Question: We hope to adopt our foster child who is African American. I am concerned about what he may face in the world. Was wondering what some of you might have done to help your child with racial remarks?
“When people make racial remarks to your child that upset him, you should let him know that those people are ignorant, and that the planet is full of ignorant people. You should let him know that if some people don’t like him because of the color of his skin, it does not mean there is anything wrong with him, it means there is something wrong with them.” – Sumiko Saulson
“My mother taught me that all people are people. Human beings need the same things from each other – love, respect, and compassion. I have taught that to my own children. I never saw color. I still try not to. I have told my children many things over the years, when they were taunted by other children, and called names, that those children were ignorant. When white kids picked, when white adults stared, it was ‘they’re just jealous because you are so beautiful, and your skin has such a beautiful tan and there’s doesn’t.’ When it was black children, or black adults, I told them the opposite, ‘they’re just jealous because you are so beautiful and they wish their skin was as golden as yours.’ I have always tried to make them feel good about themselves, and to keep sight of who they are inside, that it’s the beauty within that means the most, who you are as a person. That once people get to know who you are, they will love you for you. For the most part my children have grown to know that people can be ignorant, and afraid of what they don’t know and don’t understand. We put far too much emphasis on color and race – remember there is only one race – the HUMAN RACE.” – Barbara D. Knighton
“Teach not only is the person ignorant, but he chooses to be so and that is OK. It is no direct reflection on the child. It didn’t start with the child, it won’t stop with the child, and this person is always looking for a victim. Let him find another one, not you. Teach not to waste time and energy trying to figure out why the person is like he is. You will only end up trying to justify and legitimize your existence. You do not need to be legitimized; you won’t change his mind today (although you might embarrass him or make him feel a little guilty). You can always analyze his behavior later at cocktail parties or self-help groups when you are an adult. A child is ill equipped and is still building defenses. The real long-term goal is to protect that little mind, that little person, long enough to teach diversity and tolerance. That ‘love yourself’ stuff only works when you believe you are not defective or undesirable. Once a child starts to feel bad, less, undesirable, etc., about this ethnicity (regardless of which one it is) he doubts his own basic value and his wall of worth starts to crumble and he starts looking for something else to be and for someone else to blame.” – Khadijeh Abdullah