Racial injustice is not a topic I have thought as much about as I should have. Maybe it’s time I think more about it and more importantly, have a discussion with my adopted children about how it impacts them.
I read an amazing article on this topic yesterday and it prompted this newsletter – I’ll share the link to the article below.
Let me just say, the woman (the mother) who wrote the article was speaking my language. Her words definitely hit home …
“Have you had to talk to your children about EXACTLY what to say and what not to say to an officer?
Have you had to tell your children that the objective of any encounter with the police, or security in any form, is to stay alive? It never occurred to me to have these conversations with my white children. In fact, it never occurred to me for myself either.
There is no question that my boys have been cloaked in my protection when they were small. What I did not realize until now is that the cloak I was offering them was identification with my whiteness. As they grow independent, they step out from my cloak and lose that protection. The world sees “them” differently.”
Wow – that was hard for me to read, but so powerful.
This summer I attended a seminar given by a Civil Rights attorney at Latin American Heritage Camp, one of the many camps offered to families with adopted children in CO through Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families. The seminar was very impactful.
The attorney told everyone in the audience (parents of Latino children) that if your child is brown they will be profiled. The attorney said if your child is a smart Alec or in any way disrespectful with authority they DEFINITELY should not drive a car. If they do drive and are ever pulled over by the police they should NEVER reach into the back seat and always keep their hands on the steering wheel. We were told that it is smart for our children to record all police encounters whenever possible. We were told to advise our children, if they are pulled over or questioned by an officer, to ask, politely, if they can call their parents or, as a last resort, an attorney.
Bottom line, we were told how to tell our children to walk, talk, dress and act so they don’t die. We role-played situations in order to understand exactly how it happens – which it does, with more regularity than I could have possibly imagined. The statistics are startling. Like I said, the seminar made a HUGE impact on me.
And yes, this all seems a bit hysterical. But it is a fact that people/children of color are profiled and we as white parents don’t understand what that looks or feels like and we need to learn.
Like the mother who wrote this article, both of my children have been cloaked in the protection of my whiteness – up until now. They are 15 and 13 and I can no longer protect them everywhere they go. Now my job is to learn how to teach them to stay alive while being brown.
It is blog post referred to in the article as, Mother of two black children and three white kids’ post on racism is a must read.
I’d sincerely love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Anyone who’d like to participate in an ongoing discussion please use the comments section below.
Thank you so much for your time and participation!
My very best to each of you,
Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, a Certified Professional Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel began by designing Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of those Heritage Journeys has always been on deepening family connections, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Motherland Travel also uses the philosophies of transformative Travel for designing family trips with purpose – building rich connections, with each other and the world! Read more about her here >> http://motherlandtravel.com/