In the last 17 months since we adopted Forest I have learned more about race and racism than in my 20 plus years travelling and living all over the world. What I learned growing up in various countries was that people of different races can coexist, get along and even love each other when they're all out of their element. I attended international schools which used an American school curriculum and had English as the primary language, but most of the kids who attended these schools were from all over the world, not necessarily the United States. I learned fast as a young child the importance of openness, because everyone was from such different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
In the last year and a half, I've seen a different side of race than ever before. Some experiences have been positive, some negative. Some whites are open and supportive of our blended family; some whites have been downright racist. Some African Americans are very open to our transracial family; some think it's terrible that a white couple adopted black babies. Just like anything in life, you have all kinds of opinions and degrees of openness or narrow-mindedness. And that right there is evidence that we are all just people regardless of our backgrounds or skin color. Some people are loving, supportive and open. Some people are critical, negative and judgmental. Period.
As I've seen racial tensions flare in politics and the media recently, it again brings up the issue of how we can choose to think of ourselves as different and divided or the same and united. There is more that makes us the same in our hearts than what makes us different. I always think of the scripture in 1 Samuel 16:7 -
For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.