Wise words by Dr. Chaitra Wirta- Leiker.
(Oct)This week’s “This Is Us” episode nailed the experience of a transracial adoptee’s race being denied by a white adoptive parent as a crucial part of their identity.
Let’s be honest – we may all love Jack Pearson, but he’s had his share of cringe-worthy moments as a WAP on this show – this week’s golf course scene with his son, Randall, was definitely one of the worst.
Because nothing – NOTHING – is the same as being treated differently because of your skin color. There are many forms of discrimination and many marginalized populations, and the oppression of each group is valid – but each form of oppression is also unique. Comparing any other form of oppression to racism is inaccurate.
Now…while 12-year-old Randall did a beautiful job of expressing this concept to his clueless father on the show, I need WAPs to understand that not every child is able to do this. Not every child has a professional screenwriter helping them articulate their emotions and needs. Not every child has the language to explain how they move through the world differently as a person of color than a white person. It doesn’t mean your child doesn’t experience or feel it – it means they don’t know how to say it. To be clear, many adopted individuals have difficulty explaining this concept even into adulthood.
Randall said it for you to hear, and adult adoptees of color have been saying this for years for you to hear. Do not invalidate these messages simply because the words haven’t yet come from your child’s mouth. Listen, learn, validate, and provide daily racial mirrors – your adopted children of color are craving these things on a level deeper than language can even comprehend.