Sunday, June 8, 2008

Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness


"I am Black," Jane Lazarre's son tells her. "I have a Jewish mother, but I am not 'biracial.' That term is meaningless to me." She understands, she says--but he tells her, gently, that he doesn't think so, that she can't understand this completely because she is white. "Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness" is Jane Lazarre's memoir of coming to terms with this painful truth, of learning to look into the nature of whiteness in a way that passionately informs the connections between herself and her family. A moving account of life in a biracial family, this book is a powerful meditation on motherhood and racism in America, the story of an education into the realities of African American culture.

This is a book that has been recommended to us. When I went to adopt children I thought won't it be great that we will all be colorblind and it won't matter what color everyone is. Problem is, I didn't get it. Through E-man's school we are learning we have to draw attention to their skin color and associate with black people and black role models so that when they grow up they don't have an identity crisis. E-man's teacher put it very well. What if you were in an African country with almost all black people and saw another white person? You would immediately identify with that person. That is very true and we even felt that when we were in Liberia. Apparently E-man is loving being in a school with kids who have "skin like mine." I think we were ignoring the fact they were black. We were raising them as white children, because that's all we know. But I guess that would be like ignoring the fact that someone is religious or a good reader. So now we are aware. A&E are black and we will try and celebrate that and their culture...how? Stay tuned, we're still learning.

5 comments:

The Googeg's said...

Have you ever seen the Breyer's ice cream called triple chocolate? We always say that that is our family. We have all shades -- and they are all delicious.

Look forward to learning this one with you.

Deb

Valerie said...

With the sunshine and summer the color issue has come up more as we tend to burn more than Akins. We still need to protect his skin but it has raised more questions about color and has provided opportunity to celebrate his color. Perhaps a black president with help pave the way for all of us trying to figure this out.

gretchen said...

Abegail and Eman are so blessed to have you as parents---I have been so moved by your story and your blog has been really insightful for me and helpful as I try to raise my girls to celebrate all the colors and cultures they come in contact with. I look forward to our girls being great friends for a long time!!!!

Amy said...

HI! Gretchen just told me about your blog! I have a son from Ethiopia.. This post was so good! We too think about ALL of these things. We have NEVER had African American friends!!!!! What the??? Why?? We want to change that, but it is so hard with where we happen to live... We are hoping it changes though.

I have some connections with a few other LIberia adoption families through Red Letters Campaign. Maybe you all already know each other though.. :)

Beautiful family!
Amy
www.bottomlysandethiopia.blogspot.com

Dai said...

Hello. I just found your blog through the "next blog" feature, and I have to comment on what a beautiful family you have. Your children are lucky to have you. You show concern and tenderness towards your children that I think is just lovely.

Be Well!