We all love our friends. I particularly love when mine remind me why they became my friend in the first place.
I recently found a post on Facebook which had not been set to “public”. I received the author’s permission to cross-post it, but not to identify her. That said, I will provide this much information: she and her husband have been Republicans for as long as I’ve known them. Her brother is an elected Republican official in a small city. They are the most “survivalist” people I know, to the point of being self-sufficient on food, water, power, and various resources. They were strong advocates for Huckabee in 2012 and wanted him again in early 2016, but settled in for Cruz. In a political way, they are stereotypical despite being one of the most distinctive and unusual couples I know.
This was her post:
I’ve hesitated to say anything about current issues, but I feel I can’t not say anything and feel good about that. You might not even care two twigs what I think, and that’s okay. Keep scrolling. This is sort of long. But, you know me, I’m a wordy chick.
No matter where you stand on the current issues, take this time to speak with your children about race and treating others — no matter their differences — with kindness. For us, in our home, race cannot be ignored. I think it’s easy in an “all the same race” family to ignore the topic sometimes. Especially in a family where brown or black or other tones are not reflected. Although I have always been aware of racism around me, personally, I had never experienced it until I called “brown” skin babies/children mine.
Racism is not an American problem. It is a GLOBAL problem. While in China adopting our daughter, the Chinese adoption representatives repeatedly pointed out how “dark” her skin was. Frustrated with this, I finally explained that had I a problem with that, I would not be adopting her in the first place. I was taken aback by it. It’s not just a white-black issue. There is racism in all races against all races. I was surprised that it in our child’s school, it was an African-American child that ridiculed my daughter’s “Chinese Eyes” the most. In my “whiteness” I had assumed that minority children would stick together on the “same team”. I was wrong. It was also a Hispanic boy and an African-American boy that held my Korean child’s head down on the bus floor with their feet on the way home from school. And a white adult bus driver that failed to intervene despite the 4 year age difference between the big boys and my little boy.
It’s not just a stranger-stranger, adult-adult, or kid-kid issue either. I was shocked when members of my family berated me harshly for adopting “one of theirs” and “what’s wrong with our own kind” (those are the nicer comments). I was shocked when a grown stranger adult in Walmart purposefully made racist comments about my TODDLER…telling me to “take that serape-wearing gook back to India”…that idiot managed to insult 3 different racial/cultural groups in one insult. I was never so grateful for Chris’s hard of hearing-ness than at that time, for if he had heard the asshat’s comments, I would have had to figure out how to get us home and bail him out of jail. I was surprised (but by that time no longer shocked) when so-called friends, publicly, on Facebook, accused me of “White Colonialism” and “White Imperialism” because we adopted a malnourished, mentally and physically challenged Chinese orphan whose untreated Cerebral Palsy had caused her ankle bones to fuse in such a way that she could only walk on her 2 big toes…and whose teeth were so rotten that all she could eat was noodles and yogurt. By all means, dear friend in wolf’s clothing, I should have left her to be groomed for prostitution when she was tossed out of the orphanage at age 14, with no teeth left in her head and unable to walk 2 feet without falling down, simply because I am Caucasian and she is Chinese.
So, I’ve learned some stuff that I’ve been protected from experiencing my whole life. It’s hard for your kid to talk about things sometimes when he is brown and you are white. But he is my son and I am his mother. And we love each other. And we can’t imagine him not being mine and me not being his. It’s hard having to explain to your pre-teen son that it’s NOT OKAY for his FRIEND to “make chinese eyes” with his fingers while laughing at him (he’s just joking, mom)…or it’s NOT OKAY for his other friend to ask, “Man, can you even see out of those eyes?” (But, mom, he’s Mexican!). It’s confusing to a kid when it comes from his friend. I had to explain that 1)I don’t doubt that the friend is actually a friend and a good person, and 2) it doesn’t matter if it’s another minority doing the “kidding” or a white kid — it’s all the same thing, and 3)It’s NOT OKAY. And that is IS OKAY to say, “Hey dude, NOT COOL.” I love that my children count among their best and closest friends, kids/people of all colors and creeds. We are NOT color blind. I hate seeing that term bandied about. We cannot be color blind. SEE COLOR. SEE DIFFERENCES. See them and embrace the wonderful variety God created.
I can never fully understand or relate to the deeply embedded racism that is in our world — I have an outside looking in view as a mother of Asian children. But, I try. Hard.
As adults we can help change the future by raising children who can go forward into this world and leave the shackles of racism in the past…but as adults we must facilitate that.
Talk to your children. Politics shouldn’t be a part of that conversation. Human beings are not political parties. If there’s something in your own life that you have LEARNED from the adults before you, examine that. Admit that your thinking may need to change. We can all be better people. I have changed my opinions on several issues just over the last couple years. I’ve learned that my original perspectives were limited in some regards without the exposure necessary to really SEE through the eyes of someone who doesn’t look like me. I’ve learned that many issues are multi-faceted and don’t have a this or that solution. It’s okay to be confused. I am. Part of change is admitting weakness and confusion and looking for a better way.
It’s pretty simple really. Even if you don’t acknowledge him as God’s son, and you just see him as a religious teacher, the message is still important: Jesus said to treat OTHERS like WE want to be treated OURSELVES. That’s not a hard concept to grasp. No one in this world can change history. We CAN change the future. It’s time to talk with your children and acknowledge that as human beings, globally, we CAN do better.
This is the type of voter who is peeling away from Trump but is not likely to vote for Biden (especially after, as mentioned, she was very publicly castigated by Democrat friends for her “white imperialism”). And just because she’s demanding that Republicans clean up their act instead of abandoning them, it doesn’t make her a fool or mean she doesn’t have a view worth hearing.
It means there are people out there who are very publicly Republican who are still open to discussion. And it means I have good reasons to be proud of my friends.