Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sending Messages About Race

I found this interesting study conducted in Baltimore about children of color and the messages that they receive about race.

Young Black Children's Development Affected by Messages on Race.

I thought it provides a research-based contact to the series of post that I'm currently writing. In the article the researcher writes,

Racial socialization can be described as the practice of communicating messages about race to children "who are black in a society in which being black has negative connotations," according to the study, quoting a noted child development expert. Depending on parents' values, racial socialization can emphasize achievement, morality, racial equality and self-esteem; the minority experience, including awareness of discrimination; or black culture.
The key to the statement above that I believe is most overlooked, is that being black brings with it a negative connotation. A connotation that is not true but accepted. Because it is widely accepted, that is why people report being color blind or not wanting to focus on race. That is why Black Americans hate to hear those statements.
The issue isn't being black, the problem is that people associate being black with something negative.
  • In a colorblind society, people of color (like me) cease to exist.
  • When someone says don't focus on your color or race, they are really saying, "why focus on something so negative it will only bring you down."
All parents involved in transracial adoptions will eventually have to confront that issue. For those of us with dark skin, we don't have to focus on it. All we have to do is accept it and live in it on a daily basis. Black skin is not a straight jacket that one has to free him/herself from.


graceling said...

Valarie, I really appreciate the unique insights and questions you have raised. Thank you for sharing about your past- I look forward to all that I can learn from you.

VALARIE - Single, Ethiopian-bound, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

Grace just knowing that you are reading keeps me writing. I enjoy reading your blog as well. I think we can all learn from each other. That is the amazing thing about the internet, it crosses all boundaries and removes all barriers if we are willing to open up.

Bryan and Joy said...


Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]