During A Time When Many Want To Bury Their Heads In The Sand, One Man Is Pushing For The Opposite!
These days there’s so much that we need to talk about. But, often, we don’t. The reason is because it’s uncomfortable; it’s awkward. So best to zip our lips, bury our heads in the sand, and simply hope someone else will come along to solve these problems, right?
What’s needed right now is the exact opposite approach. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense; it’s better to tackle potential problems early on before they become big enough to hurt you later on down the road. At least, that’s the mindset of former NFL star Emmanuel Acho. Acho’s response to the world’s outpouring of righteous anger and sorrow over the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed was to start a youtube series called, Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man. It’s an idea that’s sure to have him in the hot seat on more than one occasion but, fortunately, with a career in the NFL under his belt, Acho is no stranger to keeping calm during unexpected hits.
When discussing his reasoning for starting this series, Acho says, “In order to stand with us, and people that look like me, you have to be educated on issues that pertain to me, and fully educated so that you can feel the full level of PAIN, so that you can have full understanding. I fervently believe that if the White person is your problem only the White person can be your solution. And so this is made for you, my White brothers and sisters, to increase your level of understanding, so that you can increase your level of compassion and lead ultimately to change.”
So far Acho has released six episodes and shows no signs of stopping. He’s filmed with all sorts of people but episode 6 sees him having a conversation with Aaron & Jamie Ivey (and their kids) to have an uncomfortable conversation about the struggles, differences, and lessons learned from raising black, white, and mixed-race children as white parents.
I’m sure different people have different reactions when it comes to white people adopting children of other ethnicities but, personally, I always cringe when I see it. The reason is, it’s often easy for white parents who adopt children of other ethnicities to develop a white saviour complex. It’s even easier for those white parents to unintentionally raise their children in ways that rob them of their ethnic culture and heritage leading to a lot of identity confusion, exclusion, and isolation in future.
But I’d like to challenge you to spend 15 minutes to hear this family’s story, listen to their kids talk about what it’s like to be adopted by white parents, what scares them, and what Jamie and Aaron feel they have learned and are continuing to learn from this whole process. And, of course, the whole conversation takes place through and with Emmanuel Acho who seems to have an uncanny understanding of when to push further and when to let people share their truth in their own time. After you’ve watched the video, please think about what it looks like for you to tackle some of the racial and justice issues swirling around your own social circle!