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It's hard to find the right words to say. But honestly, it's harder to keep quiet. Especially as a White woman in America. I've always thought that I was aware of my white privilege, but in the last week, I have realized just how blind I was to my own privilege and how out of touch I have been with what has happened and continues to happen to the Black community.
Some have said that using your business platform to discuss racial injustice is not appropriate. They suggest that you should be separating your business from your personal beliefs. However, in my mind, my business is built on my personal beliefs, which makes it a very useful place to spotlight the racism in America.
I've wrestled with writing this post because I think that so many others have said it more eloquently. I write about food. I'm not an expert on anti-racism. But I feel compelled to at least write down the thoughts I'm having right now because I'm sure that others are having them too.
I shared a little bit about our own story in this post on Instagram. We have a daughter who is Black. And my husband and I are both White. Obviously, when we adopted her, we were not blind to the fact that race would be an issue that would come up in our lives. In fact, from the time she was born people have actually approached my husband on the street and told him that she is not his daughter.
Our adoption classes did prepare us a little bit for the fact that some people were going to have an issue with us raising a Black child as White parents. But what those classes did NOT prepare us for was a white supremacy website using our photo from a local news report on their blog alongside an extremely racist headline. It did not prepare us for other white supremacists to comment on that post with unthinkable racial slurs about our newborn baby. I can't begin to tell you how much of a shock that was. We were brand new parents and she was a brand new baby - just days old and already a whole group of people hated her because she had brown skin. I realize now how telling that reaction was - I'd been living in a bubble my whole life.
We visited our daughter's birth mother last year and we were walking down a busy street together, she and her family were walking behind my husband and me while we pushed the stroller with our daughter. Once we got through the hustle and bustle, we regrouped to talk about where we were going to eat. Our daughter's birth mother immediately commented on how she couldn't believe how many people had just stared at us as we walked down the street. And she was surprised how we just kept walking like nothing was happening. I said that I think most people just see how cute our daughter is and that's why they look. But to be honest, I realize that they see a beautiful Black girl and two White parents and there's probably a whole lot of different thoughts going through their heads. I'm sure that some are kind thoughts and I'm also aware that likely some are not.
Also, I can't begin to express how much appreciation we have for our daughter's birth family. They have really welcomed us with open arms. We tell everyone that asks about our adoption, that we didn't just adopt our daughter, we basically gained another family. They have been incredibly helpful in guiding our decisions and helping us navigate this uncharted territory and are always willing to give advice. The relationship we have with them is invaluable to us.
Sadly, I am quite certain that things like that white supremacist blog post and stares from onlookers will continue to happen throughout our lives. This is why we are taking the steps to educate ourselves and teach our daughter about what's happening in the world, even though she's young. And we are also showing her ways that we are going to work to improve the current state of our country and the world.
I really do believe that racism is learned. And it's not enough to teach our children not to be racist. We need to teach them to be anti-racist. And for us, I think the biggest struggle will be teaching our daughter how to navigate in a world that devalues her immediately just based on her beautiful brown skin. My hope is that the work we are all putting in now will change this racially charged climate into one that appreciates the diversity that this world offers. Not so that her life isn't hard, I realize that everyone has their struggles, but so that she can have the same opportunity for greatness as anyone else.
I also realize that taking this week off of posting content on Instagram and Facebook isn't going to solve this problem. But it can help to amplify Black voices and help us all learn how we can be improving and educating ourselves. This is something that we will need to work on for the rest of our lives. It's not going to change overnight. But every little bit is a step in the right direction. And I am no expert on this. I am learning something new every day. I am trying to do better and to be better. For my daughter and for the Black community. Which is why I want to share with you some of the things that our family is doing right now and will continue to do in the future.
A few things we're doing right now:
- Reading Me and White Supremacy
- Marching in the protest our city held this past weekend
- Talking with our daughter openly about racism and the injustices that are taking place right now
- We have donated $1000 of Midwest Foodie's income from last month to a few different organizations including:
*Some may wonder why I chose to disclose the amount that we are donating. It's the same reason that I write income reports. I believe in being transparent. This is a personal choice and one that some may not agree with or choose to do themselves and I respect that.
A few things we'll be doing in the future:
- We will be donating a portion of the income we make from Midwest Foodie each month towards a different organization, focusing on those that are run by people of color or directly benefit the Black community.
- We will continue to read books that educate us on anti-racism and expand our views. Next up on our list are the following:
- We will continue to have tough conversations with our friends and family. It's uncomfortable but we believe it's important to share resources and be vocal about what you're doing to be actively anti-racist.
- We will keep the lines of communication open regarding race and anti-racism with our daughter in hopes that she will always feel that she has a safe space to ask questions and discuss concerns.
- We will continue to actively amplify Black voices. Including diversifying our white-washed Instagram and Facebook feeds and sharing helpful resources and artwork by Black authors.
Like I mentioned above, racial injustice isn't going to change in a week. But if we are willing to learn, open to being wrong, and committed to doing better, then we can move towards growth. And we can make sure that our children grow up in a world that is more inclusive than the one that we are living in.
If you feel compelled to do so, I'd love to hear what steps you're taking, books your reading, Black voices that are you amplifying, and organizations that you've donated to or suggest that we donate to in the future. Feel free to leave it in the comments below.
Also - please don't hesitate to call me out if I've said something wrong. I am still learning and I am nowhere near perfect.