The Black Girl in Maine Podcast has arrived

The podcast has dropped! In it you will hear MamaC speak from the heart as you would expect.

I first met Shay Stewart-Bouley aka Black Girl in Maine through her writing, and presentations on antiracism and decentering whiteness. We have been on panels and symposiums together and share our stories of raising Black children in Maine, the whitest state in the country.

Shay and I get raw and real on transracial open adoption, impacts of daily racism and microagressions on the boys, unpacking whiteness, and why I left my 9-5 as a newly divorced single parent. The episode explores if and why I’m qualified to do my work as an equity and inclusion facilitator in schools, and as a 20th centurty family formation coach working with individual clients.

This podcast marks the true arrival of me knowing what I do best, and how I choose to share my unique and valuable experience with the world.

Please consider making a contribution to support more podcasts from Black Girl in Maine Media if you like what you hear. It was indeed an honor to be invited to participate on this nationally and internationally recognized platform. I look forward to hearing your impressions after you give a listen.

Keep questioning how your beliefs are serving you, and hold your littles and your loved-ones close.

Talk About It

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We will keep you safe.

On Sunday, my first attempt to talk to Sam about what was going on in Charlottesville and around the country did not go well. We were walking to the Y, and after he heard me say; “KKK” he said; “Enough. I’ve heard enough.”

He is absolutely right. He is twelve. He does not need to hear his white mother talking about how the KKK and Nazi party is marching, beating, and killing people south of us. I felt horrible. But I also knew I had to frame this for him, and Marcel before the world did. So I took space, read a few articles, talked to Shrek, and asked God for help. Then I started from this premise: What do they he need to hear?

So, when we sat down I started off this way; “Our country, our state, our city, our neighborhood is populated by people who believe in every cell of their bodies that all people are created equal. They believe that all people need to be and feel safe, and are determined more than ever to making certain that such a place will be the country, and the world they leave to their children. Your parents, your friends’ parents, your extended family, your teachers and so many of the people we interact with all the time are deeply committed to keeping the world safe for you and all those under attack. We will not allow hatred and ignorance to intimidate or attempt to harm or take away the rights of people who do not look like them.”

From here we talked very briefly about how a small group of people who live with hatred and fear in their hearts for reasons we can only imagine gathered in Virginia seeking audience for their beliefs. We talked about how five times as many people showed up to show them that their beliefs are backwards, unwanted, and not welcomed.

The boys asked questions about why these racist ogres were allowed to be so hateful, and why the police could not stop them from yelling violence inciting slogans and words. We wondered out loud how they learned such hatred.

We talked about going to the rally that evening in town, and they were both afraid of going, which was completely understandable. I could not promise them they would be safe there. I didn’t try to. That night both boys woke me up with more questions and need for reassurance.

While this conversation was going on Marcel was surrounding a group of Playmobil characters with his police characters. He has begun playing with them again, and the only characters he has been drawn to this time around are the police force. They are constantly catching bad guys who are breaking out of jails. So yesterday I found this for him at the Reny’s in town. He was the only officer on the shelf.

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If you are looking for resources to help you feel as if you are riding one of those in your conversation, here is a great starting place. I would also encourage all of my readers to craft a letter to your child’s teacher, with that link, or this one (The first thing teachers should do when school starts is talk about the hatred in America-Here’s how) and why you believe this is necessary. Make sure to copy the principal, and members of the school board. Then follow up the email with deep gratitude for the hard work they do. I would also bring in a coffee gift card, flowers, and a huge box of pencils.. But that is just me.

Birth-family Reunion Travel Fund

We have just completed our cross country trip, and still hopeful to raise the expense of the airfare through crowd sourcing. We are only $200.00 away from that attainable $2100.00 reach! Will you please consider a $10.00 contribution? Each donation adds up and truly helps. Thank you!!!!

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Mama C and the Boys Patronage

Love what you read here? Are you a first time reader, or a long time fan? Do you look forward to opening the email announcing a new post? Has your own understanding of Open Adoption, transracial parenting, or known donor family connection shifted in a helpful way? If so will you please consider showing your support with a ten dollar fandom contribution? This allows me to be "paid" here, instead of needing to farm the stories out elsewhere. This will also help me keep Mama C add free and content full all year round! Bisous!

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Promise is theirs. Let’s try and promise that.

My kids are not white.

I am.  So, I will never know what it feels like to be them. I will never be Trayvon Martin.  But, my sons are.  They are going to be young Black men full of promise, walking down the street.

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My kids are not white, but I am, and I benefit from this in a gazillion ways that I could not begin to list, or comprehend.

When I was pulled over for speeding when I was 16, I told the cop, and later the judge that I was racing to get to school to take an exam. This was the truth, and the white judge tossed out the ticket the white cop had written. (It was only for going five miles over the speed limit if you must know.) I was screeching with joy when I left the courtroom. My mom told me to lower my voice, I had got off lucky and I should be more contained about it.

Today, if I imagine Sammy being pulled over at 9:00 in the morning in my car racing to school five minutes late how might the outcome be different? *

I have to work actively all the time to not be the oppressor, not the oppressed. When I keep my mouth closed when someone makes a racially tinged  joke, I am that oppressor. When I stay quite in a room full of white when I am aching to talk about who is not there, I am colluding. When I shy away from my own voice and power to make change, I am resigning.

When I stand up and read a poem about what it feels like to hold your son in your lap while he sleeps, and ache for the mamas who no longer can, I am joining.

When I read every uncomfortable line I can about the pandemic of racism worldwide I am opening.

My education, my rearing, my curiosity, my world travel, and the many wise women and men I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from in the first forty-five years of my journey have allowed me to say this-I am resisting.

Resisting the allure of racial and class privilege some of the time.

I was given the opportunity to parent my sons by a force of incomprehensible generosity. My sons have given me a mandate that I must continue to evolve as a person, as a mother, an educator. A mandate to try to be a slightly less racist person at the end of the each day then when I woke up. So I  work at it. I also get lazy and I forget. I have the option to forget.  Therein lies the difference.

My sons are  full of promise, just like so many sons and daughters are and were. My job more than ever is to make whatever part of the world I can- a little more able to see as much of their promise as I do. Period.

Join me?

Push your edges, get uncomfortable, unpack your story of white privilege, and help everyone make some room for them to be all they were meant to be-without fear or trepidation- too.

Not sure how to get started? Here are a few links that have been helpful to me:  What I want you to know about being a young black man in America and also from Rage Against the Mini Van this post on 7 action steps towards becoming an anti racist ally. I also found this tumblr very encouraging as people begin to unpack their own acknowledgement of their privilege.  It has taken me two days to put this post together. It will take me the next twenty to live up to it.

*Although I do not have the actual statistics in front of me I read a report last year on the increased number of incidences where young men of color end up in detention, or worse, for the exact same type of non aggressive police involved encounters as their white counterparts in Maine and nationally.