In December, McKenzie Adams, a fourth grader from U.S. Jones Elementary School in Demopolis, Alabama, despondent after relentless taunting by other black children for her relationship with a white child, hanged herself in her family’s home. Although suicides resulting from school bullying have sadly risen steadily over the years, McKenzie’s death spoke to me on a very personal level. . .
We knew that adopting two little girls (4 and 9) from the other side of the world into a family of two boys (4 and 2) wouldn’t be easy in terms of bonding and re-assimilating the family birth order structure, but it was the stuff like what little McKenzie Adams experienced that we didn’t see coming, and it quickly blindsided me. . .
As we chatted before we left the store, the pastor, a black woman, suddenly lowered her voice, became somber, and inquired as to how I was “immersing the girls in their culture.” I truly wasn’t sure what she meant, so I asked. . .
She then began to sermonize about how important it was for me to get the girls subscriptions to “black” magazines and to make sure and watch “black” movies and TV shows so they could see and relate to people of their color. She veritably assured me that, as a white woman, I couldn’t be expected to understand the “black experience” in America. I needed to be sure and make appropriate and relevant material accessible so they could better assimilate with black culture. . .
Discontent with my answer and intent upon pressing her point, she continued. She believed my thought process unfortunate because my “whiteness” couldn’t process the fact that the girls’ fate would always balance at the pinnacle of someone else’s prejudicial small-mindedness. It was up to me to make them vigilant of the discrimination that would surely come their way. (Read more from “The Worst Racism My Children Have Experienced Came From Black Peers” HERE)