My daughter Aselefech, adopted from Ethiopia at 6 years old and raised near Washington, DC, and her daughter moved out here to Seattle last summer. It has been eye-opening for each of us. We all love the beauty of the trees, lakes, and mountains. We have eaten great food, gone to wonderful concerts and lectures, and, yes, enjoyed all kinds of coffee and beer. Still, my experience as a white person in liberal, progressive Seattle has been different from hers as a person of color and an adoptee, and from her daughter’s, as a child of color.
I am thrilled that Aselefech is writing about her experience, and is sharing her insights. We’ve talked a lot about what growing up in an all-white environment might be like for transracial adoptees, as well as how racism affects people of color as individuals (for example, the microaggressions of daily life) and as part of a larger group (reactions to national news reports on black boys and men being killed by police; or how #blacklivesmatter is accepted and rejected). There are no easy solutions: just a lot of courageous conversations, plus faith that open hearts will listen and effective action will follow.
Here’s an excerpt from Aselefech’s post today. Read the whole post on her blog, EthioAmerican Daughter.
“The harsh reality of living in a predominately white environment is that your space is violated intentionally and unintentionally more often than you’d like through microagressive comments and other forms of racism. You begin to feel and internalize the weight of racial scrutiny. This is true for my child, and for me, an adult. My world started feeling unfamiliar, more intense, and I began to observe everything that made me different from the people around me: my name, my hair, my blackness. Those differences made me become more conscious than ever of my race and reality. They reminded me that racism is systemic, and that liberal empathy is an insufficient solution.”