A Healthy Racial Identity For My Children
by Tiffany Bluhm
Sometimes when I watch the news or even scroll through my Twitter or Facebook feed I want to run for the hills and hide my kids away from the lashes of injustice that plague our people. I don’t want my son who is sweeter than pie to experience discrimination because of the color of his skin. I don’t want either of my children to taste even an ounce of racism but you know what, odds are they will. Chances are, like me, they will swallow the hate of another for the color of their skin before their fifth or sixth birthday, and it will attempt to crack at the framework of their identity.
I recently stumbled across a guest blog post on Rage Against the Minivan by Chad Goller Sojourner shedding perspective on the Rachel Dolezal story and sharing his own view on how as an African-American man who was adopted by a white family he lost privilege as he got older. He says, “As a transracial adoptee I, too, benefited from this system and was therefore afforded certain privileges and protections not afforded to black children raised in black homes. However, unlike Rachel, my privileges and protections had a limited shelf life. This is why it is critical that the transracially adopted child be prepared and supported as they transition from beyond the privileged and protective walls of white parentage and into a world where these same privileges and protections have most likely ill prepared them for.”
Often when I read stories of racially motivated crimes I do everything I can to keep from crumbling under the weight of reckless violence and sheer evil. I know I have a dog in the fight to eradicate racism, my husband is white, I am Indian, my oldest son is Ugandan, and my youngest son is mixed, but the truth is that just gives you proof of my belief that regardless of color love makes a family, love makes a tribe. My belief that we are equal and valuable regardless of color or heritage is unwavering. We all have a beating heart that yearns for peace, justice, and authentic community rooted out of a healthy identity. I’m convinced it’s threaded into the fibers of our very being. When I witness another lack value for a human life I know I have my work cut out for me as a mother to cultivate value, grace, and forgiveness in my children.
As much as I want to protect their wee little hearts I can’t, but I can bathe them with a vision for a healthy racial identity. I can point them to Jesus, who’s anthem is value and love, for healing and peace to generously pour atop their lives and the lives they influence. In a world where hate and discrimination is real, not something far off never to be personally understood, but in your face real, we can extend the hand of grace, truth, and love as we first live a life of grace, truth, and love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Tiffany Bluhm calls the lush green Pacific Northwest her beloved home. She is wild about all things fine food and travel with her teacher-turned-realtor husband and two sons. After 10 years of serving in social justice outreach and community development, she has chosen to spend her days cuddled up with her littles, sipping espresso, and feverishly writing for her blog, magazines, and Bible studies on issues of faith, justice, and redemption. Tiffany is fiercely passionate about encouraging women to walk in the fullness of God’s love, grace, and freedom. She regularly teaches Bible Study and travels to speak at Christian women’s events.