I'd like everyone to take a quick moment and look at my daughter.
She is beautiful right? I mean, I think she is. She looks perfect in every way. So it breaks my heart when she doesn't think so... and it breaks my heart even more when others don't think so.
Me: So how was the weekend while me and Kole were camping?
Wife: Pretty good. We spent a lot of time at the beach.
Me: Oh cool. Fun?
Wife: Yup, we got ice cream from the Ice Cream Boat and the kids were even playing with other kids at the beach.
Me: Did they make some new friends?
Wife: Well, no, not really. D was playing with G and Ping, giving them horse back rides in the water. They were laughing and having a great time.
Me: He's a great big brother.
Wife: Yea, they were all playing so nice. Then another group of 3 small girls, about the ages on Ping and G started making their way over. Drawn by the laughter and everyone having a great time. Ping called them over, and said that they could play with D, and help her "get him!".
Me: Sounds fun.
Wife: D and G eventually made their way back to the beach out of the water, and were playing in the sand. Leaving Ping and the 3 other girls alone. Quickly, I could see that something was wrong. Ping started looking back towards the shore when I was sitting, and I could just tell something was wrong. So I waved her in, and she came out of the water. Immediately, I could see that she was starting to cry. She then broke into a run once on the sand and stopped just in front of me. She wanted to throw herself on me and cry, but she knew better than to climb on me when she is wet. But I could tell she needed a cuddle so I told her to climb up on my lap. She did, and then she started bawling. Crying like we haven't heard in months.
Me: Oh no, what happened?
Wife: Well, it took a couple of minutes for her to calm down enough to even talk. I was asking her what happened, did she get hurt, but all she could say was "I don't know what happen. You have to talk to their Mommy." But I couldn't talk to the other Moms until I knew what happened! Finally she calmed down enough to say "They say my skin is brown, and dirty and that it is ugly. They say I dirty and then splash me in the face."
My daughter! Ugly?! Dirty?! Quick, scroll back up to the pictures... I can't see it.
Now, pre-adoption, I would have probably though along the lines of "oh well, kids are just picking on her. If there was something else more obvious, if she was fat, if she was wearing her glasses, they would have picked on that"... but no, this was racism, at a very young age.
Me: Oh. What did you do?
Wife: Well, once I calmed down enough, I went over to the other three Moms and told them what their children said.
Me: Did they do anything?
Wife: Oh yes, they all jumped up and went to the water and grabbed their kids, and started giving them the gears. Then then came back to clarify exactly who said what. I was glad to see that they seemed to actually care. Then, they made their kids go and apologize to Ping.
Me: Wow. You handled that great.
Wife: I know eh! I mean, I've punched little old ladies in the back of the head because they said Kole was blocking their view during the circus. I've yelled at that little boy at the beach when he was being mean to our kids last summer. I didn't event think of being mean to these kids or their Moms!
Me: I know. I'm so proud of you! Look at you growing and becoming a better person. You didn't think about accidently knocking the kids into the water and then holding them under for a minute or two.
Wife: No, I didn't! I really don't like stupid people, and I have no patience for them. But I even thanked the other Moms for dealing with their children so quickly and properly. But this was it. I mean, we've had racist comments before from people, but this is the first one that Ping understood.
Me: Yea, first step, first words, first racist comments... all great milestones in our children's lives.
There is no room for racism in our world. It should not be tolerated, and people should not have to deal with it. When the wife explained what happened to Ping to the other kids, both D + G wound up breaking down into tears and crying. I think, I hope, I pray, our children understand it. I know they will never "get it", not like Ping will. I've mentioned before that she started asking why her skin is brown... so she is aware.
As parents, siblings, friends, and family of our internationally adopted... no wait, as parents, siblings, friends and family of ANY mixed family... no, wait again. As humans... as people who love and respect Gods children, we have to stand up for and protect all peoples. I don't care adopted, mixed family, visible minority, etc... Racism sucks.
Even if you are a white family, living in rural Saskatchewan and you have never seen a visible minority walking down your dusty tumbleweed infested farming community, you can help stop racism so beautiful children (like mine) never have to collapse into the loving arms of their mother and cry while trying to come to terms with the fact that someone doesn't like them simply because of the colour of their skin.