Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Are people really that ignorant?

I was in a course last week and my instructor was telling a story about his family - I can't even remember the whole story or the point he was trying to make, because I became so overwhelmed with rage and shock at the beginning of the story that the rest became a blur.

His story started something like "I have all brothers. Well I have a sister too, but she is so much younger then me that she is more like a distant or adopted relative..."

WHAT??? I had to look at my friend beside me to see if she heard the same thing and by the look on her face, she had. Did he really say that?? Are people really that ignorant? After it happened, I looked around the room and no one even flinched, which made me second guess my judgement - was it only me that found this unacceptable? Was I the only crazy adoptive parent that found it offensive? Was I overreacting, considering I really have not been in a good place with our adoption lately - maybe I was being too hypersensitive?

I debated saying something after class, I should have reacted - but I was stunned. I wondered whether he would have even remembered saying it. I am sure that he really did not mean to offend and said it without thinking, but it is still not right. I even tried rationalizing what he said to make it OK, but I could not come up with one logical example.

I try so hard to send a positive message about adoption whenever I can, then in moments like this I realize how much work still needs to be done.

9 comments:

Janice said...

I would go back and say something. He may not have meant to offend anyone but he did.

Anonymous said...

My jaw dropped just reading that! What was wrong with him saying "I have (so many) brothers and a sister". Why state the difference at all? Knowing what you do for a living I am curious to know what this course was supposed to be about? I think someone needs to inform him that he was offensive especially if facilitating/speaking to groups of people is something he intends to do again.
(Joan)

Connie said...

I was shocked as I read this. He was making false implications about adopted people, which is very offensive... but only to some it seems. Those not touched by adoption don't know that statements like this hurt. I too have had many experiences like this. The statement can cut like a knife, but do we speak up? It's very hard to, because the person who made the statement is completely oblivious to what he said, and speaking up can turn the conversation very awkward. And I too second guess myself when no else notices and wonder if I'm being over sensitive. But it is our chance to educate people, as hard as it is.

Ashleigh, Ben, Noah and Tait said...

So much does need to be done. I've been reminded of that while reading about continued world food shortages and seeing pictures through National Geographic (a post for another day) but you are right...and I don't think you're hypersensitive. Just aware. Perfectly aware. And it's our job to help educate...even the teachers.

lyndsey&kevin said...

I say something EVERYTIME because that is the ONLY way to make change and get it out of my head!!

If not I stew over it and over it and over it...

yes lets STILL get together when you are in town!!!! that is living... that's the plan!

Lynds

Greg & Leanne said...

I understand how you just didn't know what to do... I've faced it recently and I was too shocked to speak... not an adoption comment per say, but a racial comment from a young child... I can tell you now that I'm ready for the next comment, I didn't speak the first time because I was hurt and angry, but now I'm ready to teach and I've come to terms with how insensitive and uneducated the gen public is... I think everyone needs a trip to the 3rd world and I think everyone needs to love humanity as if we were all close brothers...

The Warren Family said...

That kind of stuff catches you off guard and it is hard to respond to it in the moment...people don't understand how ignorant they are being and that is the sad part.

It is one thing for us to hear it, but the thought of our kids being exposed to those kinds of comments really makes my blood boil.

Shawn and Laura said...

I agree, that is a terrible comment.
I honestly believe that most people don't think before they open their mouths!
Inexcusable!!

Curvy Runner said...

Hi, i just found your blog and had to sympathize-tough situation. I am convinced that most people are good hearted, but too often ignorant of the world outside of their own little piece of it. I find it hard to speak up too but I am determined to do so for my child's sake. Somtimes I have to go back when I have calmed down though-I don't want to make things worse by speaking in anger. Good luck with this...I think its one of the hardest things I've had to realize since we started our adoption is that a lot of people just don't think the way we would want them too.