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.