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  • samuel Johnston

    One reason that having a conversation about race is so difficult is that folks tend to start getting upset before other folks get out a complete sentence. Assumptions abound and group pressure is the prevalent force. When I travel, I often refuse to identify that I am from the deep South (though I suspect most can tell), in order to not get the assumptions going. Group guilt is just as unfair as group exclusion. To “Judge by the content of one’s character” seems as far away now as when it was uttered.
    Class is a greater divider than race, but it is not permanent. Middle class folk seem to get on pretty well, or as well as any group. I live in an integrated neighborhood that reflects the general middle class distribution of race in my area. I am convinced placing the emphasis on race is counterproductive. The root problems are ignorance, poverty, and poor health. Attack these problems in a race neutral way, and racism will decline dramatically, as will all manner of problems related to exclusion. I have lots of illustrative stories, but I will save them for later.

  • Jack

    This is an utterly incoherent article whose facts about the welcome rise in interracial adoption contradict its premise that racism is increasing, rather than receding, across society.

    The people being interviewed seem obsessed about race and about parading their moral superiority at adopting black kids, as opposed to taking a truly color-blind position by saying that the race of their children is irrelevant, because people should be judged on meaningful criteria, not on race.

    Until white liberals and evangelical wannabes decide they want a truly color-blind society, we’re never going to get there.

  • Jack

    I agree, Samuel — completely.

  • Jackie Kerstetter

    It’s silly to say anyone is color blind. It’s only human to notice similarities and differences in people. …and some people react to differences in a negative manner. May I ask, do you have any black children? On what do you base your perception that these parents are all lying about how their children are treated? Are you going to tell me that when a 5-year old child asked me (regarding my black adopted child) if I was going to be sad when he goes to jail, “cause they all go to jail” that he didn’t learn that prejudiced perception from an adult? Are you going to claim that my gentle-natured 18 month old black baby boy deserved to be kicked out of our church’s daycare for “choking a baby…and we have pictures of the red rings on the baby’s neck to prove it”? …an 18-month old child? …accused of something so contrary to his nature? Do you know that statistics show that black children are kicked out of daycare/preschool at a much higher rate than white children? I believe that many of us white folk pretend” to be color blind. It certainly makes it easier to have a stance that prejudice and racism don’t occur. But now, adoptive white parents of black children are learning what black parents have known for decades (and longer).

  • Julieann

    Way to go, Jackie. I hope that people like you who are willing to adopt keep helping all of us to rejoice in the beautiful diversity that God made. I hope people like you continue to stick up and speak out for your own children–and that helps all of us. Bravo to you!

  • Ken


    You are upset that the people who were interviewed in an article about race relations are talking about their experience as white parents raising black children; that makes them obsessed with race? You say that “people should be judged on meaningful criteria, not on race.” Yes. The article is pointing out that white evangelicals’ eyes are being opened to the fact that people still ARE being judged by their race, because they’ve noticed how their non-white adopted kids are being treated differently. Perhaps the next question should be, how can white evangelicals who have not adopted inter-racially–I’m guessing this is you, Jack–have their eyes opened. I think it starts with having relationships with others of different races. Listening to them. Having them over for a meal. Understanding what life really is like for them. Probably a lot more fruitful than just commenting on how the best way forward is to be color-blind and not to talk about race too much. (Hint: being color-blind is NOT the answer).

  • ben in oakland

    “The people being interviewed seem obsessed about race and about parading their moral superiority at adopting black kids, as opposed to taking a truly color-blind position by saying that the race of their children is irrelevant, because people should be judged on meaningful criteria, not on race.”

    As a gay man, Jack, I find Christians of a certain type are obsessed about sexual orientation, and obsessed about parading their moral superiority to gay people, especially to gay people with children– often the cast off unwanted products of irresponsible heterosexual reproduction, often children of a different race, often children that no one else could be bothered to adopt.

    you’re right. People SHOULD be judged on meaningful criteria, not on race, not on religion, not on gender, not on sexual orientation, not on alleged sinfulness. Christian theology tells us all are sinful. Facts tells us that gay people make good parents.

    Facts are what you might call meaningful criteria,. Stories made up by people obsessed with homosexuality, religious dominionism, the need to accrue power and money at the expense of innocent others, or their own personal issues and projections are not.

  • Susan Owens

    Samuel, claiming that racism will decline dramatically with a decline in poverty is absolutely inaccurate. Ask any black professional to describe the many major and minor instances of racism he/she experiences on a daily basis. And your assertion that a reduction in ignorance will reduce racism has validity only if you’re referring to a reduction in white people’s ignorance about racism in America. Racism exists in all segments of American society, and at all economic levels. And… Jack, you’re not colorblind, unless you’re actually blind. What makes you judge these adoptive parents as obsessed with race and “parading their moral superiority?” They may have been naive when they adopted. Now they’re confronted with the negative toll that racism is taking on their children. Of course they’re concerned and maybe even a little obsessed.

    Samuel and Jack, perhaps you could benefit from examining your own racist views.

  • Agreed, the article is utterly incoherent. I wouldn’t blame the subjects (some of whom seem to be over-thinking their problems). It’s the author who is in a hopeless state of confusion about whatever it is she seeks to depict or demonstrate. You have to hand it to Religion News Service. They’re adept at showcasing the slush pile.

  • “As the Hatmakers’ son Ben, 11, creeps closer to the ages of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown — unarmed black teenagers ”

    Miss Pulliam/Bailey, Trayvon Martin had two arms, which he used to punch the local neighborhood watch captain, break his nose, wrestle him to the ground, and beat his head on the concrete. Unluckily for Trayvon Martin, the man was armed. As for Michael Brown, he was 6’4″ tall and weighed 300#. The distinction between ‘armed’ and ‘unarmed’ was, in his case, factitious.

  • Catherine

    I wonder why it is that some people seem to think that any view that diverges from their own is racist. I decided long ago my intellect,my desire for honest and open dialogue, was not welcome in this particular arena. Any group that name calls as a way to shut down diverse opinion totally loses my respect.

  • Jack

    Ken, being color-blind absolutely is the answer. That was the goal of the original civil rights movement. Judging people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, was the clearly articulated goal and dream of every civil rights leader all the way through the 1960s. Those were Dr. King’s words, and he meant every word he spoke.

    The heart of racism is to make race-based judgments and to assume others are doing likewise.

  • Jack

    Ken, just to add to my comment, I grew up well after the civil rights movement in a well-integrated community in New York, not in some exclusive white-bread hamlet, so I’ve had friends and acquaintances of all races since I was a child and have thought nothing of it. We were all too busy playing ball to be obsessing about each other’s race or ethnicity. Whites who are obsessed with racism are generally those who are themselves afraid that they are racists because they grew up in lily-white enclaves where everyone talked a good liberal line but somehow none of the homes in such areas were ever sold to black people.

  • Jack

    Art Deco, I agree it’s mostly the author who creates the confusion, and that some of the subjects are “over-thinking.” That’s a nice way of saying they’re more than a little neurotic and the risk is that they will pass this fear along to their adopted kids.

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  • Alasdair

    Amen! These people are obsessed by race.

  • Steven F Laughlin

    Thank you Susan.

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  • henry tanner

    my wife and myself have adopted a little girl who is black and we are both white we see this more and more from people who just don’t understand. we don’t see that she is a different color than us. she didn’t asked to be put in this situation. we love her the same. we get the look, we get the comments but it dose not bother us. she is our dauther just the same. i just hope by the time she gets older she doesn’t have to deal with this bs. We pass this crap down to our kids and they pass it down. when will it stop. i am glad to say both me and my wife have meet some families just like ourselves and they face the same issues. so having that support helps. we even saw this when we where foster parents for three years. we had three placements and they were all black females, we never once said no to any of them we treated them like they were our own. when are we as a country going to get past this problem. ok i am done with my soap box.

  • Interesting…I’ve been thinking about my own experiences in this…http://speakingofeducation.blogspot.com/2014/12/some-thoughts-on-race-educationmine.html

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  • I found this article not only interesting but confusing as well. I am a Hispanic Southern Baptist, married to an Irish guy with 3 biological children. We also have a Chinese and an African daughter. Basically, we are target for any and every racial prejudice out there. We did not set out to adopt different races, it just turned out that way.That being said, we are not color blind. We celebrate our diferrences. When one of them bemoans their particular diferrence, we hammer it out . We don’t glaze over it. We don’t ignore it. A heart struggle is a struggle regardless of race, age disability ( one of our daughters has cerebral palsy), or faith. I’m not interested in making their lives a fairy tale. I’m interested in making strong and honorable individuals who can overcome what society will throw at them. And society will always have something to throw. AT everyone. That being said, our church is very diverse. Because our goal is living out the faith. Period.