Anyone who has raised a child has wished there was a manual and a step-by-step instruction sheet for the process. Luckily, the memory you have of how you felt as a child and as a teenagers should help you navigate some of the issues. However, a white parent raising a Black child becomes even more complicated, because you have never been a Black child. This is a disadvantage.
Parents often come into Heart to Heart Adoptions with the following misconceptions:
- Race doesn’t really matter. There are no unique needs of blackness and black childhood. Once teachers/coaches/neighbors get to know you and your child, then there will be no passive racist views.
- There are no differences between the needs of a Black child, emotionally, socially, mentally and physically.
- Adopting a Black child is an opportunity to prove you are not a racist
- Adopting a Black child makes you Black by proxy.
- You deserve respect and approval for this charitable act.
- You now have an inside pass to use freely drop “sista” or any other Black vernacular you see depicted in movies.
- There are no physical differences between Black children and other nationalities.
- All members of your extended family are going to eventually love this child as much as you do.
- Your child will never have friends which will project an attitude of how your child should feel honored just because he or she is deemed a worthy friend for a white child.
- You will never have parents who brag about how unbiased they are because they allow your child in their home.
All of the above assumptions are false to varying degrees. In the next few blogs we will tackle each bullet point so you can better maneuver these falsehoods.
Let’s start with “Race Doesn’t Matter. Your Child Will Not Face Passive Racists Views.”
In the book “Motherhood in Black and White,” the author describes how the blond haired, blue-eyed daughter super glued her hands together. The faculty and staff were surprised at this senseless act from a girl who epitomizes the description of “White Privilege.” When the dark-skinned, nappy-haired younger brother misbehaved there was no such surprise. In fact, when the sixth grade boy scored in the 90th percentile in vocabulary, one educator said, “This can’t be right.”
When your child hears racist remarks either passive or aggressive, they need to know you do not condone those actions. They should not feel this is a normal or acceptable thing for people to do.
However, if you react with outrage, then your child can feel victimized. Calmly addressing the situation is essential.