Adoption Stories from Adopted the Movie - A Feature Film by Barb Lee

January 15, 2008

Gloria Steinem: Pitting race against gender

From Reappropriate:

Since 2004, when rumours abounded over an Obama candidacy, pundits have cast this year’s Democratic election as a battle of identity politics: will Americans choose a Black man or a White woman to be their nominee for president? And by extension, will this finally settle the debate over which is the more subjugated identity: race or gender?

Yesterday morning, Gloria Steinem, influential second-wave feminist, weighed in at the New York Times with an opinion piece titled “Women Are Never Front-Runners”. I guess we can tell where she stands in this debate.

(Incidentally, if women are never front-runners, than how did Clinton get as far as she did on the “inevitable pseudo-incumbent” campaign she’s been running that made her the front-runner for most of last year? I find the headline of this piece to be a wee bit of hyperbole.)

We’ve heard many argue that it’s time for an African American president, and many more argue it’s time for a female president. But, nowhere in the race vs. gender frenzy that has swept the nation has anyone challenged the very validity of the question. How can one compare racism to sexism – and if one tries, where do those of us who are disadvantaged both by our race and by our gender fit in?

In truth, the juxtaposition is disingenuous, divisive, overly simplistic, and ultimately harmful, because it redirects our attention away from efforts to break the White male patriarchy that excludes all the Others, but towards in-fighting where we all compete to see both who’s more oppressed, and who will make it out of that “Oppression Box” first.

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New Demographic Anti-Racist Action Group Starting Jan. 28th!

New Demographic, the “antithesis of the typical diversity training company” founded by Carmen Van Kerckhove of Racialicious and Anti-Racist Parent, will be starting a new Anti-Racist Action Group on Jan. 28. The group is “a 9-week-long course that takes an in-depth look at race, racism, privilege, and stereotypes” which is done through 9 weekly 90-minute group phone discussions facilitated by Van Kerckhove and bi-weekly reading and writing assignments.

From the announcement:

What’s unique about the course?

In-depth
You will engage in an in-depth study of race and racism. Taking a single workshop — even if it’s a day-long workshop — only allows you to scratch the surface. The Anti-Racism Action Group, on the other hand, gives you time to thoroughly explore and process new ideas.

Action-oriented
You will actively engage with the material and think about how it applies in your life. It’s easy to space out while listening to an audio seminar or a diversity speaker. The Anti-Racism Action Group’s action-oriented format, on the other hand, ensures that you don’t fall into the trap of passive learning.

Personal
You will get to know your fellow group members, learn from each other and develop personal bonds. In a typical diversity training setting, the speaker drones on and on to an anonymous mass of people. The Anti-Racism Action Group’s discussions, on the other hand, are driven by your stories, experiences, and analyses.

Each Anti-Racist Action Group is made up of only 12 participants, so sign up now! If you are unable to join this action group, New Demographic has several a year- the next one starting February 27th, 2008- so sign up for their mailing list and stay updated!


January 11, 2008

Parted-at-birth twins ‘married’

From the BBC:

A pair of twins who were adopted by separate families as babies got married without knowing they were brother and sister, a peer told the House of Lords.

A court annulled the British couple’s union after they discovered their true relationship, Lord Alton said.

The peer – who was told of the case by a High Court judge involved – said the twins felt an “inevitable attraction”.

He said the case showed how important it was for children to be able to find out about their biological parents.

Details of the identities of the twins involved have been kept secret, but Lord Alton said the pair did not realise they were related until after their marriage.

‘Truth will out’

The former Liberal Democrat MP raised the couple’s case during a House of Lords debate on the Human Fertility and Embryology Bill in December.

“They were never told that they were twins,” he told the Lords.

“They met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction, and the judge had to deal with the consequences of the marriage that they entered into and all the issues of their separation.”

He told the BBC News website that their story raises the wider issue of the importance of strengthening the rights of children to know the identities of their biological parents.

“If you start trying to conceal someone’s identity, sooner or later the truth will out,” he said.

“And if you don’t know you are biologically related to someone, you may become attracted to them and tragedies like this may occur.”

Pam Hodgkins, chief executive officer of the charity Adults Affected by Adoption (NORCAP) said there had been previous cases of separated siblings being attracted to each other.

“We have a resistance, a very strong incest taboo where we are aware that someone is a biological relative,” she said.

“But when we are unaware of that relationship, we are naturally drawn to people who are quite similar to ourselves.

‘Incredibly rare’

“And of course there is unlikely to be anyone more similar to any individual than their sibling.”

Mo O’Reilly, director of child placement for the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, said the situation was traumatic for the people involved, but incredibly rare.

“Thirty or 40 years ago it would have been more likely that twins be separated and, brought up without knowledge of each other,” she said.

Today, however, adopted children grow up with a greater knowledge of their birth families – and organisations try to place brothers and sisters together.

If that were not possible, the siblings would still have some form of contact with each other.

“This sad case illustrates why, over the last 20-30 years, the shift to openness in adoption was so important,” Ms O’Reilly added.

Read the original article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7182817.stm


January 7, 2008

Stories About Home, by Leonie Simmons

Leonie Simmons was born in Vietnam and adopted to an Australian family. Five years ago she returned to the place of her birth. This thoughtful and carefully written paper describes her journey and her efforts to deconstruct taken-for-granted ideas about culture, identity, family and home. It will be of relevance to anyone interested in ways of making home and making family as well as to those connected to the issue of intercountry adoption.

This is a story about my life. It is a story about identity, culture, belonging and families. To me, for the most part it is a story about Home. Making one, finding more, leaving many and taking them with you when you go.

I was born in Vietnam, during a time of war, and then adopted to an Australian family. Five years ago, I returned to the place of my birth. It has taken until now to be able to find the words, write them down and and speak of the experience. In the intervening years, I decided to hide away the events of my visit to my birth place. I wanted them kept safe from analytical tinkering, uninvited interference, wacky conclusions or undisciplined thoughts. Let the past be done with, I declared. I concluded that there were more important things to attend to, to think and speak about. And I was right.

But during this time, when I was keeping the stories of Vietnam at a distance, I was also experiencing a disconnection in relating with other people. I would have the occasional meetings and I was competent, I thought, at listening, but I could not answer questions. Simple, easy, demographic questions regarding my life began to take avery long time to answer and when I did manage to reply, I stuttered and mumbled incoherently. Questions like: What is your name? Where do you come from? Where do you live? Where is your home? Where were you born? Embedded within these enquiries is a request to disclose what nationality you are, what country is your country, what language do you speak. Other questions would inevitably follow: Who are you parents? How many brothers and sisters do you have? What is your profession? Are you single, married, divorced? These seemingly simple questions are routinely asked in conversation or on forms with little boxes to indicate which simple category you belong within. Those little spaces imply that the answers to those questions are to be easy and brief. But that is not possible for all of us. Anticipating the inevitable sense of awkwardness that would accompany these sorts of questions led me me to avoid talking to people as much as possible.

ed what my Vietnamese family had intended or thought about when choosing this name for me. Feeling that I had been granted a name representative of a particular meaning, image or metaphor, evoked a soft appreciation for the people responsible and a new sense of substance began to surround my anonymous biological parentage. It was around the time I learnt the meaning of my Vietnamese name, that I began a journey on which I would meet the ‘I’ that I may have been, an ‘I’ whom I definitely wasnot, and more importantly the ‘I’ that I could possibly become.

WHY VIETNAM?
In 2002, I traveled to Vietnam to visit my country of birth and to see Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, where my life began. I had always presumed that when the time was right, I would one day return. There were times in my life when I did not think much about going back to Vietnam. I had phases when I assumed a revisit would be an exciting adventure to pursue. And then, sometimes exploring the unknown felt a little daunting. For the most part though, there were simply other concerns, projects and life happenings to be focusing on. It was only a matter of when the ‘right time’ would arise, Vietnam wasn’t going anywhere.

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January 1, 2008

Adoptee finds the missing piece of her puzzle – her twin sister

Filed under: Adoptee Articles,Adoptees,Korean Adoption — Tags: , , — Catherine @ 11:16 pm

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune:

For five minutes, Emily Saunders was alone.

Then her twin sister was born.

Their mother, a poor South Korean woman who was not expecting twins
and gave birth out of wedlock, made a fateful decision. She would give
one girl up. That was Emily, who was adopted when she was 4 months old
by Jackie and Eric Saunders of Wyoming, Minn.

For 21 years, neither Emily nor her twin, Eunjin, had a clue the other
one existed. Their families did not tell them until this year. On
Thursday, Emily will fly to South Korea to meet her mirror image and
try to stitch her past with her present. She hopes meeting her sister
can fill a void that has contributed to turmoil in her life.

The days leading up to the trip are a mixture of excitement and
nervousness. She’s packing a lifetime of photos to share with her
sister. She also has a long list of questions for her birth mother,
who has colon cancer and told Emily she wanted to meet her before she
dies. At the top of Emily’s list, not surprisingly, is “Why?”
When the Saunderses chose to adopt Emily, they knew she was a twin.
But Jackie Saunders says the adoption agency told them the other
sister “must have died” because as a matter of policy, they did not
separate twins.

Those words, “must have,” gnawed at Jackie Saunders, who kept after
the agency. Soon they learned the truth: Eunjin was alive and living
with her mother. The Saunderses asked the agency to contact them
immediately if the twins’ birth mother ever released Eunjin so they
could adopt her, too.

Years passed, and the Saunderses did not tell Emily that she had a twin sister.

“Don’t tell her. Not now, not ever,” advised a woman who worked at the
Korean orphanage where she had cared for Emily when she was a baby.
The woman came to Minnesota for a visit. “Culturally, that’s not how
we do things,” she said.

Back in South Korea, Eunjin’s mother kept quiet, too.

Jackie Saunders, principal of North Lakes Academy, a charter school in
Forest Lake, says she and her husband wanted to tell Emily about her
sister, but all of the adoption experts suggested that they wait until
she got older. “She won’t understand, and it could mess up the bonding
process,” Jackie Saunders remembers being advised. “The books and
advisers all say that you should follow the child’s lead. If the child
asks questions about their birth information, of course, tell them.
But don’t push it on them.”

There were times when she wanted to blurt it out.

Like when Emily discovered Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and became
obsessed. She’d watch all the shows, talk about them constantly, and
want to play “Olsen Twins” with her friends. She even wrote to them.

Some nights, Jackie Saunders and her husband would sit up in bed and
ask each other: “Do you think it means something? Should we tell her?”

Ultimately, they’d shrug it off and say, “It is what it is.”

Meanwhile, Emily was growing up. Her teenage years were turbulent
ones. Her best friend died of cancer, as did a grandmother. Emily
developed an eating disorder and attempted suicide. She struggled in
school, but eventually graduated from Chisago Lakes High School. She
says her mother told her that during that dark period, her parents
feared that she was too fragile to handle anything else.

Jackie Saunders says they debated what the right thing to do was, but
ultimately, stuck with the advice to let Emily’s interest in learning
more about her birth family guide them.

The missing piece

Last May, in a therapist’s office, the truth finally came out.

Emily, now 21, asked her mother to tell her everything. Jackie
Saunders didn’t hesitate. “You were born a twin and your birth mother
kept your sister,” she said, finally speaking the lines she had
rehearsed for years.

Emily crumbled. Through her tears, she asked: “What was wrong with me?
Why didn’t she keep me?”

Jackie Saunders replied: “The choices she made were about her, not you.”

Feeling rejected and numb, Emily went home to her apartment she shares
with her two cats in St. Paul, accompanied by her mother. Two weeks
later, she was starting to come to terms with the news.

As a little girl, she loved to work on jigsaw puzzles with her father.

“She said, ‘Mom, it’s like I’m doing a jigsaw and there’s this one
missing piece and I’ve been shoving all kinds of crud into that
missing hole and it never fit. Now, my sister is like the missing
piece that does fit,’” Jackie Saunders said.

They started searching for Eunjin and her mother.

In South Korea, Eunjin was getting the same stunning news — that she
had a twin sister somewhere. Her mother had become seriously ill and,
based on what Jackie Saunders has learned so far, that prompted her to
reveal the secret.

Eunjin and her mother contacted the adoption agency in September and
gave the workers their contact information in the hope of finding
Emily.

Soon, Emily had two phone numbers in hand — one for Eunjin’s college
dorm, the other for her birth mother’s home.

Emily sat on the edge of her bed inside her apartment, banging the
phone on her knee a few times before dialing the long string of
numbers for Eunjin.

“It rang about three times,” Emily recalled. Then a voice, deeper than
her own, answered. “She said, ‘yobo sayo,’” which Koreans greet each
other with on the phone.

“Then, I said something like: ‘Hi, I’m your twin sister. I wanted to
meet you, talk to you, see what you sounded like. I can’t believe it’s
you.’ Then I just started to bawl!”

Eunjin, who speaks only a few English words, gasped loudly. “Are you
OK? Are you OK?” she asked Emily over and over again.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Emily told her.

They hung up and she called her birth mom. The conversation was
equally brief because they couldn’t understand one another.

But later, they found a translator to help. “She told me she’s never
stopped thinking of me for 22 years,” Emily said, noting that in South
Korean custom, newborns are considered 1 year old. The twins’ birth
mom also told Emily: “Sarang hamnida.” It means, “I love you.”

Exchanging photos

Since Emily and Eunjin found each other, they’ve been e-mailing each
other and calling. They’ve also exchanged photos, current and baby
ones.

A look at the pictures reveals strikingly different personalities.
Emily says they don’t know, without doing a blood test, whether
they’re fraternal or identical twins.

“The first thing I wanted to do when I saw her picture was give her
contacts and put makeup on her,” she said. And when Emily, who swears
a lot, told Eunjin she was learning Korean swear words, her sister
gasped and told her those weren’t nice words.

While Eunjin is in college studying to be a dental hygienist, Emily
said she was laid off from a job and is considering applying to
Metropolitan State University or St. Paul College to study law
enforcement.

Despite their differences, the language barrier and thousands of
miles, they share a bond.

“No person can get closer to a person than someone they were in the
womb with for nine months,” Emily explained. In her wallet, she
carries a copy of the only page of her birth papers that mentions
Eunjin.

On Thursday, she and her mother will fly to South Korea. They haven’t
planned everything they will do, but the main thing both sisters want
is to be together again.

Jackie Saunders says she is excited, too, but also cautious about
building up expectations.

“I’ve tried to develop a future version of ‘it is what it is,’” she
said. “I get up in the morning and I almost chant it: “It will be what
it will be.”

Both mother and daughter are hoping that the missing piece will help
Emily put her past struggles behind her. “It won’t fix her life but it
will lay a foundation to close out the hardest chapters,” Jackie
Saunders said.

Added Emily: “I believe it will fill some of the emptiness that I’ve
felt. Always like something was missing. We didn’t get the chance to
grow up together. There were 21 years we missed out on. I am looking
forward to having contact with her. She said maybe someday she might
want to live here.”

Read the full article here: http://www.startribune.com/local/12916351.html


December 14, 2007

International Adoption, It’s a One-Way Dialogue

From Mother Jones:

When adoptive parents like myself try to keep the lid on controversy, we do
ourselves—and our kids—no favors.

by Elizabeth Larsen

November was National Adoption Awareness Month, and the
media—including Mother Jones, which recently published my story Did I
Steal My Daughter? The Tribulations of Global Adoption—have been doing
their best to bring fresh ideas to a much misrepresented topic. The New York
Times has joined the fray with, among other things, “Relative Choices,” an
engaging series of personal essays to which readers can post comments
online. As an adoptive mother, I’m delighted with the variety of
perspectives (though I do wish more birth parents had been included and feel
that the title “Relative Choices” is off tone—most adoptees don’t have
a “choice,” nor do birth mothers buckling under economic or societalpressures).

But there are viewpoints that aren’t given a lot of real estate, most
notably the perspectives of people—adoptees, birth families, adoptive
parents—who are deeply critical of adoption. Novelist Tama Janowitz’s
essay, published on November 12, unknowingly highlighted this disparity.
Intended to be a humorous look at generational resentment, the essay employs
the term “Mongolian” to describe her Chinese-born daughter’s features and
refers to a recently published book in which Midwestern adoptees in their
30s and 40s “complain bitterly” about their experiences and as a result
blame their parents. (The book, which Janowitz doesn’t name, is Outsiders
Within: Writing on Transnational Adoption.)

It didn’t take long before the blogosphere was buzzing not only about
the Janowitz essay, but also the fact that when some of those very same
“bitter complainers” tried to post their reactions, they couldn’t get past
the Times’ digital gatekeeper.

In its FAQ for posting comments, the Times makes it clear that its
criteria for allowing users to post comments are subjective and that
abusive, vulgar, or ad hominem comments are not tolerated. In the opinions
posted for stories that were not related to adoption, it is clear that the
website favors measured language over anything that tilts toward pissed off.
But how do you explain that a post that included the line “The term
Mongolian to describe Asian features went out of fashion the year your book
was published” was nixed when a response to an article about Camille Paglia
saying “Camille, dear. Return to your Madonna-lust and leave the rest of us
alone” did make it through? Several of the responses that were not published
are posted on Harlow’s Monkey, a blog by Jae Ran Kim, who was adopted from
South Korea and is now a social worker specializing in adoption. While some
of the comments might not be personally gratifying for Janowitz, none that
I’ve read are, in my opinion, anything that the general public needs to be
protected from. In the days that followed the flap over censorship, more
dissenting voices were included in the comments, including a posting by Kim.

The online scuttlebutt behind these omissions is that the “Relative
Choices” editor Peter Catapano, who is an adoptive father, is censoring
critical voices. I have no idea if Catapano had anything to do with the
filtering—neither he nor anyone else at the Times returned my phone
call or emails. But whether or not this incident was an example of an
adoptive parent censoring dissent, I think it’s vital that we recognize why
some adoption critics would not be surprised if it was so. The truth is that
it’s almost impossible to find those voices in American media. When The
Language of Blood author Jane Jeong Trenka—a Korean adoptee and
award-winning writer who tackles the difficulties she faced growing up in a
small Minnesota town with heartbreakingly gorgeous prose—tries to
submit her writing to magazines and newspapers, she gets virtually no
takers. Meanwhile, Korean editors print everything she writes.

Why? I think when it comes to adoption, American adoptive parents
(myself included) steer the discourse. We direct adoption agencies and think
tanks. We write the home studies of prospective adoptive parents. We are
policy experts and doctors and academics and journalists. We are passionate
about adoption—an institution that has given us so much—and
therein lies the problem: In our passion, we sometimes shield ourselves from
larger discussions about the toll that adoption can take, a discussion that
is in fact gaining traction across the globe. And in doing so, we are
preventing adoption from evolving.

When I attended a reading of Outsiders Within last winter, I was struck
by how much the intensity and the passion of the writers recalled the
pioneers of second-wave feminism. That movement upended our opinions about
marriage, and the institution survived for the better. Any adoptive parent
knows that the adoptive bond is not fragile. So why do we protect it from
the same kind of scrutiny?

Reading through the comments posted on “Relative Choices” and other
adoption blogs, it’s clear to me that if you are an adoptee and want to say
something critical about adoption, you had better make it abundantly clear
that you truly, absolutely love your mom and dad or you risk getting
berated. (A notable exception to these “quit whining” directives are the
respectful comments posted to Sumeia William’s “Relative Choices” essay
titled “I Am Not a Bridge,” the most hard-hitting selection in the series.)
In fact, expecting adoptees to publicly pledge their gratitude to their
parents is holding them to a standard no one else has to adhere to. Isn’t it
true that even if we hate our parents, we still love them?

Similarly, in some adoptive-parent communities, anything questioning
the current practices in the adoption universe leads to a virtual stoning of
the messenger. When UNICEF publicly states that they support intercountry
adoption—but only after all efforts to keep children in their birth
countries (through family preservation, foster care, or domestic adoption)
have failed—or the State Department weighs in with critical
assessments of Guatemalan and Vietnamese adoptions, tirades rain down.
Meanwhile, a Guatemalan adoption attorney who allegedly offered money to a
teenage birth mother’s father in exchange for the baby is praised by some
adoptive parents for her dedication.

I’m not saying that I want all adoptive parents to agree with the steps
UNICEF or State is taking to reform intercountry adoptions. But we need all
perspectives to get more space in the conversation—otherwise, we
parents are just patting each other on the back.

Since Mother Jones published my story, I’ve taken my own virtual
knocks. (Unlike the Times, Mother Jones only filters hate speech and
propaganda.) There’s not much reward in being called an egotistical
colonizer whose self-hating tendencies have rendered me a horrible mother.
But I will admit that even some of the more stinging criticisms have made me
pause long enough to rethink my assumptions.

This is a difficult time for transnational adoption, with troubling
news stories increasing and the future, at least in some countries, unclear.
But whatever the solutions may be, I don’t think we’ll find them by closing
ranks.

Elizabeth Larsen has worked for both Sassy and Utne Reader. She wrote about
her daughter in this year’s Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception,
Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion, and in the current
issue of Mother Jones.

@2007 The Foundation for National Progress

Original article: http://www.motherjones.com/news/update/2007/12/international-adoption-one-way-dialogue.html


December 11, 2007

Journey 2008: A Trip to Korea for Overseas Adopted Koreans

Filed under: Adoptees,Adoption,Korean Adoption — Tags: , , , — Catherine @ 11:48 am

This was recently sent out through ICASN:

“Hello,

I am writing to you on behalf of Journey 2008: A Trip to Korea for Overseas Adopted Koreans. Each year JinHeung Moonhwa sponsors this wonderful experience for adult adoptees around the world. For two weeks adoptees are able to visit Korea to learn more about the culture, heritage and people of their birth country. The company covers all expenses for the trip including food, lodging, and transportation with the only expense to the participant being airfare. I would appreciate your efforts in forwarding this to all of your members. I was a participant of this trip in 2001 and it remains one of my most life changing moments. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Applications and information ocan be obtained on the following website.

http://1004calendar.com/event/2008adoptees/index.php

If you are interested in receiving updates from ICASN, visit their site to sign up: http://www.icasn.org


December 10, 2007

ICASN Studies Now Available On The Site!

Filed under: Adoptees,Adoption,Site News,Suggested Reading — Tags: , , , — Catherine @ 6:02 pm

We recently uploaded four short studies published by ICASN, the Inter-Countery Adoptee Support Network (http://www.icasn.org). Adoptees sent their personal views on such topics as adoption by same-sex couples, and post-adoption support services.

Read the studies and find out more about ICASN here: ICASN Articles

Visit ICASN on the web at http://www.icasn.org.


December 3, 2007

New York Times’ Relative Choices Blog

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the New York Times has recently started a new blog called “Relative Choices: Adoption and the American Family”, which features pieces by people whose lives have been affected by adoption in various ways. The authors include: Dr. Jane Aronson, founder and medical director of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation, as well as a mother of an internationally adopted child; Hollee McGinnis, policy director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and a Korean adoptee; Lynn Lauber, a birth mother and author; and Huong Sutliff and Adam Wolfington, who are teenagers and transracial adoptees.

The articles have been as widely varied as the authors. Topics have ranged from adoptive parents’ stories about traveling to meet their children and how adoptive parents react to questions posed by others about their children, to adoptees’ memories of first meeting their adoptive parents and helping the next generation of transracial adoptees.


September 10, 2007

How to Be an Anti-Racist Parent

Filed under: Adjustment Issues,Adoptees,Adoption,Racism,Transracial Adopters — Catherine @ 6:24 pm

Carmen Van Kerckhove, co-founder and president of the anti-racism training company New Demographic, writes for two of our favorite blogs, Racialicious and Anti-Racist Parent. Today, she sent us these five tips for parents. We think it’s a must-read. Be sure to visit Anti-Racist Parent to download the free 11-page e-booklet "How to Be an Anti-Racist Parent: Real-Life Parents Share Real-Life Tips." And, don’t miss today’s post on helping teachers understand adoption.

The following is reprinted with Carmen’s permission:

You don’t use racial slurs. You teach your child to treat everyone equally. You expose your family to diverse cultures. That’s enough to make sure your children don’t grow up to be racists, right?

Not necessarily.

Most people think that racism is all about white hoods, burning crosses, and racial slurs. But racism is also about linking physical and intellectual abilities to racial differences. If you think about racism in this way, the truth is that all of us hold racist beliefs.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind:

1. Your children will face racism, so prepare them for it.
It’s not unusual for children to hear their peers using racial slurs as early on as the first grade, even in the most diverse and open-minded communities. Don’t assume that racism is a non-issue for your family.

2. Don’t be colorblind.
"Everyone is the same to me. I don’t even see color!" Being colorblind is not possible and it should not be your goal. As NAACP Chairman Julian Bond says, colorblindness means being "blind to the consequences of being the wrong color in America today."

3. Make conversations about racism relaxed and frequent.
Don’t wait for A Very Special Moment to talk about race. Conversations about race should be as normal and casual in your family as discussions about "American Idol." In fact, "American Idol" can be a good starting point to talk about how people of color are portrayed in the media!

4. Lead by example.
Actions speak louder than words. If you tell your children they should accept everyone, regardless of race, but you only socialize with people from one race, what message do you think your child will absorb?

5. Never stop dismantling your own racist beliefs.
You can’t lead by example if you don’t work on yourself. Realize that you’re not going to wake up one morning and be rid of all your racist beliefs. There are no shortcuts to becoming anti-racist. Be aware of your own biases and privileges, and never stop working to overcome them.


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