This CNN series brings to mind a recent conversation I had with an irate parent who has since unsubscribed to our mailings and (if true to her word) has encouraged her friends to unsubscribe as well. A few weeks ago, Insider News quoted a long-time customer who identifies herself as the proud adoptive mother of two beautiful Black girls. Our ex-customer insisted that no White mother would ever call her children adopted or Black. She was insulted and enraged.
On the other hand, the customer shared with us how she proudly tells her girls that they are Black and beautiful on a regular basis. She feels that it is obvious to everyone, including them, that they are adopted, saying, "So why pretend... I tell them how lucky I am that God allowed me to bring them into my home and my heart." She told us that she is teaching them to celebrate their beauty by:
~Decorating their room with African and African American princesses, ~Refusing to have ANY catalogs or magazines that do not include a "significant" number of models reflecting women of color, ~Refusing to take her children to see movies that do not include them ("It breaks my heart to see children of color looking longingly at a screen full of children who none of them resemble, it's as if they have not been invited to the party"), ~Refusing to shop where the sales staff is not multicultural, ~Living in an area where her children can attend a school where there are other children with whom they can identify, ~Insisting that family members send cards and gifts that reflect her children ("At first my parents tried to pretend they were two little White girls, I gently put a stop to that nonsense early on."), and ~Telling them how fortunate they are to have such beautiful Black skin. (How God loved us so much that he made us all beautiful in our own way. That God revels in our individual beauty and we should never, ever be ashamed of how God made us.)
Kudos to this mother, who told us "I cannot change how the world sees my children but I don't have to support it. And I certainly have total control of what goes on inside these walls as well as what they see and do." We wholeheartedly agree.
Take a look at these three videos and we're sure you will agree that building self-esteem in children of color is a full-time job that starts at birth.