Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dirty Rotten Racism

Every parent who adopted a child of a different ethnicity should expect that they WILL experience racism, either directed towards the parent or towards the child. Even with our Asian kids we've had (usually Korea War generation) people walk by and give disapproving looks. Once a veteran spit at us. That was a proud moment--not.

There was no doubt in my mind that we would experience racism on a different level because we have adopted Bright. But no matter how much you know what to expect, it still hits you like a ton of bricks. We haven't even had a really bad incident (yet) but it is SO hurtful!!!!

Today Eric had to go to the hospital for a blood test. So off the five of us go up to the hospital lab to wait for the test. Our kids were playful and happy and maybe just a tad loud (but it's a little forgotten corner of the hospital where nobody else was). Most staff walk by and give sweet smiles to our family. Then this woman doctor walks towards us, stops (!), stares (!), and gives me a dirty look. This is not like a passing dirty look (we've gotten them before). This woman stared me down for a good 10 seconds, letting me know with the hate in her eyes exactly what she thought about our multi-ethnic family.

I was so shocked by the event that I didn't say anything. She eventually dropped the eye contact and walked off. Now when this happens you question yourself. Am I imagining things? Did she really just give me such a hateful look? Am I reading too much into it? Could this highly educated woman really be so ignorant about how love and family works?

I was really bothered but went on with our games and cuddles. About five minutes later the woman walked by AGAIN! This time she didn't come to a full stop but instead gave me a dirty look as she walked by. That was IT! I got up to confront the woman. Just as I almost caught up to her she escaped into a "staff only" area of the wing. URGH!

It breaks my heart that my family would cause anybody to feel that much hate just by SEEING us!

I have felt incredibly embraced by our Oklahoma community 99% of the time. People are genuinely accepting and actually quite vocal about their approval of our family. But this 1%. They are driving me crazy.

I just looked up and said "Thank you Lord." when on the way out of the hosptial another employee, who was obviously so excited to see our family, told us how beautiful our children were and took extra interest in loving on Bright. Thank you Lord for the other 99%.

Anita

2 comments:

Sue 6:00 PM  

Anita,

I feel your pain. We have gotten some of those looks and whispers when we have been out with Daniel. I just try act like I did not even notice them. It has been really uncomfortable when African American women have given me mean looks. I do have to say that we get more smiles and positive comments than bad.

The worst thing someone said to me (an old neighbor) when I told her God put adoption on our hearts was "Taking care of those people is not our responsibility!" God must have been with me because I mantained my composure and calmly told her she is wrong. That it is our responsibility and the Bible says so.

This same woman also said to me that "Our government should just go over there and vaccinate all of those people so they can't reproduce!" I again kept my compossure and told her I did not agree with her and she was wrong.

Ugh! Ok, I'm done venting!

Sue

Anonymous 6:25 AM  

Anita

I can't begin to understand the feelings you experience as our family is one skin color. We chose to adopt from Russia for many reasons and one of them was related to appearance. We wanted to eliminate that as an issue for our family. In the adoption world I have been looked down on for that being one of the reasons we chose as we did.

The latest issue of Adoption Today is focused on race. If you don't get that magazine it might be worth it to get the current issue from the local Borders.

There are lots of mean people in the world. The world is not color-blinded no matter where you go on this planet. The challenge is to figure out when to walk away and when to engage.

Mary Ellyn