If you ask me.....comments on Precious and Cynde's views

Well... admittedly nobody has asked me .... as I am not a celebrity (not yet anyway....). Just little old me with an Opinion (as always capital O).

And some MAJOR questions:

WHY do there only seem to be two options in bringing up a child who is different from me:

Either ignore, even deny the differences (i.e. skin color) and make  a total mess of the parenting job -


Emphasise it into enormous importance and ultimately  cave in to stereotypes and a terminology that is not even close to their reality and only serves to prolong the age old history of separation and fear of "the other". My kids are not black - neither by skin color (I still have to see a black or a white person walking this earth - OK, let's exclude the Powder guy here ) nor by race (they are a happy mix of many a race and culture).

And pleeeeese people believe me: I don't say this because I think it's a bad thing to be black, some of my finest clothes and handbags are black - or white for that matter. But people are not. I am not. My kids are not. I am a blond (well almost) blue eyed rather pale German person with two brown eyed black haired and dark skinned beauties in my family (and one almost no haired, green eyed monster - the best papa in the world!)

So WHY do I have to tell my children they are black and push them into a racial stereotype they don't belong in, when

1) it's totally obvious we look different and are open and  at ease with all the different reasons for these differences
2) it is not even a true description of either their skin color nor their cultural background.

I am not ignoring my children's cultural or racial inheritance when I tell them they are not black. I want them to rather look at who they are instead of hiding behind a stereotyped version of themselves.

WHY does skin color have to be equalled with race and/or culture? Isn't it time we face up to a new reality, where in fact skin color can not be easily referred to anymore by the more politically correct (?) cultural terms like for example AFRICAN AMERICAN...... a terminology that as far as I understand it still goes back to the dark ages of slavery - in order to determine where darker skinned people living in the US have their so called roots???

 I find it  absurd to refer to people as African American when I don't know anything about their true origins. Their families might have lived in America or Europe for many generations, they might have a distant great great grandfather in Jamaica or somewhere in Africa. Or not. I don't know. Can I call some people African Germans or Jamaican Americans? And why does it matter to determine the original culture of somebodies ancestors when referring to them?

I don't deny the fact that my children will have to learn how to deal with certain prejudices and stereotypes in this world in order to cope emotionally. I want to do my utmost best to prepare them for all the challenges they will be facing in the years to come. And will probably fail many times. Being aware of this I  know how important it is to offer them positive role models who they can identify with in terms of looks and background.

So yes Cynde and Precious, I am with you on this: It is vital for my children to have important people in their lives with dark skin (and more importantly the same HAIR as there is really no experience or help I have to offer in this department) and a similar family history as they are searching  for their identity. And this is why I spend so many hours trawling the Internet for outspoken, intelligent and independent women with controversial stories to tell, ( like Precious Williams and I hope to find others ) - some of whom we might even meet one day and learn from.


knuscru said…
Dear Martina, Precious sent me a link to your blog. Wow, are your girls beautiful!
I have four children: Two grown boys, they are our birth-children and two girls who are adopted ages 15 and 10. My 15 year old was born here in the USA and her mother is Latina (of Mexican heritage) and her father is African American. My 10 year old was adopted from the country of Haiti.
Right now my family is on vacation in Mexico and my access to the internet is limited, but I wanted to say hello and I would love to dialogue with you via the internet when I return home next week.
Blessings, Cynde
gunnagirls said…
dear Cynde thanks so much for your message on my blog - i haven't quite mastered the medium - and have not found the correct button to answer you back - so went onto your blog instead - hope you get this! I am so happy to hear from you via Precious and do hope we can develop a dialogue between ourselves and others about all things parenting / adoption / race / culture.... would also love to hear more about your kids and what experiences you are going through raising them. People need to hear more from parents (like yourself) who have both experiences: adopting and giving birth - as there is still a common misconcepion out there that adopting a child is somewhat "less than" giving birth - or that you love a birth child more than an adopted child - which we know is absolutely not the case. please tell me more about your family - if you are happy to share - on my blog. I am on a bit of a mission to get the whole world to adopt :-)

March 8, 2011 12:42 AM
I agree with Cynde that your daughters are absolutely beautiful.

I'd like to add that I don't understand the reluctance of using the words black or white to describe ourselves. To me I see it as being like describing ourselves as a man or a woman. We are all human beings and as such are each other's brothers and sisters. But I feel proud of the fact that I'm a woman and proud of the fact that I'm of African heritage/black. There is nothing negative about black or white or Indian or combinations of any races. If somebody asked me to describe myself they wouldn't have a problem with me pigeon-holing myself as tall, dark-haired, slim, mid-30s, female - so what is wrong with defining oneself by their race as well? Quite a few black transracial adoptees have contacted me since my book came out and the majority of them have said that their white adoptive parents, however kind and loving, tended to take a "your colour doesn't matter" line which was intended to be positive but ultimately was not really.

I also think there's a difference between how one's loving white adoptive parent may see them and how the world at large sees them. For example, my white 'mum' saw me simply as her daughter. The world at large saw me first and foremost as "a black girl". A child needs to be prepared for that, too. Just because you are a warm-hearted, non-racist woman does not mean we live in a warm-hearted non-racist world, at least not yet.

On a side note I have to comment on your daughters' hair. It looks so pretty! I was wondering if they have twists or how you styled it.

Warm wishes, Precious
Haha, I just noticed I described myself as "mid-thirties". Wishful thinking!! I think "late-thirties" is more accurate at this point :)

gunnagirls said…
hmmm, I get the point, will think about this... and comment further

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