Some good reads on the web this week. Click on the title to read the whole thing.
Black people can’t talk to white people about race anymore. There’s really nothing left to say. There are libraries full of books, interviews, essays, lectures, and symposia. If people want to learn about their own country and its history, it is not incumbent on black people to talk to them about it. It is not our responsibility to educate them about it. Plus whenever white people want to talk about race, they never want to talk about themselves. There needs to be discussion among people who think of themselves as white. They need to unpack that language, that history, that social position and see what it really offers them, and what it takes away from them. As James Baldwin said, “As long as you think that you are white, there is no hope for you.”
[It might be a good idea to] lock up your Facebook page. I realize that lots of us had fun, drunken whore moments in college where we made out with our bestie and put our hands all over her knockers, then had our boyfriend take our picture, but I want to think of the sober version of you when you walk out the door to take my preschoolers to story hour. My recent profile pic might be me holding a Shake Weight in a compromising position with my mouth open like a fish, but we’re not talking about me here. My kids already know I’m a failure.
Who decided that kids who go to a birthday party need or deserve presents of their own? Back in the Paleolithic Era when I was a kid, what you got for going to another kid’s birthday party was GETTING TO GO TO A FREAKING BIRTHDAY PARTY. Period and the end. That was incentive enough. Because typically there was cake and cookies and candy and snacks and games and a maybe a movie or some putt-putt golf or something. And WHEE! OH, THE FUN! The idea that someone would give ME something to go to a party would have seemed beyond ridiculous. Asinine, even. Why? BECAUSE IT IS.
As both an adoptee and an adoptive mom, I have many feelings that come up around this stuff. I feel honored to be entrusted with his story. I feel a tremendous responsibility to share it with him in a way that’s both deeply honest and developmentally appropriate. And I feel the tentacles of my own trauma history try to wrap themselves around this process and shut me down emotionally. But I’m fighting to be present and to look at it all for what it truly is- both T’s grief and mine, both his loss and mine. And to be grateful for the amazing opportunity to be here for the healing. For all of us.
Do the parents know that the child they are hoping will have a better life if they drop them off at the orphanage’s gate may grow up in that orphanage, age out, never knowing their biological family and never being placed in an adoptive one? Do these mothers want to raise their babies…and if they do…why aren’t they keeping them? Is it fair to have an orphanage in every neighborhood (many of them funded by churches) and yet have nothing (or very little) in place in countries like Haiti for helping mothers and fathers obtain the skills they need to keep their children and care for them? Is having an orphanage in every neighborhood helping to fight the orphan crises or are all these orphanages creating the crisis?
…maybe instead of shutting the door quick with a thud, or arguing theology until we’re blue in the face, we could open the door of our homes and offer a home-cooked meal. Goodness knows, it’s probably been a while since those guys have had one. …maybe instead of using hurt-words like “cult” and “brainwashed” we ask our neighbors & classmates about their family, their story, their faith, their hopes, their dreams. …maybe instead of drawing lines in the sand, we take a cue from our Mormon friends and choose to unify instead of divide.
Remember how you swore that when you were a parent, you would never, ever say the starving-in-Africa thing to your kid? Because that was just one of the dumbest things you’d ever heard? Remember? Yeah, me too. So much for that promise. Let’s just say that in recent months, the worst thing that could’ve ever happened to my kid at mealtime was my having gone to Kenya.
I was very VERY disappointed that my first therapist’s office did not feature the classic analyst couch. I no longer expect to be able to plank, and have become accustomed to sitting, as it’s all the better to see their humorless faces unperturbed by my brilliantly evasive tap dances and rimshots. Still, I think therapists should at least tapestry up their joints to feel like Freudian parlors just as a matter of professional pride. I don’t ask for much, but I do like to see stainless steel at the dentist’s office, a high-fiving Maneki Neko at the sushi bar and a little mahogany and dark brocade when I’m about to handcuff das Über-Ich and waltz with my darling ego banshee. Tradition, people!
Is it hypocritical to expect a coach to show a restraint that I can’t easily manage myself? Maybe. Maybe not. (He is getting paid, after all.) But with my kids now encountering peers on the playground who drop F bombs, and with almost every song they hear on the radio including a bleep or two for language and scads of unbleeped references to sex, it’s clear that I have exponentially less control over the language and ideas they are exposed to. What do I actually have a small chance of controlling? Myself. And it ain’t easy.