True confession time: I am a people pleaser. I avoid confrontation & conflict like I avoid sitting on a public toilet. I hate asking people for favors. I hate saying “no” to people. I hate thinking I’ve disappointed someone or let someone down. In college, I would have my roommate pretend to be me & call people to tell them “no” when they asked me to cover their shift at work or ask people to cover my shift for me or ask people anything, really. We were Catfishing before Catfish even existed. Teo’s fake girlfriend’s got nothing on us.
In high school, I went to the mall with a bunch of friends. I found out that this dude wanted to ask me out while we were there. I, literally, ran from him in the mall to avoid telling him “no.” Yes. Yes, I did. I invented awkward, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a glorious miracle I ever found someone to marry me.
All of that to say, this blog gives me hives. I wish I didn’t have to write about hard, controversial & confrontational stuff. I wish I could just hide my head in the sand & pretend this world is blissful. But I can’t. I can’t unknow what I know. I can’t just pretend this world is peaceful & harmonious. And, unfortunately, I can’t get my college roommate to pretend to be me & write this. On the bright side, I’m getting a lot of practice with my deep breathing techniques.
Last week, I had an encounter with a man on a bus that reminded me that race still matters to some. And my research has shown that race still matters to a lot more than you or I should be comfortable with. The man approached me inquiring about Caleb:
“When did you get him?”
“Um. When he was 6 days old.”
“Where’s he from?”
“Oh. Well. He’s beautiful.”
“Um. Thank you?”
He then carried on about a 15-20 minute conversation with my mom. I was within earshot and heard most. But my mom relayed to me later that he thought Caleb might be from the orphanage in Africa where he worked some time earlier. I realize that you cannot fully grasp my point of view without hearing the tone of his voice and seeing his facial expressions. But he was clearly disappointed and seemingly shocked that my baby came from Louisiana and not Africa. It was weird. Those who have experienced a similar type of encounter know exactly what I’m talking about. There is a stigma on interracial, domestic adoption. While interracial, international adoption is applauded. It’s just like how churches in the old south built orphanages & schools in Africa while protesting integration here. It’s unfortunate and sad really, the way we talk about being broken for suffering in other countries while we ignore the need & suffering right in front of our noses. Apparently, orphans in the U.S. can fend for themselves. We are called to “Jerusalem, Judea, and the ends of the earth.” The order is not a mistake or a coincidence. Not everyone is called to the ends of the earth. Some have to be called to take care of stuff in Jerusalem.
Black children are over represented in foster care & on adoption waiting lists. Just a few weeks ago, an adoption agency posted on Facebook needing adoptive parents willing to take black baby girls because they didn’t have enough waiting parents who would take a black baby. The waiting lists for black children are not very long. Kristen Howerton threw out some statistics on a blog last year that indicates that online profiles of race preferences in adoption indicate that only 14% would ‘accept’ a black child. She also notes that only 7% of those who adopt internationally adopt black children. The NY Times reported that non-African-American babies are at least seven times more likely to capture the interest of an adoptive parent.
Unfortunately, MLK’s dream has not come completely true & people do still judge people by the color of their skin. I think we would all agree that we have made huge strides concerning race. I mean, we have a black president after-all. But when we still have predominantly segregated churches and we still refer to predominantly black neighborhoods as “the ghetto” and when black orphans in the U.S. are viewed as less important than those from Africa, we still have a huge problem.
Ask yourselves. Would you let your white daughter date/marry my black son? Would you let your black daughter date/marry my white son? Why is my family’s racial diversity not the norm, especially in churches where we are supposed to care for “the least of these”? I’m not sure if race will ever be a non-issue this side of Heaven. But as the church, we should be striving to be like Christ. And race was a non-issue with Him – just ask the woman in Samaria.