Archives / 2014 / August
  • Family Trumps Race

    When he looks at me he doesn’t see pale freckled skin; he sees his mama. When I look at him I don’t see caramel brown skin; I see my son.

    Well-meaning people (of different races) have commented that it might be best if we did not adopt our foster son because he is half African American. They tell me that it would be better for him to be “raised with his own kind.”

    They advise me on how to raise a black child:

    “Don’t dress him in overalls.”

    “Don’t feed him watermelon or corn on the cob.”

    “Don’t call him ‘bubba.’”

    “You’re not styling his hair right.”


    And they warn me:

    “He won’t know his culture.”

    “He’ll talk like a white person.”

    “He won’t be prepared for racism when he encounters it.”

    “He won’t fit into either white society or black society.”

    You know what? They could be right. We are German-Irish and look it. He is all-American: black, white and native. Being a different race from everyone else in his family may be hard for this little guy.

    But, you know what would be harder for him? Being ripped away from the family that loves him.

    We are the only family J. remembers. He has lived with us for over a year and a half. He looks at me and he sees his mama. He looks …