Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day: Have We Patted Ourselves on the Back Preemptively

*I loved this picture on a friend's facebook.

I love good quotes... If you have ever gotten a card from me, they normally have a quote of some sort embedded within.  Martin Luther King Jr. is the initiator of some of American history's best quotes.  Below are some of my very favorites:

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

All of these are so moving.  They make you stop.  They make you think. But today as I have strolled through Facebook reading quotes, I kept coming back to this one: "I have a dream.....that one day little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers."  It really struck me...or rather punched me in the stomach.  I looked at the pictures of many of friends with their adopted black children holding hands with their white children....I looked at my own black son sitting in my living room, cuddling next to me on the couch watching King on the history channel. 

And I realize that many of us in the adoption world, myself included, may rest on the laurels of "I have adopted a black kid" and stop there.  We interact with other families who have adopted kids (as we should) but leave it there.  Our churches are similar in color to us, as are our neighbors and schools and workplaces and our friends.  Are we subconsciously looking over our shoulders at black people we don't know compared to white people on a city street?  Do we openly pour ourselves into neighborhoods that don't look like us? Do we more easily judge a person based on their culture and color rather than "the content of their character"?  I would like to think that I don't, but I know I am not always perfect.  As a family, we are trying to improve this in the facets of our world... but I am still struck by our own self satisfaction on days like today when it really should be a day to say "We are trying, but we can do better."

Disclaimer: Please do not take this as "dis" on all of the facebook pictures out there. They are what prompted a heart change in me.  I love some cute adoptive family pictures...which are no longer "adoptive" pics but rather family pictures.  Also... I, as well as my family, are not above reproach and thus, I am as guilty and need of reminding as the next person.

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