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.