I was recently asked by one of my viewers what I thought about white parents adopting black children–on whether or not doing so was in the best interest of the child. And, actually, I thought it to be a very good question to examine and to be one that doesn't get asked nearly as much as it should.
Because after all, common sense begs the question. Who'd be better to understand the experience of and prepare a black child better than parents who've had to navigate the racially hostile society of America wearing that same skin as that child?
Now the job of this piece is not to excoriate every white parent who's adopted or is raising black children. My goal isn't to paint all with one broad brush, but, when we take a look at certain outcomes transracial adoptions consistently display, pattern recognition is certainly a metric we can rely on.
Take for instance a gentleman by the name of Chad Goller-Sojourner who was featured in a piece by Time Magazine entitled "The Realities of Raising a Kid of Another Race." In the piece, Mr. Goller-Sojourner gives a brief portrayal of his experiences of being raised by his Norwegian-American parents in Seattle, WA. He goes on to depict his experiences in the 5th grade–and subsequent years after– with white children as having been harassed over his race and being called the N-word repeatedly during the span of that time.
Mr. Goller-Sojourner went on to speak about black children raised by black parents as being the ones able to "go home and get the love and support from parents who look like them," when faced with such horrible and traumatic, anti-black racist experiences. Then, he illustrated the contrast as "I went home and got that same love from people who looked just like my tormentors" in reference to his white parents.
Now, while I could go down the list of the countless black children fostered by white parents who were groomed–and yes, I said groomed–to become the kind of adults who spout the kind of "Not all white people are racist," "There's no such thing as systemic racism/white supremacy," and "If black people would just do what the cops say, we'll be safe" nonsense, but that is not the point I wanna make. You see because I do think there are instances where a white father or mother could, indeed, effectively raise a black child to be able to properly contend with the world they, inevitably, will have to deal with.
And of course, not all white people are racist, but a black adult raised by white parents who denies the dangerous reality they live in is someone who's been indoctrinated by their parents to accept annihilation.
Typically, they have more generational wealth to work with as a cushion, should they invest in the wrong ventures, make stupid legal mistakes (shout out George W. Junior getting locked up for helping to tear down a goalpost in college), or take the risk of investing in a business (shout out Jeff Bezos). White people, in general, have these economic tools at hand they could actually utilize against the system on behalf of black people, if they had the desire to.
Shouldn't that behavior be the mark of a white foster parent who actually loves their black child?
Also in the piece by Time Magazine, one of the steps suggested to successfully raise "a Kid of another Race" was to "listen to their pain," rather than to "dismiss them with excuses or denials," and to "love them through it unconditionally."
When it comes to black children and the world they will have to face, "loving them unconditionally" involves preparing and training them for the anti-black racism they'll inevitably encounter, in childhood and adulthood. And, this is tutelage needing to take place from when that child can first walk to when they can walk out into this world and fend for their own.
How many white parents are willing to take on that responsibility?
Loving them unconditionally doesn't mean just "taking the time to listen to how bad they feel" nor does it mean just "not dismissing how they feel" in regard to their anti-black racist experiences. Loving your children, whether they're biological or adopted, means doing what is in their best interest, no matter how much of a sacrifice it is to accomplish that.
To all my white foster parents out there, do you want to know what the correct way to raise a black child is–in a way that is exclusively in their best interests and not in a way that makes you feel comfortable? There's only one way, and it's the route most non-black people, who have black children, avoid because they understand it involves going against the very system that's ingratiated them (including groups commonly considered as non-white) over black people.
The ONLY way to successfully raise a black child–if you truly love them unconditionally–is to fully commit your way of life to the efforts that support the empowerment of black people. And basically, that is just a simple way of saying, you are required to go to war, in the spirit of John Brown, with the system of anti-black racism–that same system that will target your black child every day and night, in every economic, judicial, educational, and social arena.
By the way, this piece by Time was written centered around a woman by the name of Robyn Wells, who adopted her Ethiopian son alongside her cop husband. The piece explained how the cop husband and the wife had ideological differences and how the father felt the son should be raised to not fear cops.
Family,…we are SUPPOSED to be weary of policemen and policewomen.
They are sanctioned by the state to murder us whenever they feel like it, and there's a grotesquely long list of black bodies I could name off to prove my point. At the end of the day though, a good parent is supposed to make a black child aware you must be wary and cautious of all persons in uniform. Tamir Rice should have been made aware of this.
Acknowledging racism exists in the world, that it's bad, and that some white kids might call your adopted back child the n-word to your black child is not enough. Your kid(s) must understand that kind of treatment is inevitable.
It's definitely great when that treatment doesn't occur to them, but, eventually, they'll get into a certain situation where, instead of them overtly being called the n-word, covertly, that job they interviewed for just won't call them back, that cop will pull them over for just driving and minding their business, or the business they started will be targeted by the white citizens and city council.
The only way a white parent of an adopted black child can properly prepare them for this hostile environment is for that white parent to completely immerse themselves in the teachings and strategies most successful against systemic white supremacy.
These are teachings thave have been tried, tested, and proven true by Foundational Black Americans for generations, and all white foster parents need only to subscribe to those methods and to use their very privileges and advantages afforded to them to empower their own black foster kids and other black people as a whole.
"Blackness" should be a way of life in the home a black child grows up in, the way whiteness is commonplace inour society. They should be, on a daily basis, reminded of why their melanin exists, why they're despised for it, and how, in the long run, they can dismantle the system of whiteness and replace it with a system that governs society through justice.
To me, when comes to the example of what we see of white foster parents like Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Madonna, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman, and Kristin Davis, I think it's safe to say none of them are going on a crusade on who to eliminate systematic, anti-black racism nor are they empowering their adopted children to do so.
Instead of raising them to be successful and prosperous adults in a world that is hostile to them, as is the case with most white adopters, they're more interested in parading them around as their trendy pets and not caring for and tending to them as actual human beings.
So to the white foster parents out there, take no shade from this piece, and don't take that I'm dumping on all white people looking to foster black children. Understand something though, adopting a black child not only means sacrificing every privilege you achieved from whiteness (talking to the Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans raising black children, too), but it means putting your life on the line to ensure your black child can inhabit a society governed by justice and genuine meritocracy.
Everyone in America–and the world–knows there's a system of racism that governs the whole planet. With the advent of Google, that's no longer a secret. As a white foster parent or as a white person considering becoming one to a black child, understand you're not doing that black child any favors by adopting them. That's white saviorism; you only do that child a favor by, daily, attacking the very system of white privilege, which created the circumstances for that black child to have to be adopted in the first place.
If you're willing to go to war with white supremacy at the level John Brown was, your household is what a black child needs to live in. Any other kind of household to a black child is nothing short of child abuse.
From the Soul,
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