The weight of silence

If you have been reading this blog then you know that I am transracially adopted.  You know that I am biracial (Black/White) and that I have white parents.  You probably also know that my parents had four biological children who are at least six years older than I am.

So you know that I was the only Black person in my family.

You probably also know that I was the only Black person in my town, my church, my school and pretty much everywhere I went.  I was responsible for integration where ever I went.

I carried that weight alone. 

What you probably don’t know is that in my 45 years, my parents and none of the offspring, including numerous (and I am talking over 20) grandchildren have a single Black friend. 

Not one.

In 45 years and world travel and colleges and universities and very few of them have any Black friends.  And by very few I mean two, maybe three.

So 45 years after adopting a Black child, no one in this family has been able to establish a meaningful relationship with any Black people.  It’s literally astounding.

So I shouldn’t be surprised at the silence I have been met with about the massacre in Charleston.  I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am ashamed.

I am ashamed that I gave my love to people who have so little regard for people who look like me that they couldn’t take the time and even post this

image

beautful picture of angels drawn by the 7 year old from St. Mark’s Church.

I am ashamed that I believed that they loved me too but have such busy lives that they couldn’t reach out to me or my children and say “hey, this is some heavy stuff, are you ok?”

Look, I get it.  You’re mad at me for writing my story.  For telling my truth which to you sounds ungrateful.

I know you are mad and unfriended me because I said that raising a Black child in racial isolation is wrong.

I was unfriended by my sister and her daughter for suggesting that the young biracial boy that she has adopted shouldn’t be raised in racial isolation.  And that I felt it was unfair to him as it was unfair to me. 

I get it. 

You don’t want to hear the truth about how difficult being adopted into your family was and is for me

I didn’t miss the nuance of the story they told of him telling his dad that he was “grateful” he was adopted. (As if at age 11 he could fully grasp gratitude or even process adoption loss, but I digress) Yes.  I heard your passive aggressive dig there.  I am supposed to be grateful.

I heard that but why haven’t I heard your concern about all the Black people being gunned down in the past year?

The weight of your silence is immobizing.  You allow murderers like he who shall remain nameless from South Carolina to go unchecked.  You silently sit by and have no opinion on this.  And the weight of your silence has overwhelmed me.  You post “never forget” on 9/11, yet are silent here.

That was my daughter in there hiding beneath her grandmother playing dead.  That was my son gunned down from the pulpit.  To a racist, we are all the same.

45 years and not a single Black friend speaks volumes.

Will you sit by quietly if it actually is one of mine.  One of my children that you claim to love?

Sadly, your silence tells me yes.

And the weight of it is killing me.

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About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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6 Responses to The weight of silence

  1. Luke Luther says:

    We can help bare the burden of invisibility, Sara. You are not alone. You can choose your family from the broad and safe group you have chosen.

  2. Nima says:

    Sara – Your Story – Your Feelings – Don’t Let The Ignorance Of Others Weigh You Down!

  3. catully says:

    You are doing a lot of good writing here, and I hope you have many readers; we need to share our confusion so others in a similar boats understand theirs.

  4. lynellelong says:

    Sorry that your adoptive family has been so colour blind! They need to hear from the worldwide population of transracial / intercountry adoptees … you can read some at http://www.intercountryadopteevoices.com
    You are not alone … and it’s not uncommon for white adoptive families to not realise their white privileged life and how it impacts us. Keep speaking your truth .. maybe one day they might “get it” but don’t hold your breath.

  5. roseann894 says:

    Sara – Your story is a powerful reminder of the importance of community and belonging. As a white adoptive parent to two children of color, I thank you for sharing this. Your words and stories help me change my childrens’ experiences. Thanks – Monica

  6. Oh Sara, I am so sorry for your pain. I know there is a place in you that will always feel this loss, the emptiness that should be one of the fullest parts of you. I Love what Luke said. I’m so glad to know you you have given so much of yourself and I’ve been (many have been) so enriched because of it. I can’t imagine how deep the wound of guilt or denial, or just the meer selfish refusal to open up oneself; how deep that must be to dismiss you, hold you from afar and attempt to silence you. It is truly their loss. Their lives could be so much fuller. (Hugs)

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