“White people can’t raise Black kids. Period. End of story.”
Yep. We’re gonna go there today. Buckle up, buttercup.
This is an actual sentence posted by a real live person on Facebook. (Yes, I know…Facebook. What the what. Just bear with me.)
I don’t know her in real life but we can safely say this woman speaks with more authority about the Black experience than I ever will, so all you folks who read that quote and reflexively said what the HELL?! need to take a step back and start over. I know it’s hard. Every knee-jerk white privilege instinct we have screams love-is-love (it is) and love-makes-a-family (it does), but – and it’s a big but – part of growing is knowing when to listen to someone else’s point of view. Like this one.
I’ll do my best to try to share hers.
a) A racist system puts too many Black kids in foster care. Instead of helping Black families stay together, caseworkers “save” those kids from Black parents by placing them with white families so they can have a “better” life.
b) White people don’t teach their kids about race or discrimination. More to the point, white people aren’t truly able to because they don’t experience it.
c) If you adopt a Black child, acknowledge you will never be Black. You will always be an outsider to the Black community.
Okey-dokey! Everyone still with me? Not exactly lighthearted fare today.
To her first point…I can’t count the number of times someone has commented that our kids have a better life with BrightSide and me. At one point I may have even believed it myself, but now I think they have a different life. Yes, we’re a two-parent household with decent resources and a love of travel. It’s a good life, but I’d be fooling myself if I said they don’t struggle with adoption issues. Would life with their biological parents have been worse? Who knows? Money isn’t everything. Maybe they wouldn’t have traveled like we do, maybe they wouldn’t have had all the material things they wanted, but they also wouldn’t have wondered why they weren’t good enough to keep.
To her second point…you really can’t argue with this one. I’m not sure how anyone raises a child of color and doesn’t have the conversation about race and discrimination, but she’s right. We can only discuss this from a secondhand perspective. I will never fully understand what it’s like to be a person of color in America. Although my conversations are the best I can do, they’ll never have the authenticity of someone who lives with discrimination.
To her third point…ouch. Nobody likes to hear they’ll never be accepted. It’s so final. Like nothing you do matters, you’ll only ever be that White mama. Harsh. Except it might be just a little bit like how it doesn’t matter what they do, they’ll only ever be that Black neighbor.
Food for thought.