This Week in Transracial Parenting…

I fretted over needing to find a salon for AJ’s hair: black salon, natural hair approach, patient with kids, uber patient with white mamas, local, semi-affordable. Tall order?

Meanwhile, I dropped a bunch of dough on hair and skin products for AJ.

Feeling confident in said products (I think I have a crush on Alaffia), I left AJ’s hair in a halfro for the first time in a long time and observed just how tight her curl pattern is. No wonder I am feeling overmatched by it lately.

In related news, AJ’s halfro was petted at least twice today.

ABC News featured critics of transracial adoption on their What Would You Do? program.

We finally watched The Blind Side, and I was kind of ambivalent. Not sure it lived up to all the hype, for me. Obviously adding a person to your family involves giving and changing your life in many ways–but they didn’t show much of that. Okay, your $10,000 couch got rumpled and you had a couple awkward conversations with snotty friends. Great sacrifice or…rich white people problems? Just sayin’, people make much deeper financial and relational sacrifices than that all the time, and no one pins a medal on them. And Oher said/did so little in the movie that he was a lesser character in a story about his own life (like too many adoptees when we make the parents heroes or black characters when the whites come “save themselves by saving them”). So I liked it but I didn’t love it like I felt like I was supposed to. But Oher does have a new book coming out telling the rest of the story.

Speaking of awkward conversations, I tried to explain to a co-worker why yes, renaming/altering the Little Black Sambo story was necessary because while yes, “black” is a fine descriptor, sambo most definitely is not, the images were not, and things can not just be separated from their history. I was then upset at how flummoxed I was trying to find words for this. I know the person meant no offense; they just had the white privilege (#16) of not knowing what is offensive about certain words and images. I don’t have as much of that privilege anymore and I don’t want it.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there is still one day left in Black History Month for you to look it up and say you learned something.

Sigh. Yes, we still need Black History Month.

Update shortly after original post: I forgot–I also read this article “See Babies Discriminate” from the authors of NurtureShock. It is about how we should talk about differences rather than try to pretend they don’t exist, because everyone notices differences and there’s nothing wrong with that. And the developmental period when we most often avoid talking about race is just when they need it most because their ideas are being formed. Very interesting article.

5 thoughts on “This Week in Transracial Parenting…

  1. Hey Lisa-
    (Do y’all know Lisa? She’s all kinds of awesome.)
    Thanks for the link. Good stuff. I had seen that speaker’s blog before but for some reason wasn’t subscribed, so now I am.

  2. Best recommendation for retelling of “Sambo” is “Sam and the Tigers” by Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney, two of the most respected names in children’s literature. It’s beautiful!

  3. Wendy,

    We have not gone over to bring our kids home yet (3-4 months they say) so it is really good to read how others are walking through the “they are home” process. Thanx for sharing your story.

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