Thank You, Ruby Bridges
by James G.
Dear Ms. Bridges,
Racism is defined as “the belief in the superiority of one race over another and antagonism based on this belief.” However, racism is more complicated, divisive, and pervasive than this simple definition provides. It is like a dark shadow that travels among humans, robbing them of their self worth and identity every chance it gets. It sees the weakness and shallowness in people and sets forth to justify its existence. It is always standing in the shadows, waiting, waiting, waiting. There is no location that it cannot travel. It is a mist of darkness, ready to spread itself into any situation, event, or occurrence. There is one type of racism that I have experienced recently. It is not one that is not readily discussed but it has negatively affected me.
My parents are adopting a Chinese baby. I have seen her picture and she is beautiful. She has serious eyes and a heart shaped face. She is my sister. I do not mean the phrase “adopted sister.” The triviality of this expression is apparent. She is my sister.
Not everyone was thrilled with the idea that a Caucasian family was adopting a Chinese girl. One neighbor responded with the news of a family addition with “take a lot of family pictures now because they will never look the same.” One person that I knew asked me “do you think that you will ever think of her as your real sister?” To be fair, many people were thrilled with our family decision. However, the negative responses are cancerous; they begin to slowly rob your strength and patience. How can a 10-year-old boy tell people that their heart decides who is family not genetics? How can the external appearance of an Asian little girl blind others to what is felt and believed?
My only response to what others see is to be the best brother possible. I will always protect her and be sensitive to what she experiences. William Shakespeare said, “it is a wise father that knows his own child.” I believe that it is a wise brother who knows his own sister. My future will always have someone with whom I can share my life. Racism prevents people from seeing the gifts that are offered in expanding one’s life with others. It fools people into believing that one belongs with others who look like them, think like them, and act like them. It rejoices when it finds people alone and without friendship or family.
I realize that some people may always negate the brother-sister bond that I have with her. I am not blind to a future that will always have racism lurking behind corners. However, my future will also be shared with a sister. She may not look like me, but she will be with me. That is a deadly strike to racism.
James G., 5th grade, Maryland