Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Black History Month

I, ashamedly, admit that this year is the first year that I, seriously, and thoughtfully, celebrated Black History Month. Bringing LJ home has altered my world view in all the best ways. It has forced me to look at life through a new lens. A lens that encourages diversity and steps outside my cultural boundaries.

I don't want either of my boys to grow up in a world surrounded by people that look like Ben and I. In fact, I have made a conscious effort to make friendships outside of my community. We even made a difficult decision to leave our home church to attend an extremely diverse church, closer to the city.

At the top of the month, I listened to a presentation on Dr. King. I found myself so pulled in by his life. I have heard the stories and speeches before....but this time was different because I'm different. This time I am parenting a black son. A son who several decades ago wouldn't have been given the same rights as his brother.

Last week, I attended an African-American Literature read-in. All of the literature being read was written by black men or women. Again, I found myself riveted by their stories. So much so, that I immediately went and bought several books, including Maya Angelou's, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

I'm not trying to force myself to be something I'm not. Rather, I feel this strong connection to black history, now, because of LJ. It's embarrassing to admit, because I should have been interested all along. It shouldn't take mothering a black son to care about the sacrifices that were made for me to live in the world as I know it. Before it was just history...and I wasn't that into it. Now it's legacy. And I can't get enough.

Although, we have come so far, I am acutely aware of the racism that still exists. And, sadly, the forms I encounter don't realize their error. When I hear a family say they would never adopt a black child or overhear a young woman say she couldn't date a black man or listen to a student try to reason with the class on why Tiana does not belong among the Disney princesses, I am stunned. Those words would have made me uncomfortable before...but, now, they make me downright angry.

The mama bear in me roars up.

I hope my son never hears such a comment in his life time. God will not judge him on his race, but his character...his actions...his love.

Thankfully, such ignorance seems to be few and far between. Most people are loving and accepting of our family. I am thankful that God has expanded my worldview and given me a hunger for knowledge. When I am talking to my boys about faith and leadership, sacrifice and honor, I am thrilled to have diverse examples.

It's such a true picture of who God is.


  1. love your mama-bear roar! i'm in a similar boat - my son's birth mother is of native american descent, and sometimes people say to me, with a note of relief in their voice "well he doesn't LOOK native." i struggle to maintain composure when i assure them that we value his heritage. i know they aren't trying to disparage him, but their assumption that his identity is better off hidden is cruel and, well - racist.
    thanks for the reminder that diversity is good, and variety comes straight from God's hand.
    once again, your family blesses mine. thank you. :)

  2. I love that you mentioned going to a church in/near the city. We have an inner city church and ministry. It's predominantly African and African American but we have some Hispanic kiddos come from time-to-time.

    The comments of people saying they'd never adopt or date someone of darker skin is really unkind and disturbing. I would hope my daughters marry a man that respects them and loves them, regardless of skin color. Why do people put so much definition into the color of skin? I just don't get it. I have never gotten why people are racist at all.

    LJ is beautiful and I also pray he never hears such ignorant words. Lord shield his heart and mind.

  3. My father was adopted by a black man. He is the only white child out of 9 brothers and sisters. My dad says it was hard growing up in the 50's,60's, & 70's being the only white one in a black family. I imagine it was. I am so thankful that things are different now a days. LJ is such a handsome little boy and I am so happy all of you found each other!! God is good!!
    My oldest daughter is 15 and is so interested in learning about black history because of my dads adoption. She actually just participated in writing an essay about black history month.

  4. EXACTLY! when my husband and i first started the adoption process and said that we would most likely be adopting a child who was brown (we were "wide open" to everything so we weren't positive, but were pretty sure) we said it was fine because we were "color blind"...my, how i hate that saying now. now that we have our son (who turned one yesterday) i am in fact very "color aware", meaning i do the same things you do. and i'll tell you, it's uncomfortable at times (we went to a play during atlanta black theatre festival and it was the strangest feeling being the miniority. just standing in line to get in the door was the strangest thing i've ever done. and i realized it was because i've never been the miniority before...how crazy is that?!)
    anyway, just wanted to let you know that i know what that feeling of suddenly becoming "multiculturally aware" feels like too. :)

  5. Your little LJ is absolutely adorable!

  6. I agree on ALL points!! I wrote about this topic a year ago in a post I titled: Have You Noticed My Kids Are Black?

    Keep up the great work!

  7. You're a wonderful parent! What an amazing thing you are doing, understanding and appreciating LJ's inherited culture. :)

  8. That's great. Very real . My children are biracial (my husband is black and I am hispanic). I think it's so important to a person to connect in some way to their ethnicity, it does so much for their self esteem especially if they are the only one in the family "who" looks different. God bless you. Keep up the great work.