So much talk lately of racism, stereotyping and racial profiling. I think we are all aware of the recent case that caused so much discussion and outrage. I am not one that feverishly follows things, but I hear enough and take in bits here and there to know what situation involves. It has made me think a lot about the stereotypes that I operate under and further it has sparked discussion with our older kids about all of these things.
Being married to a police officer for 20 years has sparked many conversations related to racial profiling and what that looks like. We are not ignorant to knowing what goes on in the world. It breaks my heart when I think of what our daughter(s) will have to endure living in this world of racial inequity. It has improved over time, but it is still very present. In cases like the recent one, there is racism and then there is law. What happens when someone’s stereotype leads to pursuing something that didn’t need to be pursued? What happens when my daughter is watched, followed, scrutinized just because she is black? What if “something” that really isn’t “something” turns into “something” that could have been prevented? I am not saying there is guilt in the recent case; the jury decided there was not. And honestly, the police didn’t believe it there was enough evidence for it to go through to conviction which is why it was not even charged initially. Maybe the law wasn’t broken, but there was something incredibly sad that happened that night that could have been prevented. Besides our Heavenly Father, there are only two people that know exactly what transpired that night and one of them is no longer living to tell his perspective on it. The problem is that there is law, and then there is the disturbing issues that remain with what we choose to believe about people.
Through our current adoption process I have started to learn more about Ghana. It has been fascinating to learn and understand how involved the coast of Ghana was in the slave trade. The slave trade is most likely the reason my other daughter’s ancestors even came to the United States. I have been reading more about the process for getting individuals into the boats to take them to them to be sold to their owners. Can you imagine how awful that must have been? Taken from your home, held in awful conditions just to be herded onto over crowded boats with layers of people. I have read that up to half didn’t even make across the sea to the destinations decided for them. I learned about the slave trade when I was younger but honestly I think that it was too disturbing to really take the time to “learn” and think about what happened. The little value the entire world placed on the African people … it is just heart breaking. I know deeply the impact that slavery has had on our country, but when I take the time to consider that this state of slavery was something that most of the world participated in; it is overwhelming. My ancestors came to the United States for opportunity … it was something that was desired, a whole new life. What drastic opposites.
I know that sometimes I probably think too much about things. My husband and I have conversations about the why of what is in our world, almost always coming back to the fact that evil exists and that so much of what we see is the result of the evil one, loving the destruction of it all. I struggle most with how difficult it has been and it continues to be to attain equality for African Americans. It can be easy to dismiss when it is not a part of your daily reality. As Christians we should not be dismissing this, and as parents of an African American child, we CANNOT dismiss it. My hope is that more people would take the time to understand it all. I was talking to a friend this week who does not have black children but has a son whose best friend is black. She shared about how this friend was treated in his history class this past year by his teacher … she pulled four black students into the hallway one day and told them that it was because of their behavior that people treat black people the way they do. As always, everyone has their own perspective … but 13 year old boys should not be told this. Furthermore, this boy that is my son’s friend is a really good kid … and truly not a troublemaker. Wake-up people, this is still happening and it is 2013. Racism exists, and until ALL people decide to stand against it, it will continue to exist.
Racial inequality … another item to add to the adoptive parents list of things to know deeply and learn to understand in new ways.