Jenni White did Nothing Wrong Pointing Out Black Racism
Jenni White did nothing wrong, let me explain.
Jenni White columnist & Opinion writer at the Federalist, wrote an opinion (The Worst Racism My Children Have Experienced Came From Black Peers) documenting her experience raising her adopted African children and the things her family faced from blacks in their community.
Racism to me is something that is taught, and these ideas are something man has dealt with in one form or another since we began to notice differences in each another. Whether skin color, class, or country of origin, hatred of the other is an old base instinct.
She starts off touching on the McKenzie Adams story. McKenzie is a young girl who killed herself after black students bullied her for having a friend who was white. She said speaking on this:
"In December, McKenzie Adams, a fourth grader from U.S. Jones Elementary School in Demopolis, Alabama, despondent after relentless taunting by other black children for her relationship with a white child, hanged herself in her family’s home. Although suicides resulting from school bullying have sadly risen steadily over the years, McKenzie’s death spoke to me on a very personal level."
Where does a child even get the idea of hanging themselves? Suicide isn’t something that a child comes to on their own. McKenzie's story highlights as an extreme case of what goes on in the black community. Children on their own don’t register these type of concepts as it pertains to race. In my opinion, even with our inherent biases, Individuals aren't predisposed to intolerance to this degree.
Jenni talks about visiting family in the northeast and hearing about the plight of the girls they would later adopt.
"In the summer of 2005, while visiting my grandparents in the northeast, my husband and I met up with my cousin, an international teacher, and his new wife, whom he’d met while teaching in Zambia, Africa. In recounting her history, Justina told us of the very recent death of her sister and how her 21-year-old nephew was struggling to feed and care for five siblings as young as 2.
After much soul-searching and discussion, my husband and I approached Brian and offered to adopt his two youngest sisters, who were 2 and 6 at the time. He gratefully agreed, and in May of 2007, after a two-year adoption process that would have stymied any but the most ardent adoptive parents, I flew to Zambia, Africa to bring home our daughters, Barbara and Betty (yes, Betty White).
We knew that adopting two little girls (4 and 9) from the other side of the world into a family of two boys (4 and 2) wouldn’t be easy in terms of bonding and re-assimilating the family birth order structure, but it was the stuff like what little McKenzie Adams experienced that we didn’t see coming, and it quickly blindsided me."
As followers of Christ Jesus, we're sometimes called to do extraordinary things. For the White family, fighting to adopt these two girls was one of them. Make no mistake, this was a heroic thing this family did. The privilege of being adopted to a loving family from a western country was a miracle for these two girls. If your Jenni White, this is also the most non-racist thing you can do.
She then goes on to talk about her interaction with one of the associate pastors of her church:
"One day late that first summer, while out shopping, we ran into one of our associate pastors. Our church had provided simply amazing support during our adoption struggles, and it was a joy to have the opportunity to visit with any fellow parishioner and clergy about the adoption, the girls, and our new forever family, so I gratefully stopped to visit with her.
As we chatted before we left the store, the pastor, a black woman, suddenly lowered her voice, became somber, and inquired as to how I was “immersing the girls in their culture.” I truly wasn’t sure what she meant, so I asked.
She then began to sermonize about how important it was for me to get the girls subscriptions to “black” magazines and to make sure and watch “black” movies and TV shows so they could see and relate to people of their color. She veritably assured me that, as a white woman, I couldn’t be expected to understand the “black experience” in America. I needed to be sure and make appropriate and relevant material accessible so they could better assimilate with black culture.
As a staunch believer in the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., this pastor’s admonitions didn’t sit well with me. In fact, I knew for certain her guidance for rearing my children was at best perpendicular to his vision. MLK advocated against bitterness and hatred in the black community because his ultimate goal was that “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
I will never forget the heat rising in my face. I must have stared at her as though she’d grown two heads right in front of me. It actually angered me that, instead of focusing on the girls’ adaption to a completely new country and their new lives as Americans, this woman chose to hone in on racial politics, especially as a pastor.
When I finally composed myself, I offered my thanks, but explained that our family didn’t really “see” color, so we had no intention of raising any of the kids in our family to be anything other than “Americans,” hence we probably wouldn’t be comfortable taking that kind of suggestion.
Discontent with my answer and intent upon pressing her point, she continued. She believed my thought process unfortunate because my “whiteness” couldn’t process the fact that the girls’ fate would always balance at the pinnacle of someone else’s prejudicial small-mindedness. It was up to me to make them vigilant of the discrimination that would surely come their way.
Unable to continue the conversation any longer, I told her we needed to get going, said our goodbyes, and exited the store, and fumed all the way home."
What is black identity? The answer to this is something I’ve been earnestly trying to figure out from an early age. I hear a lot about what black Americans identity should be or could be, but I don’t see much effort to bring that to fruition. I can tell you no matter what black American culture may be, it surely isn’t Zambian culture. From what I’ve seen, black American culture is a belief that you and your people are perpetual victims.
To finish off this story she talks about another incident one of her daughters faced.
"The other night she came home from practice and told us that one of the black boys on the team, who constantly makes racial comments, had called another black boy the “n-word.” Characteristically, Betty told him not to use that word because it was disgusting. He then said something like, “What do you mean? You’re an ‘n-word’ too.”
She told him she was in no way an “n-word,” yet he was apparently intent on convincing her she was. His next retort was something like, “Hey, we’re both from Africa.” She said she looked him straight in the face and said—I’m sure with her hilariously sharp attitude and a little head bob for good measure—“I’m from Africa. You’re from Oklahoma, and I’m no ‘n-word.’”
She went on to tell us that this kid has also mocked her about hanging around white kids, including her white boyfriend, who is also on the team, and acting and speaking like she is “white.” Again, if Betty hadn’t had a strong personality, what could this kind of ridiculing behavior, from someone who “looks like her,” done to her emotionally? We know what it did to McKenzie."
The culture of black America is perpetual victimhood, and the centerpiece of that is the understanding that you are a nigga. You are to see yourself as a nigga because that's the way society views you anyway. The fact that Betty refuses to identify with this part of black American culture is highly problematic to the dominate mind-state of the black American.
There are beautiful parts of what I would consider the real black American culture. The positive contributions to the American culture as a whole are numerous and significant.
My wife talked about being harassed by her peers for not being black enough. I can tell that hurt her genuinely. It’s incredible that just being yourself is worthy of being called out and separated from the people that look just like you.
Being rejected by the black community was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face. Because of that, I still struggle with the rejection to this day. If not for God continuing to heal me, I don’t know where I would be. In the long run, choosing this path is worth it. I get to enrich myself and those around with true black American culture.
I pray that God continues to bless this family. I know this experience will not be in vain.