mixed race families – part 2

April 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Posted in adoption issues, race | Leave a comment

My boys are black citizens in a primarily white place.  I need to be very aware of that, otherwise my own obliviousness to the world I live in may allow their perspective to be overwhelmed and swallowed up.   Since statistics say that Minnesota is 85% white persons  and less than 5% black persons, we’re going to have to make an effort to ensure that P & Z don’t end up being the only brown faces in every environment they find themselves in!   And around here, that doesn’t ‘just happen’.

Just like it’s my job to make sure they are given nutritious foods and it’s my job to create a safe environment for them to play in and it’s my job to ensure their health is regularly evaluated, it’s also my job (because I’m the grown up and they can’t do it for themselves yet) to help create a racially diverse  experience for us all.    Regular ole ‘default settings’ in the area of race aren’t good enough.

So ~ Here are a few things we’re doing to try to darken the complexion of the world we live in.  They are not spectacular.   They are just faithful ~ faithful to the effort to be consistent and comprehensive in the best way I know how to be.

1) As we look at preschools we ask is, ‘How many non-white children do you have per class?”      And, “Do you have any non-white teachers or staff members in your school?”   I think my little guys can learn their ABC’s just about anywhere.   But they need to do it in an environment where they will not always feel the constant awareness of being different.

I’ve had some people question me about this one.   In response, I’ve simply asked them…. ‘would you put your white child in a school where he is the only white child in the whole building?  How might that make him feel?’  Funny how when it’s flipped, it opens a different level of understanding.

2) I’m looking for professionals in our lives that are non-white people.    Our pediatrician our dentist….. etc.

3) The town about 10 minutes north of us is much more racially diverse than our own town is.    There’s a very large Somalian population there so, as often as I can, we choose to go to that Target instead of the one closest to our house.    When we’re there, we are surrounded by other shoppers of African decent.

more to come………..

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