act for us-- I don't want my children putting too much identity into race. People are FAR more than their color. Or gender.
But I also don't want my children to ignore what God has made, either. As transracial parents, we're always learning and processing through the issue of race, and right or wrong, our family has chosen to teach our children about the BEAUTY in diversity that God Himself created! Just as people come with different eye colors, they come in different skin colors, too.
This may be a shock, but we've also chosen to teach our children age-appropriately about the history of race in our nation by reading children's books on Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr, etc. It's because of the efforts of the Civil Rights movement that our family can even be considered a family!
The story of the Bible is how Christ came to unite two races that once opposed one another, Jews and Gentiles.
Our family exists as a direct result of God's kingdom moving across the hearts of our nation to unite two races.
How could we NOT celebrate?