random thoughts on adoption, race, and diversity

On Friday I’m leaving for Ethiopia with my dad to pick up my adopted son Isaac Biruk Taylor. We’re arriving the day after the election. I hope and pray that there’s no unrest in the country. If there is, I’d rather be there with my son than sitting back in the U.S. helpless. My wife and I have waited a long time for this. Adoption is a wonderful way to live out the Christian faith, since its an expression of what God does for us when He adopts us into His family in Christ. Our reasons for adopting weren’t that spiritual though. We just wanted a son. After we started the adoption process my wife got pregnant. On January 5th 2010, my wife gave birth to our son Christian David Taylor. Now we’ll have two boys. We’re not planning on having any more children. I pray that God will give our family many great memories together.

I’m watching Anderson Cooper right now. He’s doing a segment on how children perceive race. It’s chilling. The researcher just took a young white child (maybe 5 or 6), showed him drawings of white children and black children side by side. When the researcher asked the child, show me the dumb child, the bad child, the mean child, the boy pointed to the darker skinned drawings. When asked why he picked the darker pictures, the boy replied “because they are dark.” When the researcher asked who are the good and smart kids, the boy picked the white children and answered “because they are white.”

The mother was in anguish. She had no idea that her child had already formed these assumptions. Various experts gave their explanations. One expert thought that America’s racist culture emitted cultural cues so strong that even a child could pick up on them. Another expert, which I thought was more likely, suggested that children naturally assume that people that look like them share their same traits. One of the possible clues to the puzzle was that the mother said that her son does not live in a diverse community. All of the experts agreed that it’s important for parents of young children to befriend people of all different racial backgrounds so that the children can learn diversity from the beginning. In other words, teaching children about accepting people of other colors is one thing. Living it is another.

God, help me to live a life of love and acceptance of others, not just talk about it.

Posted on May 19, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I agree that exposure to diversity is very important to help kids know that differences are ok, but I think it is also cultural. This study was done before.One of the arguments to end segregation was that black children indicated the white doll as good and the black doll as bad. Unfortunately, I don't think we as a nation have moved very far away from this mindset.http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/track.htmlhttp://varenne.tc.columbia.edu/class/common/dolls_in_brown_vs_board.htmlGood luck on your journey!marhaban

  2. Thank you for sharing this. You're probably right.

  3. Thank you Aaron. Love, Sharon

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