Colin Kaepernick recently hosted a Know Your Rights Youth Summit in the Bay Area where he gave DNA testing kits to the participants. He explained that he had taken a DNA test that past summer and his connection strengthened to his African American descent and back the continent of Africa – specifically the countries where he is more highly connected with.
For the first time in his life, he could connect an couple African countries to the “African” in his “African-American.”
As a trans racial adoptee, like myself, Kaepernick understands the disconnect one feels without knowing fully where he comes from. When people talk about visiting their “motherland” or talk about “my ancestors,” we lack those connection. He, like me, has no connection to his paternal and Black side because it is a mystery to him. Moreover, he found out the “what” of who he is through this testing. I know I talked a lot about my DNA journey in this blog and what it feels like to get the “what are you?” finally answered.
So I deeply connect with Kaepernick’s entire story here. He is a bi-racial trans-racial adoptee, just like myself. He is finding himself and figuring out what it means to be a Black person in America. He is doing it without the traditional tools that most Black children are afforded – Black parents. It’s almost like driving in a fog. You just gotta pray along the way and hope you make it home safe.
So when he gave away those DNA kits – I understood. I had this exact same vision when I was younger. I often thought that if Black Americans could connect with their exact motherland, that a lot of hearts would be start being healed. I always thought that was what reparations would loo like. Not only a reconciliation here, but also there.
I still believe this and I still believe that all American descendants of slaves deserve to have a full understanding of their true ethnic makeup. All adoptees deserve to have a full understanding of who they are.
How is this tied to social justice and adoption?
Well, Shaun King went to Kaepernick’s forum this weekend and he must’ve spent some time talking to Kaepernick about a whole range of issues, including trans-racial adoption. At least that’s what I think because Shaun King wrote an amazing piece today called “Adopting A Black Child is Not a Free Pass to be Racist.” Now, I do not think that Kaerpernick’s adoptive parents were or are racist. I just know that as a trans racial adoptee, we are hyper sensitive to certain “tells” that we see among adoptive parents that say “those parents are racist.”
And we lament for the children.
And I feel confident that Shaun King’s social justice buttons were pushed by the thought of people using the adopted Black children as a “anti-racist” lifetime pass. It just doesn’t work that way.
For months now, amongst transracial adoption online spaces, adoptees have been telling of the betrayal they feel about their parents supporting Trump. I won’t even get into the amount of racism and sexism and all kinds of isms that spew out of his mouth. Or that he is endorsed by Nazis and the KKK. But I will point out that, international adoptees have been harassed and told that they will be deported. Children are afraid of what a Donald Trump presidency looks like.
And still we see trans-racially adoptive parents supporting Trump. Not only that, we see them not engaging meaningfully in social justice issues. And it breaks our heart.
Trans-racially adoptive parents owe it to their children to tirelessly work to make the world a better place for their children. They can do all the individual work they want to be a better parent in their home, but if they are not working at the societal issues that affect People of Color now then they will still be sending their child out into a horribly broken world. And that is what people like Shaun King and Colin Kaepernick are fighting for.
We all want the world to be a better place.
The work needs to start now – waiting until you child has grown up is too late. Waking up to these issues when they are grown is too late. Adult adoptees are telling you, do not vote for Trump. It is like a punch in our gut.
Working for racial and social justice start with little things like giving DNA kits to young people so they can connect with their racial and ethnic heritage to the big things like how you vote.
If you are truly a loving parent, you’d start listening to how to make this world better for your child from the people who are living adult versions of your child.