(I converted our domain, rmcsquared.net, into our professional web site and moved all personal content to this blog. This is the last content to be left sitting in draft form.)
Jackson and Cassie are African-American/Caucasian, or black and white. Parenting a child of another race does come with some unique challenges. However, the information we need does exist, and we are reading and talking about potential issues. In the end, we feel that color, race, ethnicity, etc. does not define who a person is. These pieces help to make a person proud, and should not be used as a reason to hate or love another person. What’s important is our child’s soul, and we think we can foster that, no matter what he looks like on the outside.
I wrote that in 2005, about Jackson. I added Cassie’s name when I moved the content over in 2012. I think it’s rather simplistic, but a good summary of how we feel about race and transracial adoption.
There are people who say “race doesn’t matter.” What (I hope) they’re saying is that race doesn’t matter when it comes to how they feel about a person. Race does, in fact, matter. We see race. Babies see differences in skin color. When she was an infant, Cassie definitely gravitated toward women of color. Jackson didn’t seem to care about color until he was in preschool, and was around children and adults of all different hues, but he was able to express the fact that he and we are different colors.
Race matters in everyday life in other ways. People are more likely to see black males as menacing, or as potential criminals. People are more likely to think that Asians are smarter. As society becomes more multiracial, I do think some of these stereotypes will fade away, but that’s going to take at least another generation, in my opinion.
But race also matters because one’s heritage matters. I’m Polish, Lithuanian, Italian, German, and Irish. When I was in grade school, Lithuania was still part of the USSR, so I felt pulled towards that country and part of the world when it came to geography and history. I won a scholarship from the Sons and Daughters of Italy. My mom really identified with being Irish, and my dad is very proud of his Polish background. I think it’s important that my kids know about and are proud of their backgrounds too.
I pulled this piece out of drafts because of a recent event, in which a white woman who was fostering a black boy was asked the question, “How do you plan to raise a black man?” She answered, “I plan on raising him the same way I would a white man.” The child was removed from her home. (Read the original article
, and a great blog post
about it.) I get what she was saying. To a certain extent, all people – male or female, black or white – should be taught the same basic principles. For example, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s universal.
However, there are some lessons that are different based on one’s sex, color, religion, or anything that makes one different from someone else. I basically can’t let my son go anywhere in a hoodie. There are actually steps written down for young black men to follow when they’re stopped by the police, so they won’t get shot. There are differences, and parents need to be aware of them. It’s important that we see color, race, ethnicity, and culture, and embrace them, instead of being “color blind.”