Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keep It To Yourself

Note: I need to make a few comments before posting this. I actually wrote this 6 months ago but never posted it because i thought maybe it was too harsh. But after hearing about other people's experiences recently, I thought it might be time to just put it out there. Although I'm writing about race issues, I think this applies to SO many other circumstances as well.

I have been avoiding blogging about racial discrimination and plain old ignorance that I've been experiencing lately vis-a-vis my children. But without being specific, because even I am not mean enough to out others who have been ignorant, I'm just going to give some advice to these unnamed people -- keep it to yourself!

If you think it's terrible that my husband and I adopted black children because we're robbing them of their culture, keep it to yourself. If you think that my children aren't my "real" children because they're not the same race as me and my husband, keep it to yourself. If you think that my children will suffer being in a white family, keep it to yourself. And please, please, please most of all, if you absolutely have to say something, say it to me and not to my children who are beginning to understand that the world is not always a friendly place.

I'm not asking for more civility. I'm asking for more silence. I'm asking for a little forethought before blurting out your opinion of my children and our family. I don't go around telling people that their children are cursed or robbed of their culture or not the right color or that they look like animals (yes, this was actually said to me!) In fact, I think we should all, myself included, try to only say nice things about each other's children and families. Because in the end, I know that my black children were meant to be mine just as much as my white children were. God planned it from the beginning, and He does not make mistakes. We humans do make lots of mistakes though, and I know that I'm not perfect by any measure. I think I'm just tired of defending what I know is a beautiful thing and meant to be.

Finally, if you're reading this because you're a friend of mine, and you're wondering if you've ever said anything to offend me, chances are that you haven't. In fact, almost every one of the comments listed above came from strangers or distant acquaintances. Most people have been loving and supportive and kind. Most of my loved ones and friends have given my children, all of my children, lots of hugs and kisses and acceptance. But unfortunately the negative comments often overshadow the good, so seriously people...just keep it to yourself!

8 comments:

Parker Family said...

Glad you posted!

Jen Johnson said...

Sometimes we don't say enough about 'keeping it to yourself'! If you don't have something nice to say don't say it!'

I just told my kids that the other day..I will be reminding them of that when I need to!
We love you and your family. Maybe we can visit next summer when we visit Utah. :) Let us know whenever you are in town we will drive to see you all! Big hugs!

Jess said...

Well said! I miss you and your cute kids. I had a talk with my kids since school started about the power of their words and that your words can make others feel loved and special and happy OR they can make others feel sad or hurt or angry. We are working on the 1st part:) Hopefully that is something that we can all put more effort into:) Love ya!

L. said...

I like Jess's comment. And as I supreme sufferer of ADHD, I am especially in need of the "Keep it to yourself" comment. Although, I try to always say it if it is a compliment, because we ALL get too few of those. But I still have problems making a compliment not sound backhanded "Oh, you look so much prettier with your hair that way!" Still working on it. :-)

Amy Lou said...

Love this! We have adopted two African American children and I can not believe the comments that I get. Most of them are very positive, but every once in a while I get an ignorant and rude comment that makes my blood boil. I haven't figured out why complete strangers think they have a right to comment on my family dynamics. By the way- you have an adorable family.

kimberlina said...

I think the world is in desperate need of old fashioned advice like "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." The world would be a much nicer place if people really lived the Golden Rule. Of course, I'm preaching to the choir here. All of you amazing women who have commented here are already teaching your children and grandchildren to be nice people.

Lacey said...

People are annoying! Sorry! It's sad that it should even be said!

Tammy said...

It makes my blood boil just to hear that things have been said not only to you but to your children! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Seriously -

I think your family is perfect. We are all raised in the culture of our families. It doesn't have as much to do with race as some would like to think. We are raised according to our FAMILY traditions. I happen to know for a fact that your family has awesome traditions and ALL of your children are blessed to be a part of them.
I am sorry you have to experience this! Know that for every negative comment there are thousands upon thousands of others who support you every step of the way! We love all of you :)