What it’s been like to raise a black child in a white world.

I’ve waited a really long time to write this. I felt like this is such an important topic that I wanted to wait until I had a broader reach, in hopes that I had the chance to open more eyes. I thought that if I could earn enough respect in the eyes my peers that maybe my words wouldn’t be tossed aside, as they so frequently are whenever I broach this subject. I realize now that I haven’t met anyone with that kind of influence. Most of us tune out when the dialogue no longer fits our ideals, regardless of who’s doing the talking. To change the hearts of men is a task. Consider this my contribution to opening up the dialogue to a conversation that’s been often misunderstood and at the very least, unrepresented.

Let’s get the stereo types out of the way up front, shall we? Some will dismiss my comments if I lean too far one way or another politically. I’m right in the middle – a compassionate conservative that votes independent. I believe in people’s ability to overcome insurmountable obstacles, and I believe there is no better place to do that than America. I love my country.  My heroes in life –  military, police officers, teachers and nurses. Quite frankly because they get paid the least yet do the most to contribute to our society. That’s a lot of character in my book. Enough said.

When they laid Anthony in my arms almost 24 years ago, he truly was a miracle. After so much abuse and suffering in my own young life- I held someone completely untainted by the world. There was hope in that…in him. For most of my life, love had eluded me. Yet here it was laid before me – in the shape of tiny brown fingers and tiny brown toes. Anthony was truly the first love of my life. To learn to love and nurture someone along was the hardest yet, most beautiful gift in the world. Every positive change I made in my own life was because he gave me something, or rather someone, to fight for.

Throughout our country there consists a great debate on whether to kneel or whether to stand. A lot of you have come to the party late my friends, because I’ve been doing both for almost two and a half decades.

To preface -I have always viewed the world through rose colored glasses. I’m serious, they are glued to my face. While raising Anthony, I never thought his brown skin would be an issue. I was convinced that racism was a thing of the past. I mean, we had all out grown that right? Yeah, there were some older folks that had some whacked ideas – but it was easy to put those aside. My son had all doors open to him, and it was up to him to decide which ones he would walk through.

Anthony grew up being taught the following values:

  1. You are smart, important and have great worth.
  2. You have a special place in the family. You are the oldest, the leader, the example.
  3. You can do anything you set your mind to. Dream big and work hard.
  4. You aren’t a victim – you are a victor. There may be people that do not like you because of your nose, your skin color, your personality – it can be a host of different reasons. It’s not fair, I know – but learning to navigate difficult people is part of life. Although their actions may hurt, don’t be crippled by it. You get to choose your own destiny. Don’t let anyone rob you of that. Either win them over or find a way to move around them. If you let someone stand in the way of your dreams – the blame is on you. This is YOUR LIFE and no one holds more power over it than you.
  5. You have been bestowed a beautiful gift through your heritage. You are black and white. Through that you have a lens that can transcend two different languages. In all of the great debates you can show people love and a perspective they didn’t even realize. That’s one of the most precious gifts you could ever be given.

Honestly, I felt like I was rockin’ the whole mom thing. I was giving my son a strong sense of self, right? Yet as time went on…I started to notice some things. I continued to push them aside…thinking that there’s always going to be a few people in society that don’t get it, right? But then the older he got…the more it was there. The more I could no longer “rose color glasses” the situation. I was forced to see.

Now the second I say “white privilege” white people are going to wince. Some people think it means that white people have never struggled, don’t know suffering, or didn’t earn where they are in life. That everything was handed to them on a silver platter. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no “participation trophy” for being white. White people have it hard too. I did. I fought like hell to get where I am. I think most people do, in one way or another.

However, as the mother of two black babies and six white ones…I’m here to tell you that it’s different. There are things that my white kids will never have to know. There are things you will never have to know as a white parent to white children.

And here they are:

You’ll never know what it’s like…. to have families take their kids out of daycare when they find out their children are playing with your black baby… and then have them offer the owner more money if she’d get rid of the “problem.” Anthony was one at the time.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have your son come home crying from school because he’s been told his black skin was a curse – or when he volunteers in the lunch line, some kids refuse to accept his service because they “don’t want brown people touching their milk.”

You’ll never know what it’s like to have a nurse curtly send your five-year-old back to the waiting room because “he doesn’t look like he belongs to you.” Then go on and on about how dark he is compared to your other baby – right in front of him.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have your black son be forced to empty his pockets at church in front of all the white kids because something came up missing before he even entered the room. No one else emptied their pockets. Then when you confront the teacher he says right in front of your son, “Why do you care…does he live with you or something?

You’ll never know what it’s like to have your son participate in your church’s Pioneer Trek only to be called “Nigger*” for three days and asked to do extra chores because that’s “what he would have been doing during that era.” It was super spiritual. (*I’m not calling it the “N” word either, cause it never sounds that nice coming out of someones mouth. If it offends you by reading it, then it gives you some sense of how hard it is to be called it. I hate this word!
I can’t even have my mouth form it.
)

You’ll never know what it’s like to have your son be called “Nigger” every day, several times, all throughout high school.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have someone give your son a campus tour and as they survey the grounds, his “friend” tells him, “Isn’t it amazing that fifty years ago you’d be hanging from one of these trees?”

You’ll never know what it’s like to have “team” sleep overs where your son gets called “Monkey” and “Nigger” all night long. Finally after asking nicely several times, he gets so angry he pushes the ring leader up against the wall and says, “STOP IT.” To which the kid responds, “We’re only joking man…you know that we’re your friends, right?”  Yeah, cause that’s what friendship feels like.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have your son come home on the bus with all of his “team mates” and have someone behind him make a hangman’s noose out of athletic tape, dangle it in his face in front of everyone while saying the words, “I’m gonna rope ya boy.” as everyone laughs.  I do thank the one kid that stood up for him. <3

You’ll never know what it’s like to have to make a million uncomfortable phone calls to parents because their kid called my son a “Nigger” only to have them not believe that little Johnny could ever say such a thing. When little Johnny does finally apologize, it’s “Sorry, Nigger.” And you call back only to be told you are raising your son as a “victim”.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have someone say to your kid, “I’d shoot some Niggers,” or “I can take care of the racism problem at our school with five bullets”, because there were five black students.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have coaches rave over your sons athletic ability, but not want to be burdened by his problems. To have his playing time directly related to his willingness to take being called racial slurs by most of the team. To have a coach get angry and up in your face when he’s forced to punish a white kid who’s a really good player… because your son’s respect and inclusion isn’t worth losing a game. To have your teenage son lay his head on your lap night after night, sobbing because his coach told him, “As long as I’m coach, you’ll never touch the ball,”  cause that’s the punishment for being a “whiner.”

You’ll never know what it’s like to have a person’s eyes go from friendly to hatred because I’m saying something that causes them to acknowledge their own bias.

You’ll never know what it’s like to be a woman who’s physically intimidated while standing up to an angry man – yet you choose to stand firm because your black son is watching you defend him – and you can’t afford to have him see you flinch.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have a police officer stop your son as he waits on the sidewalk for us to join him at his state wrestling tournament, only to be asked if he’s there to cause trouble and then be warned that they have their “eye on him.”

You’ll never know what it’s like to have to make 21 years worth of phone calls, schedule meetings with coaches, teachers, administrators throughout the entirety of your son’s life and school career. Meetings where no matter how awful things get for him,  it’s always chalked up to – “Boys will be boys.” or “They didn’t mean it.” or “It was just a joke.” To have every single thing he goes through constantly minimized.

You’ll never know what it’s like to sob because you realize there are some circles in your son’s life that will never be open to him. To certain people he will always be less. To realize he will always have to work twice as hard to get the same respect as a white kid. To have that so clearly evident as you raise your own white kids.

You’ll never know what it’s like to tell your white friends all of your struggles and have them be so shocked and outraged that “all of this still goes on.” Yet never once offer to come and stand with you, because it’s not really their problem.

You’ll never know what it’s like to be “one of THOSE people,” Because you are only allowed to complain so many times about the treatment of your child before you’re labeled “sensitive” or a “special snow flake”.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have your child cry and wish he was white so he didn’t have to deal with this every day… and have times that you secretly and shamefully think those thoughts too, because you are just so damn tired.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have most of these people share your faith or even go to church with you. To find yourself praying every Sunday that God will help you forgive them of their offenses, or of their silence.

You’ll never know what it’s like to raise your child to not be a victim, only to eventually realize that he is – and there’s nothing you can do about it.

If that’s not a privilege, then I don’t know what is.

It has to be said that Anthony has also had amazing white coaches, teachers and mentors in his life.  My son’s life has been and continues to be filled with incredibly good white people. I thank God every day for their positive contributions in his life. They will never know how much it truly means to him, and to me. So, how many amazing people does it take to reverse the damage of the “few”?  I still can’t answer that, because it’s not like it won’t ever happen again.

What I do know is that for 24 years I have knelt in prayer trying to find the strength to keep having the same talks over and over on endless loop. For 24 years I have stood in rooms and fought for the voiceless and the unrepresented. We can talk all we want about whether or not it’s appropriate to stand or kneel at a football game, but does that even matter?

It does beg the question however, when IS IT an appropriate time to have a discussion that everyone refuses to have because it’s so uncomfortable? When is it a good time to participate in dialogue that actually leads somewhere? There are problems on both sides of the aisle. Both blacks and whites need to take ownership of that.

However, so many white people are quick to say – “Well, I’m not prejudiced, I’m being judged for the actions of others,” and wash their hands of the situation because their feelings are hurt. It’s not only your feelings that are hurt..and it’s not your actions, friends. It’s your silence. Silence is the great betrayal. It feels like you don’t care, or at least you don’t care enough to say something. You quite literally don’t have skin in the game.

Part of your privilege is that there is nothing forcing you to participate. You get a choice. That’s great for you…. but where does that leave me? Where does that leave my son? More importantly, where does that leave our country? When you are in the minority, the only way change is ever going to happen is if the MAJORITY helps.

Anger, resentment and hate only come when you don’t love someone enough to be phased by their suffering. At some point they start to self-protect. I see that in the faces/attitudes of my black brothers and sisters and it’s heartbreaking. They are worn down and feel defeated. Yet, I also know that my white friends are incredibly good people. Amazing people. They just haven’t been forced to see. Neither was I for the first half of my life.

At the end of the day, we all want the same things. We have just lacked the work ethic to get there together. It’s time to rip off the bandaid and let this wound bleed until it starts to heal.

Do I still believe in all of those things that I taught my son every day as child? I do… but I also believe that he shouldn’t have to fight so hard to be an equal. That skin color shouldn’t play a role in respect, and that he shouldn’t have to take a certain amount of abuse in order to be accepted. That’s the part of the playing field that isn’t level.

So the question isn’t whether to kneel or to stand. It’s will you speak up?
If you’ve taken the time to read this article, consider yourself educated. With that knowledge comes accountability. I pray you’ll use your powers for good.

 

Love,
Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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197 comments

  1. Thank you for your honesty. As a foster mum to three black Aboriginal boys here in Australia, I am starting to feel a lot of those same feelings. Life is so different for our 5 biological white children. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Good looking son. It’s hard to be a pathfinder – whether it’s race, gender, or ethnicity. But breaking barriers is necessary until they no longer exist. Dawn and her son deserve equal respect and privilege. I hope they find “friends” who deserve the insights she and her son have to offer. Stay brave.

    2. Dawn,
      I am a white woman with white babies that dosen’t see color, I see people. I fight daily for minority that is disability. It doesn’t matter what the color, because the traditional student doesn’t treat the non traditional student the same. They aren’t included, they are laughed at and excluded, looked down at and ran away from. So my question to you is, with my heart for advocating for equality how can I show that. I feel like I can’t say anything or reach out becuase I am a white woman. Your advise in this would be valuable because I want to reach out and make a change. How can I support?

      1. I feel exactly the same way! I had black foster babies too and was blind I guess to all this. Wanted so badly to reach across and out and every which way to mend these barriers! But the cultures are so different. How can we heal this? What can I do?

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I’m so saddened to read about all those hurtful experiences your son and family have endured. I cringed to read about people in your church being part of this cruelty. As a mom of young (white) children I’ve wondered how to have conversations about race. Perhaps you’d have some tips for me. I want to avoid highlighting differences, but I thought by now (my oldest is 6) they would have asked me about their pediatrician’s black skin, or about classmates or even strangers they see here and there, but they don’t especially seem to notice or care about skin color so I’ve said practically nothing which doesn’t seem quite right either. All I know is I want to see societal change. I don’t want your grandchildren to have experiences like their dad did. Much love to your beautiful family.

    1. My kids are white and my oldest is 7. They are the same way. They have black cousins and uncle, Hispanic cousins and aunt, Asian cousin and aunt, and a black babysitter and they’ve never said anything about other than when they watched a Daniel tiger episode about it. Once they turn 6 and start reading and noticing the world more and watching live action movies and going to friends house with out me we start discussing the news. If they are going to be out in the world at school and friends they should know about the world. I tell them about racial tensions as theyake headlines. They are always confused why people would be mean to each other. We talk about that we are all God s children and talk about how to stand up for others.

    2. I don’t know if you want my input, but research indicates that the most important step to raise racial awareness in kids is, in fact, to actually talk about differences, to mention that we all look different and that that is ok and beautiful. We need to talk about how sometimes people treat people unkindly, because of how they look and that we don’t do that.

      Basically, if you want your white kids to be sensitive to this, you NEED to talk about it and teach them.

      Otherwise, apparently, per research, they will pick up on social cues of racism.

      So talk. Get books with diverse kids in it. Get dolls of different races. And talk.

      1. As a white parent of a black child, I absolutely concur with Fanziska. I see racism perpetuated by the excuse of being color blind, well color blindness also leaves people blind to what black people and other minority or marginalized people are faced with, how they are treated either overtly or in some even more damaging covertly and systemic ways. The best thing to do, like any problem, is to first admit there is one. By acknowledging and recognizing the differences we can raise our children to celebrate them, and the strength diversity brings to our lives.

        1. Ahh I don’t think it is her white children that have the problem. What she seems to be sharing is what is happening outside of her family and in the community.
          From what I can read and see, this mother and her whole family are doing more than talking about the problem. She is doing what any mother does – something about protecting her son and is getting beaten down far too many times. THAT is the shameful part. Taking a knee means nothing unless you are willing to go out there and get in the middle of the fight and get your hands dirty with real work. I think Dawn and others like her are the true heroes of this world. Go mama.

      2. Franziska, I absolutely agree. My kids are brown and I dread the day they start noticing these type of treatments. Kids will learn from school and others, whether we teach them or not. If we don’t teach them, we’re not helping them with the issue of race. Talking to them about it is the best answer, so long as it is done in love and respect. As far as age, they do start noticing by 3rd grade if not sooner. Please moms, talk to your kids about other cultures and people so that my kids may not have experiences of racism.

    3. What a great question to ask! Yes! Please discuss these things so that when your white children see racism, they know what it is and have a plan for how to respond. I think a lot of the people who just watch without acting do that because they are so shocked and don’t know what to do. Teach your kids about race, racism, and why it’s important to stand up for what’s right.

    4. That’s BULLSHIT sorry

      1. Obviously you have never been discriminated against.

      2. Herein lies the problem. How sad to see a comment like this in response to a mother’s honest and pain filled account of her son’s experience with the ignorant and ungodly treatment towards him by others.
        This mother stands in a unique position to have a viewpoint regarding the grave issue of racism that apparently the commentor does not. I cannot imagine most anything more disturbing.
        No wonder it’s anonymous…

      3. BLACK AND WHITE
        I laugh just like you,
        I cry and feel pain,
        When you touch my skin
        we feel just the same.
        But you were born black
        and I was born white;
        our prejudice formed
        because of our sight.
        But if you were blind,
        and I couldn’t see,
        just think of how nice
        our friendship could be.

        © Forrest Phelps-Cook

    5. Tracy,

      I am also the white mother of a black boy. While I am not as eloquent as Dawn, I would say the first thing you could do is to not be colorblind. It is great to treat everyone equally, to fight equally hard for each kid, but by saying you are colorblind you are inadvertently leaving out a huge part of a black or brown child’s life. As a white person, you can afford to be colorblind, but as black and brown people, they can’t. They know they are not treated the same. They know they are at greater risk and will be held to a higher standard. Sometimes the standard is set high expressly to keep them out. When you say you are colorblind, it says to them that you do not see the roadblocks thrown in front of them, you are not a safe person to talk to about racism and bias, you do not understand the burden they bear and therefor can’t fight to reduce it. Rather than promoting equality, it serves to keep the inequality in place by sweeping it under the carpet. Let the black and brown children in your life see you speak up when something isn’t right, read them stories about kids like them, reprimand and educate white kids when you see them being biased or prejudiced. Speaking up about race will rock the boat, but having honest conversations and making concrete changes in our own attitudes, language and actions is the only way we will ever get to a point where we can honestly say we are colorblind and have it received in the manner it was intended, as a true statement of equality. Thank you for caring enough to want to be an advocate.

    6. Dawn I am an LDS white mom of 4 (amazing & beautiful) adopted black children and fortunately did not experience as much ignorance and hate as you and your son have. I’m so sorry to hear about the horrible things that your son had to see and hears from experience. That’s absolutely horrible and WRONG!!!!
      We did get rude remarks from a few elderly people and always strange looks, questions from most everyone, every time we were out in public, so much so that I got to the point where I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone. I over heard two employees through the drive up window at an Arctic Circle, say that my husband must be a black basketball player (Karl Malone) because one of my little boys had a UT Jazz jacket on! The assumptions were crazy!
      Yes, our family has had our share of stupid remarks and my children still get stopped by police for random checks, but all in all it’s been more positive than negative, and if we had to do it over again I wouldn’t do it any different. We’ve stayed close with two of the kids birth families and have such love for them. It was challenging as we had to learn about Black awareness, we were dedicated to being involved in the black community and not try to raise them “white”. Like you, we taught them to be proud of their heritage and to stand up for what is good and right and to teach with love and patience when they were dealt an unfair hand. It isn’t easy.
      The best advice I have for anyone who’s thinking about adopting “across the color line” is to get educated and get involved with other families that have walked that path. This world has a very long way to go and we must help each other out!

  3. I loved this article, thank you. It shines a light on a darkness that should no longer be growing, but is at a terrifying rate. We met Anthony when he served in our Ward and loved him, he is remembered well here.

  4. I would say your story has left me breathless but, in fact, the opposite is true. It has made me want to become even more vocal and vigilant as we fight against discrimination of any variety. Thank you for your beautiful, strong, righteous heart. I love you, Dawn.

  5. This is absolutely spot on. I have felt these feelings, experiences so many of these same things and loved my sweet boy (and girl) through things that my younger, white children will never have to experience. I’ve sat in a police stationed being question about my son’s integrity. Only to learn that it was all the other parties involved that lacked integrity. We love so fiercely in a way that cannot be understood unless others are in the trenches too. Thank you for giving voice to my feelings.

  6. Reading this truly took my breath away. I often feel things, but do not speak up. Please know that your story was a reminder to me that silence is consent.

  7. I took my children to hear Anthony speak at Genesis a few months ago. I was so impressed by his maturity, his real-talk about racism, his own coming to terms with many of his challenges, and his willingness to not pull any punches! You have raised a strong black man. I pray that I can do the same for my son and daughter. Anthony will be one of their role models. Thank you for writing this.

  8. I’m friends with Hydi (we met at church over 8 years ago when my husband was stationed in CT with the Air Force) who shared your story on Facebook. It touched and at the same time broke my heart to read your (and your son’s) story. I have shared it with the thousands of followers I have and I hope I will be able to reach at least a few more hearts to help share your story more so that we all can help make a difference! Much Love to you and your beautiful family! xox

  9. I cannot read this and not comment. I could have written this blog, word for word. I wore those same rose colored glasses. Our son came to us as our youngest child had entered college.
    He was adorable, bright, talented and oh so smart. He was going to be raised in an upper middle class, LDS family. He was going to to have all of the right privileges to be able to make it in this world. He was 1/2 white so why couldn’t we focus on that fact and make his life brighter. All of his friends were white, he dated white girls per his choice. What we did not know, were the struggles he was going through when we were not around to stand up for him. He decided to become the misfit that people believed him to be. Remember, I told you he was bright. He loved to read. He retained what he had been taught. So he is this very intelligent misfit associating with some not so smart indviduals. Thirty years later, he is now getting the education he should have gotten 12 years ago. He is working on getting a job that will use his intelligence. He seen his potential and value in this world. Being his mother has been a privilege.

    1. He was half white, so why don’t we focus on that????!! Seriously??!

      1. I did honor all parts of his heritage, unfortunately not everyone sees it that way. Being black shouldn’t be the negative either. It’s a tough world to understand. <3

      2. Yes Seriously!!!!! My daughter came to us at the end of our family. She was 14 had been raised in all white communities. Her birth mother was white. She honestly, I repeat honestly thought she was white. Thanks to our upper middle class schools she was taught differently. She learned that being by racial means horrible nasty things that she hadn’t learned in her poverty, substance abuse neighborhoods and schools. She was accepted more in those conditions than in middle class privilege conditions.

        I have learned that my “friends” at church were no longer my friends. People who had known me my entire life have accused me of having an affair, or out right adultrey. Total strangers as well but that is some how easier to take. For some reason I thought that adoption would come to their minds because she was after all a teenager and you don’t just birth teenagers.

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am raising, 6 black blessings. We have one daughter and five boys. I too had a philosophy about how to raise them, but it seems so naive now. They have witnessed their father being pulled over just because he was the wrong color in the “white” neighborhood. They’ve had to stand up for a brother when, since he physically favors his father the most, be called “blackey”. I have watched my husband have to fight extra hard to get where he needs to be. My husband has been questioned in the past if one of our children was his biologically, because our son physically favored my side. I could go on. Though I think, I’ve been living with blinders on myself, and need to be a better advocate for my children.

  11. Thank you so much!

  12. Hands down, this is the best article I have ever read on this topic. I am definitely one that doesn’t “have skin in the game” as you said. To be honest, sometimes I shy away from these conversations because I struggle with commentary or articles that make it sound like white people are automatically racist and entitled-because I am not. This article opens up another option, and that is that I can still be a good person, who isn’t racist, but who stands up. I can stand not in opposition to all white people, but WITH most of us who have apparently just been quiet and unaware for a long, long time.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your story. We really do need to hear more life stories like this to shed light in the issues black men & women and their families are dealing with every day (even at church, unbelievable!). The dialogue has to start somewhere and I admire your courage to step up and do just that.

  14. Dawn,
    You opened my eyes and gave me new awareness. I am so sorry for what your son has had to face. As a mother of 3 boys and 3 step children I could imagine what it would feel like as a mother to have this happen and it broke my heart. I hope to never turn a blind eye again as I move forward with new knowledge about this. Thank you so much for sharing What is REAL. Your offering is so valuable and needed. Sending love, Norma

  15. I think we all have to share these hard topics with love so others can understand as you did so perfectly. I think a lot of people like myself doesn’t stay silent out of negligence but out of lack of understanding. I now have been enlightened to know I need to be more aware of these issues and u will never be silent after reading this. No one deserves what your child went through. Thank you. I think you made a difference with this post.

  16. So beautifully heartbreaking, raw, real, and inspiring. Your experiences are just a glimpse into a world we all need to acknowledge. Keep writing to help us all.

  17. I loved your article while feeling pain for you and your son. Thank you for being courageous and sharing it because I know to some extent of having people respond unkindly when you do speak up. I want to raise my son to be one who speaks up against injustice and to not contribute to it. Please give your son a hug from me.

  18. I’m emotional as I read this. I, too, am a white mother of a black son. He is still an infant but the subtle ways I’ve seen him be treated differently echoes these sentiments. Thank you for having the courage to write this (and the bravery to deal with the oncoming backlash of those who don’t have the ears to hear).

  19. Dawn,
    I’m fairly certain you spoke at a RS meeting we had. I think I sat in shock throughout most of it, because of your unbelievable life story.
    Then and now, I cannot believe what you’ve handled and how you have not completely lost it. I read these specific situations you’ve outlined and think, “I’m pretty sure I would have punched that xxxxx.”
    You may not feel like it some days, but your example, faith, honesty, and the way you mother are real-life beacons to me of how I should model my behavior.
    I do not have a black child, but I do have four very difficult boys. I want to raise them the way you described raising yours. In your talk, I was impressed with the life values and work ethic you teach. Added to that will always be open acceptance of any man or woman; to see the soul of a person and look beyond superfluous things.

    1. I am in awe of your words. They have truly strengthened me sister! I am so happy our paths have crossed. We need sisters in arms to help each other along! I feel blessed to have your heart so much aligned with my own. Please let’s stay connected! It would mean the world. <3

  20. Thank you for writing. My cousin, who has adopted three black children, has had many of the same experiences. None of us can assume we are not part of the problem; we must pro-actively ensure all our brothers and sisters of all races are welcomed and respected.

    I hope that this suggestion is not unwelcome, but I also found, as I read, that you were re-acting to outside forces quite often. Reaction mode is the same as victim mode. Instead, decide how you will act in advance and then carry out that plan. Do not let others dictate your actions or emotions. Only then can you teach others to do the same.

    Let’s give an example. When a threat of violence is made, decide ahead of time what the response would be. I think something like, “You might regard that as a joke, but a threat of violence is illegal and racist even if you think it’s funny.” If repeated, get witness names and call the police. When joining a sports team, meet with the coach and establish expectations and a zero-tolerance policy for racist remarks and proper discipline BEFORE there’s a single problem.

  21. You would think from reading this article she was living in Mississippi during the 1960s. I also have 3 black children in Utah and have never once, let alone on a daily basis like it sounds like this lady is describing heard a single racially motivated sleight towards any of my black children. Quite the opposite. All 3 have thrived in my community here in Logan, my oldest preparing to graduate high school with plans to go to college to be s doctor. Her brother is in middle school and was elected Vice President of his student council (by an overwhelmingly white student body). The youngest in elementary also thrives with many friends who he frequently goes on play dates with, invited by their white parents. Personally I’m sick of the divisive stories perpetuated on our citizenry as if we are having to deal with Jim Crow, and literacy tests still in this day an age. It’s an absolute farce. Those who push the “white priveledge” agenda will have to answer one day for this deliberate push to paint this great country as a racist one. It’s pathetic and I for one have had it. To use the church as a platform to do this is equally disgusting to me. There are people tripping over themselves, of all skin colors, of all faiths, risking their very lives to get into this great country. Do you think they would do this, knowing how inherently racist, we as a nation Are? This is the big lie, perpetuated by the left to divide us. Absolutely unconcionable!

    1. OH friend. I am so grateful for your children’s beautiful experience. Although my son’s experiences were different, it doesn’t make them less valid or untrue. If you look at the comments on facebook, you will find hundreds of families that have faced similar experiences. There are good and bad in every race and background. I’m not sure if you read all the way down to the bottom, but I spend a great deal of words talking about the beautiful white mentors, teachers, coaches and parents that have been wonderful to Anthony. This isn’t lumping anyone into a catagory, but rather acknowledging that we still have room to grow. May the Lord bless you and your family with continued fellowship and love. How wonderful!

      1. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised that your children have possibly not shared with you any negative experiences they have had. You give off a definite air that you would NOT be open to hearing about it or protecting them. Transracial adoptees often report that they never told their parents about racial slurs or discrimination they have encountered as to not “upset the apple cart.” And that is from kids who had parents who they knew would be sympathetic and stand up for them. I truly hope your kids haven’t experienced anything negative, that would be wonderful and quite frankly, a miracle! But I hope you have assured them that you will always stand with them in the case that they are harassed due to their race/nationality. I have four children of color. My youngest is barely 2 and she has already been called N word by a kid at my oldest daughter’s school. Please be open.

      2. We haven’t experienced it with our kids nearly to the extent that you have (6 black children and 2 bi-racial children), expecially within our ward family. However, they certainly have had more than enough of racist bias thrown at them. (none would be “enough”). One son went in with his white brother to a gas station and when they went down different aisles and our black son got close to the cashier the guys put his hands up in the air and mocked, “don’t rob me bro”. Our daughter worked at a restaurant in the drive-thru window and a person refused to take the bag from her and insisted that somebody else handle their food. One of our other sons reported to us how he was being called the n-word constantly by an opposing player while playing football intentionally to get him upset. My wife and I, once we were told about it after the game, reported it to our son’s coach with the desire that the issue be handled and the child be talked to by his coach and school administrators. Those are the 3 incidents that stand out so far during the time that we have had our children home. But this is in a city where the impresssion is that there is no racism. It has hurt my heart to hear of these incidents and to know that they will probably have to deal with many more like them in the future. But my wife and I are here to be supportive and when possible will stand up against anybody that spews racism at our kids. This isn’t a left vs right thing. This is a racism has been around since the beginning of time and while better than it was in the 60s and 70s still has a lot of under tones residing within the population of the world, regardless of which part. Thank you for your post. We’d like to share it on our family’s blog with a small write up of our own if you are OK with that.

        1. Of course it’s ok! The more people understand, the better. Message me your contact info. 🙂

      3. What a gracious response Dawn… to such an insensitive and narrow comment. Thank you for putting yourself in position to be criticized or doubted, by some, in order to bring such a critical problem to light.
        It happens. I have seen it! And although it may not be everyone’s experience… it shouldn’t be anyone’s experience.
        May the Lord continue to bless you and your beautiful family with courage and confidence as you step out in your efforts to change the world for good!!

    2. I’m wondering where reality truly lies. I’ve always assumed that no one was truly racist. I guess I need to have more open conversations with my neighbors.

      1. I promise I have been true to my own lived experiences. No one wishes a different experience than I do. Thank you for your willingness to read about it and be open to discussion.

    3. Please, Dawn’s message isn’t malicious or ill-intentioned. There is not a hidden agenda here. Give her the benefit of your doubts. If you notice, the issue is not someone’s skin color. The issue is being judged, teased, picked on because of ones skin color.

      To reduce someone’s whole existence down to a label based on outward appearance is to disregard and deny everything good that they have ever thought, said, and done. To name call is to cast aside the personal feelings of all those who love, care, and respect them and replace those feelings with your own. To name call is to tell someone their glass is half empty. It would be far better and more accurate to see each individual as a glass over flowing with God’s love. Name calling and superficial judging are a reflection of the finger pointer not the judged. Nevertheless the pain is real.

      This is judging a person by their covering, as if that is all there is to a person, which is to deny the content of their character.

    4. Matt S. It is really nice to hear your children have not had bad experiences….yet. It is wonderful to know that the community they are growing up in has good people who live what they have been taught.
      Still, just because your little bubble has been great doesn’t mean that others haven’t and don’t have different experiences than you and your children have had. We may not be dealing with “Jim Crow” and literacy tests, as you mentioned, but there is still racism. Denying that just means you have decided to close your eyes to other people’s suffering and life experiences and only focus on you and your surroundings. That does not make you a better person.
      My kids are half white and half Indian so have beautiful tan skin. Even they have had incidences of racism, especially my son. Interesting how at least 90% of the time he is “randomly selected” at the airport for extra screening. He was in a different state for college so flew often.
      You don’t have to experience racism personally to know that it is out there.

    5. Matt, it sounds like you’re caught up in the political rhetoric of the day and just can’t pull your head out from under your bubble long enough to get a dose of reality. I too have black skinned children (18 & 22). They’ve experienced some of the same treatment that Dawn’s son has. I’m happy for your children not having to deal with the realities of having black skin in a white world, but it doesn’t make our experiences any less true. Take some time to open your mind and educate yourself of the realities of the world we live in. Try to make a positive difference in other people’s lives who are not like you. You never know, it might be a real learning experience

    6. I am also a parent of an adopted black daughter. She is now 28. We (as Matt above) did not have any of the difficulties that you describe. Your article while sounding very heartfelt just kind of blows my mind because it is SO VERY DIFFERENT than what my daughter experienced. And trust me my daughter is not one to hold back and hide if things like that had happened to her. She would have told us. She would have told everyone.

      1. First, I have to say that I am soooo very grateful that your daughter had a great experience. That is beautiful. Second, I have to say that the unwillingness to see the suffering of another because your experience was different – is the root of the problem. It’s the reason for the article. It’s so very sad that in reading this, your first instinct was to dismiss rather than to contribute. I guess you chose to skip over the thousands of people who have written me letters and made comments- each so grateful that their pain has finally been validated and acknowledged. Instead of being grateful for your experience – you choose to belittle and minimize ours. Oh friend, you have not furthered your argument by posting this comment, you have furthered mine. God bless you and your beautiful daughter, may you both have a lifetime of love, support and peace. <3

    7. Just because your reality is different doesn’t mean that what Dawn and so many of us have experienced is any less real. I’m glad your children haven’t had some of the experiences mine have. But if you talk to your children you may find that they haven’t told you everything. Racist comments can hide behind “compliments” and “jokes”. Sometimes our children don’t tell us because it scares them or makes them feel ashamed or embarrassed- especially if they have heard us say “Oh that doesn’t happen here.”

    8. so….since this hasn’t happened your experience, it hasn’t happened at all….this is EXACTLY the kind of privileged blindness she’s talking about that allows this conduct to perpetuate. if and when it happens to one of your kids when they leave the cocoon (or it gets cracked), are you going to dismiss it because it didn’t happen to the other two? get ready, because you are totally unprepared.

    9. Have you considered that perhaps your children are experiencing a different reality than the one you are and your dismissive attitude does not allow them the space to be honest with you about it?

    10. I am glad Logan has treated your family so well. However Pleasant Grove, Ut and Ennis, Mt, has not treated our family that beautifully. Yes we are LDS. Yes the members of those congregations have added to the problem. My husband was the bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency. It has not been all bad. There has been much good. There is however a difference having raised 3 white children first and then thinking it would be the same for the one black. People are bias/prejudice and you don’t learn that until you live it.

      My families worst experience with this racism happened during my older biological white daughters wedding reception, in the church, after her marriage in the temple, in Pleasant Grove. A women from our ward came to the reception and went through the reception line saying “Bishop your wife has had an affair” then all the way down the line to each person saying “__________ your ________ has had an affair.” It didn’t stop there. She then went from table to table loudly saying. The same thing. It took us several months to figure out what on earth she was talking about. We had adopted a brown teenager And she thought no one would adopted a child of color in our area. I must have sinned and it had came back to haunt me. This was all learned through a conversation she had with my husband who was the bishop. He was ok to talk to because he was being made to publicly live out my shame.

    11. I’m so glad your experience has been different. Because it has been, it does not invalidate Dawn and her son’s experience. You can blame it on the political left, but in reality, neither you nor I have any idea what it is like to be black. Sociality can vary from one community to the next, but as a nation, we still have a problem.

  22. A great article. It is true as a white male I will probably “never know” most or all of the list Dawn talked about. But I still do not think race has anything to do with evil people. Race is the excuse to be evil. I have seen and heard horrible things done Tina said to poor children, obese children, children with bad acne, children with “questionable” parents, children of other religions, children from other countries, Jewish children, Mexican children, etc. The list goes on and on…. Evil only wants an excuse…. just turns out that the excuse of race for cruelty is getting all the Press today. Unfortunately that focus distracts from all the other children who have never had the priveledge of not being persecuted in some way or another.
    Even white and male, I was ridiculed, name called, teased for being poor, dismissed because my family wasn’t a staple in the small town we lived in, made fun of because others though I had large lips, cause I was short, because I wasn’t overly athletic. “YOU WILL NEVER KNOW” what it has been like to be me either.

    1. This article wasn’t meant to minimize the suffering of white people, which is why I addressed that first. Acknowledging some else’s struggle doesn’t discount yours, it validates it. None of us will ever know what it’s like to be each other. It’s a lonely walk to be you, or to be me or anyone else for that matter. This is the subject for today…but there will be a time where I also acknowledge bullying on the grander scale. You are loved, important and so sacred in the cause. Take care brother!

      1. Dawn I thought your article was great and I didn’t mean to dismiss any of it. It’s the national focus on just racism that I have a hard time with when childhood (and adult) injustices of all types go unnoticed, unreported, unlabeled, and for the most part totally ignored because these people are not (fill in the blank with whatever group is justifying why their oppression is the worst sort of oppression)…… Not to diminish anything you have written, my view is that racism or any other form of ism isn’t the issue. It’s hate and evil intent toward anyone perceived as different. That is the issue. Focusing on one difference is like focusing on the effect of cancer on a skin cell instead of focusing on the cause of cancer in the first place. We need to root out hate period. I know I’m preaching to the choir, and I hope I haven’t offended in any way. No one knows what it is like for anyone else as I’m sure your personal experiences with your son’s injustices are different from his personal experiences with those same injustices. I have no idea what it is like to be you or him or anyone else for that matter. I just know I need to work on me. That is the control I have over the injustice and evil in the world. It is up to me to be kind. It is up to me to stand up for what’s right. It is up to me to love my neighbor as myself. It is up to me to either choose to be offended or have pity on those poor folks who pick on others to feel some type of feeling in life (how sad for them)… and ultimately it is up to me to utilize the sacrifice our savior gave to not only repent of my sins but to wipe the sins of others that have been imposed on me from my soul. The atonement is that strong. Loved your article, love your family. Ever since Meet the Mormons when we first met you, you have been an inspiration.

        1. OH I took no offense my friend! I agree with what you are saying. There are so many things that need to be tackled. I feel you friend. It is so so so valid and so important. I’m grateful that you spoke up!

        2. Value number 4 really speaks to this:”…. There may be people that do not like you because of your nose, your skin color, your personality – it can be a host of different reasons. It’s not fair, I know – but learning to navigate difficult people is part of life. ” Honestly, that is what I was thinking when reading this.. yes, these experiences are horrible and we should stand up and defend people who have these experiences and work harder to teach people not to treat others this way… but I don’t think it has anything to do with white privilege. As you said, if it isn’t your race, it is your big nose, your poor background, your clumsiness… whatever- the kids teasing part- that you just learn to get over because kids will do that- and some adults will do that because they are insensitive and make stupid, inappropriate jokes. To that extent, it doesn’t matter what race, creed, economic background you come from- poor treatment happens and you learn to get over it and move on. The area in which white privilege comes into play is when racism is institutionalized- such as when a police officer instantly questions your motives or integrity because you are black. Police don’t pull you over because you have a big nose or are poor or whatever… but there is evidence to suggest that they do treat black people unfairly

          1. We all do experience the cruelty’s of life. No one is immune. As we tackle unkindness one group at time, it’s easier to understand the why’s if we see the suffering. This is one of many discussions that needs to be had. <3

  23. It hurts my heart to hear all of this, I too would think all of this was in the past. If I was your friend I would stand with you. If you ever need someone to stand with you let me know.!

    1. Ok, the way I wrote that didn’t come out the way I meant it. If we knew each other I for sure would stand with you.

  24. Hi Dawn, Thank you for writing this. I’m sad to hear that people can be so hurtful, especially at Church where we go to worship and feel the Spirit. My son is white but he dated a girl from our church who was black and he was constantly upset because of comments his “friends” made. I will share your article with as many people as possible.

  25. Wow. What a great article. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Thank you, Dawn. I think we who are white and parent black (or other non-white) children have such a unique opportunity to build bridges of thought. Through my writing and interactions, I have influenced friends and family who admit to never having considered any of these issues but are completely willing to accept the reality once they know. Educating others (while painful and sometimes exhausting) is powerful. It’s working. I’m all in. I’m with you.

  27. I like what you said at the beginning, everyone struggles…bullying started in grade school, if you were fat, a red head, too skinny, frizzy hair (my personal struggle), a big nose, bad hair cuts, ratty clothing and on and on. But I always stood up for those being picked on. At least until the bullies surpassed me in size. Then junior high came and I blossomed before most kids, due to sexual abuse. Oh the barrage of heckling and jeers and just plain mean behavior, I got to suffer even more. Couple that with living a predominately mormon area (my high school was 98%), my family was not, so let me tell you, I completely understand prejudice! I did nothing to derseve the treatmemt I received. I may not have ever been called the names used against your son or had the same mean behaviors, but I suffered because of others. I just dont get how it is SO MANY people have forgotten bullies in school. We had no blacks at our school, but let me say this, plenty of us whites suffered under the bullying of others. I can’t say my heart does not go out go your son, of course it does, I feel deeply about it. But I find it to be a matter of choice what we do with our lives. I married young, worked retail management and rose to the top by hard work and dedication. When it came to having children of my own at 37 I absolutely was dead set against public school. I quit working for a better job; being at home, raising my children with the intent to homeschool. We chose not to subject our children to the behaviors of other children and agendas driven by the system. Both our children, while not perfect, own homes and are under 22 years of age and they are great people! We protected our children at the same time foster caring for others whose lives were truly shattered by poor choices their parents were making. We did not shelter our children from seeing first hand the consequences of bad choices. I hate the racial divide, but I will stand by those that rise above their conditions or corcumstances. Those like Ben Carson, Inky Johnson and so many more have proven it. Character is formed by life, the choices we make to do with life depends soley upon the individual. I have done well, in spite of the little girl; ridiculed and abused, I am not her.

  28. From all of us who do know what it’s like, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  29. Thank you for this beautiful article. As the mom to two black daughters, they haven’t faced rhe fear from people the way society fears black boys once they barely start to reach the age of 10 or so, but we have had our fair share of racism. Sadly, like your experience, many of the comments came from people at church. I always pray and wish it wasn’t so, but education to those who don’t have “skin in the game” is key. Until they are willing to stand with us, it is a very painful path on which our children tread. Thank you for writing this- it is beautiful in spite of all the pain. Hopefully it will educate many who will actually have a desire to change.

  30. I’m sorry Dawn- as the mother of 3 adopted black children, living in a pridominately white state, and the same religion as you, I find your experience off base. I raised my kids to in Utah County. It’s as white as they come. My kids had a few experiences, like you mentioned, but certainly not “millions” like you say. I actually find your assessments almost offensive. I taught my kids from the youngest age, that any true racism they experience, is because the person perpetrating it, is the one with the problem. It has nothing to do with them. They have carried that with them to this day, as adults. They have played sports, gotten jobs, and have been accepted by most. I have only had to go through the adults, a few times, to inform them of unacceptable behavior directed at my children. In my view, you have made your children, and yourself, victims. Your words say so. I prepared for my children’s lives, by researching long before they were adopted. By providing them strong, positive black role models in their youth.
    Sadly, the term ” nigger” is prevelant in today’s society. It has been taught our youth by rappers, and the like, and used freely by all skill in colors. You can’t get away from it, so you learn to deal with it, without being weak.
    No, our experience isn’t uncommon. Yours ,s if truly assessed with new bias, is.
    Racism will always s exist. Be it by whites, blacks, or any other ethnicity. Don’t you imagine, if this was reversed, that a white child in a predominately black environment, wouldn’t be the same? I’ve lived in multicultural, and racial environments as the child of a military family. I’m not inexperienced.
    Never felt nice, have I had a child come home crying, because of this stupidity. My kids have handledit beautifully, because they were prepared. And it certainly wasn’t a constant thing.

    1. When will people realize that if another person’s experience is different than their own, it can still be true? Just because you haven’t lived this, that doesn’t make her honest, open telling of her son’s experience “off base” or “offensive.” So this didn’t happen to you? Great. It happens to lots of other people. Just stop for a minute and listen without rushing in with your own truth. Just stop.

    2. As someone who grew up as a visible minority in a small, predominantly white town I find many of Dawn’s experiences very much on point. While I didn’t have it nearly quite as bad (I’m in Canada thank god) I know very well what it feels like to curse your bad luck for not being white…to be told to suck it up, or to “ignore them” and they’ll stop (they never did). Educators at that time did little at that time to address racism, and my parents had their own stresses to deal with so there was really no one to turn to. So I carried on…consistently remained top of my class…earned scholarships…honours and graduate degrees…launched a very successful career and now have my own beautiful family. But the scars remain inside…and nobody sees them but me. So while you, Laura, may think your kids have “handled it beautifully” that doesn’t mean damage hasn’t been done. When my own biracial child was born I was elated to see he that he looked “white”. Why? Because I know he’ll never have to go through the crap I did. He won’t be discriminated against, called names, excluded, or made to feel like he doesn’t belong. He will be judged by his character and accomplishments, not his skin.

  31. I could have written this but changed the circumstance from your son’s skin color to my son who has a disability. I understand where you are coming from even though we had different experiences. I have fought long and hard for my son and he is still treated as different, and not accepted or included. So I am not sure what I would say…anyone that isn’t disabled is privileged? Maybe…I think we all have struggles and trials, but they can make us stronger. Good job loving your son. In the end its all we can do. <3

  32. This was incredible. Thank you!

  33. Thank you for sharing!! I honestly am like you, or like you were, struggling to believe that such behavior still existed. It scares me to think what is being taught in the home. God bless you, your son, and your family.

  34. I consider you a hero and your son is a lucky guy! Speaking as a mother and grandmother I applaud your courage and love for this .

  35. Thank you so much for writing this article. It was like you were living my experiences first hand. My kids (all five adopted) have been harassed, tormented, singled out, had neighbors refuse to play with them,
    They have been told that they should be “executed because they were black”, had neighbors say we should move because we were taking our their property value down because our kids were black. We have been called names, been threatened, and bullied by people who attend attend church with us . It is so hard to understand how this still goes on right here in 2017. It is so saddening when your children are not allowed to play because of their skin color. It is sad that they don’t know just how amazing my kids are.

  36. Dawn,

    I’ll stand with you, sister. White privilege IS a thing. As a white teacher of brown, linguistically-challenged students, I have to advocate daily to help them survive their world. No one should ever have to put up with the kind of abuse you and your son have, and I’m not afraid to speak out against it. You have earned my respect for how you have taught him and stood up to such ignorance. I’m here for you!

  37. This makes my heart hurt, and I hear the same stories, over and over, from people of color that I love. We have to do better–and it isn’t ever going to change until white people have these conversations with each other, as you know. Have you seen the grassroots Shoulder to the Wheel LDS effort to combat racism?

  38. Do you live in Utah or another conservative state? Of course if the majority have a narrow experience with the diverse world, this is the fabric. I was born there- I know. The sexism is bad enough.

  39. I have to tell you, I ate lunch with Anthony just a few weeks ago. He’s awesome—truly, truly awesome. You’ve done a great job as a mom. I work on campus, and part of my job involves meeting and interviewing students to whom I’m nothing more than a stranger. That particular day, I’d made a conscious effort to go on campus for lunch to try to randomly meet a student or two. A lot of BYU students really keep to themselves, and some can be downright prickly. But Anthony sat down and then brought over his friends, and then talked football for a half hour—with a complete stranger. I asked if he’d be willing to lend his celebrity star power for a marketing campaign I’m working on, and he consented. I’ve had others who’ve said they’ll help and then never get back to me. But Anthony showed up and was great. He even offered a couple of suggestions about the photo we took based on stuff he’d learned from his photographer mother. Based on the maybe 90 minutes I’ve spent with him, I have to say, he really is a phenomenal kid, and it sounds like you’re a phenomenal mom.

    1. He sure is! I’m so glad he greeted you warmly and offered his help. That’s how it should be. I love that you took the time to tell me this! Thank you so much.

  40. Hate is wrong – no matter what is behind it. I have seen white privilege, rich privilege, minority privilege, and body type privilege. I’ve seen LDS kids refuse to play with non-lds kids. I’ve seen evangelical christian kids refuse to play with LDS kids. I’ve seen people denied jobs and lose careers for being christian, white, black, hispanic, and even blonde. If we are going to fight against hate, we have to fight it in all its forms and all directions it is pointed in. Otherwise, it is just perpetuating the cycle and moving the hatred, rather than ending it.

    1. I agree completely. Which is why we tackle one at a time. All suffering is not right if its within our power to prevent. This is just one of many topics. I wish people would be willing to read longer articles that highlight the struggles of all, but sadly – no one has that kind of time. Which is why I chip away one topic at a time. Thanks for your insight friend. You are so right!

  41. So sorry for the rudeness you and your son have experienced! I am sad that things like this happen. As I read this my jaw was dropped! I don’t understand it because I have always loved black people and have many black friends. And we sponsor kids in an African orphanage. You’re LDS? And it’s mainly been other members saying and doing these stupid things? How incredibly un-Christlike! How did they miss the commandment to love others as themselves? Sadly, it doesn’t help that the LDS Church has a racist history! Even with the leaders! Have you read the essay on lds.org about it? When I was in the MTC I met with my branch president and actually cried about the fact that blacks could not have the priesthood until 1978! I asked him for answers and he couldn’t give me any. I have raised my kids to love and be friends with everyone and it would break my heart if they ever did anything you mentioned! Your son looks like such a fun and lovable person!! The type that makes you feel better just being around him! Bless you and I pray this issue in America and in the church will get better!!!

    1. So well said. And I think what I hate worst of all is that our kids seem to take the brunt of it. Anthony came up here for a fireside a while ago, and my daughter has had a crush on him ever since. What a great young man!

    2. Why do I have a feeling you have a agenda?

      1. Probably because you are correct. I do have an agenda. To bring people together. To show them that what they are doing to each other hurts. For two and a half decades I have watched two groups of people- whom I treasure – at constant odds. This is a first attempt to maybe gain some understanding in one another, and have a chance at common ground. How can we ever address problems – if we never are able to view through their lens. I believe in peoples goodness and light. I am sad we are all missing out on some incredible relationships if we just were able to put our guards down long enough to see that we aren’t so different. Some times it starts with acknowledgement on both sides. There is so much healing in that. My goal is to talk about the hard things – and start the conversations the hopefully will lead to the healing of our nation, even if it’s only one person at a time. I love people. All people. I believe in us.

  42. I don’t know you, and I just came across this blog by chance, but I just want to take a moment to tell you I am completely speechless regarding the comments that are so offensive and invalidating of your experience.

    I have a child who is transgender, and at five years old was told she was not welcome to attend church. We were heartbroken. Our child experiences traumatic bullying, judgement, condemnation, etc…But the fact that we experience heartbreak as well, doesn’t erase *your* heartbreak. Do you understand what I am saying?

    There is not a finite amount of suffering or heartbreak in this world, we don’t have to compete. Just because someone was bullied as a child, doesn’t mean your child, in a completely different place and time, didn’t/doesn’t experience racism. And just because a mom is raising black children with little to no racism in *her* world, doesn’t mean there isn’t racism in *yours*.

    I can’t help but feel like there is some white fragility at play here by the commenters as well. It’s pretty insane that you would share your experiences of grief and hardship, and be met with people commenting on how your experience is wrong. People literally telling you that your experience is not your own.

    Racism in America is systemic whether or not people want to look in the mirror and acknowledge their own privilege or not. And privilege doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard. Privilege means you can be pulled over for a minor traffic violation and not be shot. It means you can get a fair shot at an interview because you don’t have an “ethnic sounding” name. It means you can call for the firing of NFL players peacefully protesting, but the KKK and Neo-Nazis can run through the streets with loaded guns and torches and they’re protected by “freedom of speech.”

    People – 2 weeks ago there was an actual lynching of a 12 year old African American CHILD. Racism exists.

    The same people criticizing Dawn for being a victim, are the same people who cry about an extermination order 150 years ago, and who carry a persecution complex on their backs. The same people who feel victimized when they feel “the world” is persecuting them for their religion. The same people who feel victimized because gay marriage is legal and
    the “gay agenda” is causing their heteronormative marriages to be devalued.

    I am not going to change anyone’s mind. I get it. It sucks. It’s easy to get defensive.

    But people, be human, be kind, hold some space for Dawn and her experiences and sadness. You wouldn’t want strangers coming into your life at one of your most vulnerable moments, and getting in your face telling you that your story isn’t true and that you’re weak (in this case for acknowledging your child has been a victim of racism).

    It’s easy to deflect because it’s uncomfortable, but it’s ok just to say — and if we’re being totally honest — the *only* thing we should say is, we are sorry you are hurting. We are sorry our silence is deafening. We are sorry your family feels pain and that your child hurts. There are few things harder than watching our children suffer and feeling powerless.

    I will continue fighting for a world where our children can exist without the ever present threat of physical and emotional violence.

    Love to you.

    1. Can you give a link to a story about the 12 yr old African American child that was lynched two weeks ago? I never heard that story.

  43. Anger, frustration, anguish, sadness, respect, hope, love, charity, my heart and mind went all over the place during the course of reading your article. The only feeling I have now is love. I loved you and your families story in “Meet the Mormons”. I love your message in this article.

    I don’t know what struggles others have gone through. I only know my own. But the only way we can begin to understand someone else’s struggles is to willfully take a walk in their shoes.

    Dawn, thank you for taking me for a walk. You’ve got my heart rate up and my spirit’s on fire. I will speak up and I will speak out. Thank you for your blog and your life lessons. Thank you! Thank you!

  44. This breaks my heart!! I have two sons. They are both white and we are white, but we are Mormons in a city in Missouri, and believe me—religious bigotry is still here (I have experienced it myself!!)My oldest is currently on a mission, but he was bullied a lot in school. My other son is 12 and he has Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is in junior high now, which is where the bullying got bad for my first kiddo. I don’t know what it is like to deal with racism day in and day out. I have never looked at a black person and felt they were beneath me. We are the same. I will stand with you! You just tell me how I can help and I’m there.

  45. Hi Dawn,
    I am sorry for the pain you and your son have gone through. We (white parents with 6 white daughters) have also raised a black son. He is 19 and in his second year of college. We have raised our son in Richmond, VA where he has had excellent friends of all races. And, he has been acquainted with less than excellent friends of all races. The “N” word is alive and well in VA high schools although it is usually only used by and among his black friends (found that one on a phone check). His black high school counselor encouraged him to rise above that word with his friends and lead out in good example. He has done that. Stay strong. Like you, we have raised our son to be a good man. The good news is that he has been the recipient of very little racism. There are individuals and families in diverse societies that get along and cheer each other. I know this isn’t prevalent everywhere and God bless you in your struggles to educate and lead out in love…

  46. Thank you. Two of my grandsons are black but can pass for white. My other two grandsons are Hispanic, one looks Hispanic. For three of them, it’s been a breeze…but for the one that looks hispanic, has been teased. Maybe because of the times we live in. I want to be a instrument of change. I want to stand/kneel with you. When I see a problem, I say something. It is something that embarrasses my family. They don’t see the white privilege the way I do. I want to do more. Could you write your next article on what we can do? So far, all I’ve done is write/email politicians and companies that don’t stand for change. Help us all help you and all the people of color. Thanks again.

  47. I am also a white mom of brown children. I have learned so much since adopting them. And that is part of white privilege – being 40 years old before I even had to think of the black experience. We live in the deep South. My family is all in the West. Part of the reason we stay here is because of the diversity – racial, religious, economic, etc. I am so grateful that my kids are not the only ones with brown skin in Primary or school. I have not experienced what you have experienced, but I have been told things that were incredibly insensitive or misinformed. I wish I could give your son a hug. Thank you for sharing your story.

  48. I am so touched by your post. As someone who doesn’t want to be silent, please tell me how to best use my voice. Thank you for your insight. Love to your sweet family.

  49. Hi Dawn. I met you in the Draper temple baptistery when you needed peace before sending your other son on his mission this summer. Felt like we were kindred spirits! Thank you for writing your perspective and sharing it with us. Truly, change must happen. Seeing each other as people with feelings, talents, weaknesses, strengths, and potential, regardless of what we look like on the outside. We all need to learn to love each other for who we are and where we are despite our differences. My heart literally breaks as you describe what Anthony has experienced…and I’m so grateful you shared it. Apathy is as hurtful as the acts of racism. So now that you have helped us see, we need to act. The words have continued to run through my head, “Kindness begins with me.” And sensitivity. And inclusion. And we as mothers need to exemplify and teach it. ❤️

  50. I will speak up with you. It’s long overdue for more of us to fight for all our brothers and sisters. No more passive acceptance of very real racial divides. Thanks for sharing.

  51. I am white, I live in Utah. I have a daughter that is half Nigerian (black) and half Caucasian (white). I too am trying to make sure she grows up knowing she is loved. She is smart. She will go places in life cause she is great! But she already knows she is different. People often ask if she is adopted, in front of both of us. Which I think is rude! Anyways, she is beautiful, she has an athlete body type already and she is only 8 yes old. She has big beautiful eyes and lashes that everyone talks about. She has those perfect ringlets that every white wants with thief’s straight white hair. Mind you it takes 25 mins just to brush out. But even with her beauty, she still says she wishes she were white cause she doesn’t fit in like her cousin’s. I have the fear theater she will be treated as in the black community as a “ho” cause all the boys will like her and try to get with her and when she says no they will do one of two things. Rape or rumor. It is indeed sad the world we live in cause the racial side is still there . The bias side is still there and the desire to be treated fair is still there. Thank you Dawn for this. I won’t be able to stop these things from happening, but with what you said, it gives me hope in knowing we are not alone and there are other white mothers with beautiful black babies other knowing and one be able to do more to help our children out with the help of others.

  52. Thank you for this. I’m an old white guy, and I never looked at “White Privilege” like this…I now understand, somewhat, your point of view. I have always tried to treat people the same, and I truly believe that racism won’t end until the color of ones skin is no more important than the color of their hair…

  53. Man… So this sounds pretty pathetic but I really didn’t know people were still that bad! This definitely changed my perspective and I’m going to do my best to stand up for my brown friends. Seriously who CARES about pigment. Imagine if people cared that much about hair color. Brown skin is beautiful! Any skin is:) thanks for your thoughts! Also your son is seriously handsome. That’s all.

  54. Awesome post. Painful. But very helpful.

    I would like to make one suggestion. Please, please, please bury the phrase “White privilege.” All it does is cause problems because it’s inaccurate and misguided.

    Let me explain. I could write a similar post about fat kids, ugly kids, kids with handicaps like a lisp, super short kids, tall lanky kids, kids who for some reason aren’t popular, kids who have learning challenges, kids who are gay, kids who are visitors from other countries, poor kids, etc. All of them experience on-going slights.

    When we say White privilege, we automatically lump all Whites into the same bucket. We automatically say it’s all your fault, by virtue of your DNA. And we automatically think that this is the only manifestation of the issue.

    But this isn’t a group thing. As stated above, there are lots of Whites, kids and adults, who have been awesome.

    Can I suggest that instead of suggesting this is a White issue by using the term White privilege, that we identify it for what it really is–an issue of the heart. An issue of sympathy. And what we need to be doing is helping individuals have more sympathy. For all sorts of people who are different.

    This isn’t White privilege, because many Whites are more disadvantaged than your son. And many Whites exhibit the exact opposite behaviors you describe. And many Whites do speak out.

    The name of this malady is callousness. It’s hard-heartedness. It’s insensitivity. It’s being cold-blooded. That is the root of the issue. Not the color of my skin. When we call the problem for what it actually is, we can then go to work to fix it.

    Again, thanks for this post. It’s going to be the focus of a lesson I give to the young men I work with.

    1. John,
      I’m sorry, but I don’t think you really understand what white privilege is. You might want to do a little more reading on the subject and you might find you have a different opinion.

      I wish you all the best!

  55. A long time ago when my kids were little, I thought it better to say nothing about race. Because it never mattered to me. I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood as a kid – my closest friends in high school were white, black, Jewish and Hispanic. And it was totally normal, and something I really didn’t spend much time thinking about.

    But as I’m raising my kids in a less diverse place, I’ve learned that it is important to talk to them about this subject. That skin color doesn’t matter. That their Heavenly Father loves everybody the same no matter what they look like, and that we never use hateful, racist words or insults when talking to others. We talk about how much that would hurt, and how offensive it is, and how our job is to love everyone.

    If I saw any of the things you were describing, I would have been right at your elbow. I would have your back. I would speak up if I saw any of these things (I have no problem calling out other adults or teens if they’ve crossed into such monstrous behavior). If my own kids participated in something like this, despite having been raised differently, the punishment would be severe. It’s not something to be tolerated. It makes me sick that it is something you and your son have dealt with. Especially at church. I was just telling my husband how far up the ladder I would go to have everyone released that had allowed such things to happen. How many leaders I would have gotten involved in dealing with this issue. It’s disgusting that in this day and age that it’s even necessary for you to do any of this. That your son is not treated like the child of God that he is. (The Pioneer Trek in particular so kills me. I don’t know how you managed to avoid inflicting some bodily harm on some racist idiots.)

    You are a great mom and your son is fantastic young man, and I pray that things get easier for the both of you.

  56. I can’t wait till we live in a time like the one described in the Book of Mormon after Christ came. The people became one and stopped hating each other for racial and ethnic differences. I think your perspective is a step to helping us get to this place. It’s expecially frustrating knowing that bigotry comes from some members of our church. Obviously parts of the Book of Mormon are lost on them and they severely lack understanding of their own religion. I’ve heard similar experiences of racism in the LDS church from one of my friends who also is a white woman raising black children. She received an anonymous note on her door from someone complaining that they didn’t want her little black girls in nursery with their white children. I was shocked that this happened! What century do these people live in? Did they miss the whole civil rights movement and the moving words of Martin Luther King? Did they forget the verse where Christ condemn those who offend little children. I feel sorry for their children because they might learn this same bigotry and that will not get them far in today worlds.

  57. I can’t wait till we live in a time like the one described in the Book of Mormon after Christ came. The people became one and stopped hating each other for racial and ethnic differences. I think your perspective is a step to helping us get to this place. It’s expecially frustrating knowing that bigotry comes from some members of our church. Obviously parts of the Book of Mormon are lost on them and they severely lack understanding of their own religion. I’ve heard similar experiences of racism in the LDS church from one of my friends who also is a white woman raising black children. She received an anonymous note on her door from someone complaining that they didn’t want her little black girls in nursery with their white children. I was shocked that this happened! What century do these people live in? Did they miss the whole civil rights movement and the moving words of Martin Luther King? Did they forget the verse where Christ condemn those who offend little children. I feel sorry for their children because they might learn this same bigotry and that will not get them far in today worlds.

  58. Dawn, I met Anthony before I met you. I can say with no reservation that I love and admire you both. You are a wonderful wife and mother. My heart aches when I hear of some children of God being treated with so much disrespect and hate. They will answer to God someday for their behavior. Anthony is such an impressive young man. We are so blessed to know him.
    Brenda and George Cluster

  59. My wife and I are white. We adopted two black children 14 years ago. I’m grateful that in my little Orem, Utah bubble we have had our neighborhood, church and schools embrace our children. I suppose we’re an anomaly.

  60. I believe every word you said and you articulated it so very well. When I was a substitute teacher, I would be calling attendance and when certain names were called it was always the boys who would say something about the race of the other boy. For example, “the Indian over there, the Eskimo, the…” Thank you for trying to explain “white privilege”.

  61. You are absolutely incredible! You son is blessed to have you as a mother! May God bless you and your family! He will be great no matter what the world throw at his way because he had amazing foundation and a wonderful family that loves him! Love conquers all! Much love ❤️

  62. Id like to comment, but hesitate doing so, because Im not sure I understand the problem. I am white, with 8 kids naturally born. We live in a upscale neighborhood in Southern Utah. My Wife and I are from very diverse areas of the west. We have several African American kids in our neighborhood (Adopted). I admit I don’t understand the white privilege thing at all. I just dont see it. If anything, I see those black kids getting doted on. They seem popular to me. It seems to me that in this day and age, Caucasians are terrified to be labeled as racist and walk on egg shells all the time. I like to think that my kids are more accepting than most.. We have lived for months at a time in very impoverished areas of latin america, My kids have been exposed to lots of different things, maybe that helps.

    As someone that had few friends as a child, never fit in and struggled each day for any self worth, I have concluded that people in general suck. Horrible things were said to me from my teachers, ” I would never turn out”, ” I would never have a job”.. “Why dont you shut up”.. The list goes on.. And, Yes, I’m white..
    My oldest child has Aspergers, and struggles to this day (at 29 Years old) with being accepted in the world. He was tortured as a child by other kids because he was strange.

    By saying any of this, I dont want to devalue the article. Ive heard these stories more than once, and they break my heart. They anger me. I try to read it with and open mind, and admit I dont completely understand the issue.. I consider myself to be nerdy (although very outgoing) and dont feel like I will ever say or do the right things, I cant help that there is some victimhood coming out in this story.. I mean, Life just sucks, accept it make the best of it.. Gravitate towards those that love and accept. I refuse to be a victim. I never went to college, but have created a beautiful life in spite of all of the naysayers in my life. I have never been given much of anything, my parents were from modest means. So, I guess I expect that others can rise from the ashes too. These trials (I believe) have given me a real sense of seeing life from the camera lens of the little guy. I think I’m a better rounded person for my mal treatment. I wish I could say the same for my bitter son, but so be it..
    Color is real, but silly. I could not care less if my daughter were to marry any race, as long as he is a good man. I think ALL of my friends feel the same way. I know for a fact that Jerks exist, Ive met them.. But in all honesty, I dont know anyone in my circles that would ever treat one of your children as you have mentioned. And I too belong to the same religion as yourself.
    My 2 Cents.

  63. Thank you for sharing this. Your insight is invaluable.

  64. Unfortunately this is a universal issue that stems from pride. My six children were bullied in the Church and at achool because they had chronic illnesses, were overweight, had ADHD and or dyslexia instead of being born with different skin pigmentation. I feel your pain. But the joy of God tells us we are all his children. And that all of our experiences will be for our good. I was also bullied for being overweight as a child but it made me more accepting of others and built character, courage and self determination. I have great compassion but also know I had to pass thru those experiences to become me. Our God will never us forsake.

  65. I didn’t understand white privilege before, even scoffed at it. Now I do. Thank you for changing my perspective.

    1. That’s exactly what I was just thinking…

    2. Why did you have to hear this from a white woman to believe it? That in itself is a part of our nation’s racism. We ehites need to listen to what African Americans say.

  66. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. It helped me understand this situation in a different way.

  67. What do you mean it doesn’t matter if we stand or not for the flag? How about 1.3 million reasons to stand, because thats the amount of soldiers who died for you and your son to be alive and have your freedoms in this country, its great disrespect for those who paid the ultimate price and sacrificed themselves and left their families so we could have our own. You can fight and protest all you want about discrimination, but don’t disrespect the flag and what it represents. I am going off to fight for this country and I find it very offensive for someone to disrespect what I and my fellow brothers in arms will defend. But still This I will Defend. Of course this nation is not perfect and it has a terrible past, its the same for all nations, but this is still the greatest nation the world has ever seen. There is plenty of room for improvment.

    1. Thank you my friend for commenting. We are so pro military in our family. Every time I see someone in their gear, I thank them and buy them lunch. Veterans Day and Memorial Day are the biggest holidays in our family. My grandfather served in the Army and Airforce. My brother served in the Navy. I am so grateful for those willing to give all. You are correct in feeling that way that you do and defending the value of your sacred contributions. Please know, that I am not asking anyone to not stand. I love and honor my military. They are my heroes too. I am just saying we never create space to talk about things like this. My aim is to get people to speak up, in hope to unite the division that exists between us. <3

  68. Thank you thank you thank you times a million bazillion. I am also a white woman raising a black son. I appreciate this article and your experiences and I thank you for speaking up. For kneeling and standing. For fighting for what’s right. I’ll be sharing this and hoping that it continues to be read.

  69. Thank you! I knew this would have its challenges and I have tried to prepare myself but I know my 3 mixed children are walking in very different shoes than I did and it makes my heart ache. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

  70. As I’m reading this I believe my jaw hit the floor about 15 times. I am sickened you and Anthony have gone through this. SICKENED. I’ve had my opinions and preconceived notions about the NFL refusing to stand during the national anthem. And I’m still not sure I agree with it. But after reading this I understand. How incredibly frustrating for black Americans still experiencing racism. In 2017 for crying out loud!!! So as white Americans, besides standing up for others when we see something wrong happening, what can we do? Honestly I want to help make a change.

    1. I will be posting some ways we can all contribute to the solutions. I am so thrilled so many are invested in making this better. Thank you friend! Truly. Please know, that I am not asking anyone to not stand. I love and honor my military. They are my heroes too. I am just saying we never create space to talk about things like this. My aim is to get people to speak up… I hope to unite the division that exists between us. <3 Please stay tuned!

  71. I’m shocked your son experienced this where you live. I acknowledge there are stupid people in every group. I simply expect more from our LDS community. I don’t understand it. I’ve tried to reassure myself that even in a mostly white community it doesn’t mean it lacks diversity because diversity isn’t based solely on skin color. I have lived in Provo, Orem and SLC and at times felt relief at seeing individuals who are other than white because sometimes it felt alien to only see white kids. Maybe it helped to move around a lot while growing up and sometimes being in the minority to believe “normal” is where there is a variety of ethnicities.
    I thought racism occured nowadays due to the few, proverbial, rotten apples in the barrel. Some cops are jerks and seek power over others rather than living an altruistic motto ‘to serve and protect.’ I thought the majority of men or women in blue were ‘good guys.’ Are you suggesting this is not true? The kneeling before professional football games was due to police brutality toward blacks, right? I’m worried that the radical backlash toward police departments will mostly harm good men and women. I live in Portland and I’m not exaggerating when I say radicals live near by and do crazy…
    I believe what you said happened. It’s heartbreaking/disgusting. I’m glad you are not a pushover and that your son continues to see and hear you stand up for what is right. If not you, then who? I know it’s insane to suggest moving as an alternative since your son has already graduated AND it’s certainly not the answer to your problems. Somebody’s got to fight for what is right! I gather Utah is home for you. I personally didn’t want to raise my family there. However, if he would personally like to live elsewhere I believe it’s easier to blend-in places like WA & OR. I know it’s not a solution; just an offer. I love the diversity here with so many cultures!
    It wasn’t easy for me to hear your experiences. I too thought it was generations passed the bigotry of white and black. I agree the majority’s silence is a form of cowardice. Thank goodness you’re not part of that group!

  72. Wow. I read the comments and I wish I hadn’t (on some of these).

    Utah needs a makeover. These things happen because this state isn’t racially diverse and some don’t even know that what they’re saying is a sin. Thank you Dawn for using your privilege and platform to talk about the hard things. Being black and LDS is tough enough without our own brothers and sisters trying to shut us up and shame us into smiling and lying that “everything is okay” when it’s not. Anthony is not a curse. Neither am I. Nor is the little girl who was told the very same thing in a ward, RIGHT HERE, in SLC not too long ago. These things happen and the moment we stop acknowledging it…we all lose.

  73. Thank you for sharing and being real with people. I’m a mother of 2 black children, 1 mixed but in the real world we know that’s not how she is seen. I have to love the question why don’t you focus on the white part of her culture? I was told or asked that constantly while living in Utah. Hello raising a black child in a white world with a white family they get plenty of white culture. With my daughter I lasted 5 years in Utah, with my son who was 5 when he joined our family we lasted just over a year before I realized for the welfare of my children I needed to leave. In Utah there is such a spirit of oppression for those of you who say none of these things happen to your kids don’t be surprised when years down the road you hear a different story. We left Utah and moved to a very diverse military base overseas. My daughter went from a shy quiet person who let her friends treat her horrible to a completely outgoing kid. These are some of the things she said, 3 months after moving we returned for a visit my daughter says mom ever notice how everybody in Utah is white? Mind you she’d lived there for 5 years. She said later that same year mom I spent 12 years learning to be white now it’s time to learn how to be black. At 18 she fought and fought over the fact that if she went to Utah her first two years of college would basically be free and she’d be by family,but could she be the person that she turns into every time we go there? The answer ended up being no. She ended up choosing a school in the Midwest . BTW most military I’ve spoken to here have said they fight for the right of peaceful protests and do not see what these men are doing as disrespect to them or the flag.

  74. Oh my gosh!!! Where do you live?!?! Do you realize it’s not like this in other parts of the country? I’m assuming you live in Utah??? I would NEVER raise my family there. I lived there for a few years and that was plenty! Illinois may be almost bankrupt and have a corrupt gov’t but I can’t imagine ever hearing what about what you went through and we live “outside” the city. Then again, kids are evil and will say the things that they think will hurt you the most. That is universal and purposely individualized. I was tortured on a daily basis from second grade on for being “different”, “awkward”, and a “weirdo” because we didn’t understand what SPD was back in the 70’s and 80’s. A LOT of people get picked on for stuff beyond their control by both kids and adults. You just be the best human you can be and learn how to say “Whatever, dude…” and walk away. Most jerky people are looking for a fight because they are miserable and miserable people come in all colors. We must rise above it all as individuals and remember that we are all children of God. This is why I really hate these race baiting groups that focus on the collective rather than the individual. These groups can often do more harm than good. Like the saying goes… A person is smart but people are stupid.

  75. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You brave soul! Thank you for sharing your story with the world. This is the most beautiful article I have read in a long time, especially on this issue. I pray Heavenly Father continues to bless you & your beautiful family. You have opened so many eyes & hopefully hearts. Thank your for raising your voice. It has definitely sparked me to raise mine.

  76. What a beautiful family you have and such a beautiful eldest son. My husband and I are converts of 15 yrs and live in the East. From what I’ve heard about Utah and that area, I wouldn’t want to live there, but when I hear stuff like this I feel like it’s my duty to go there and shake things up. My eldest daughter, 20 years old, Latina, has lived there for a few years and the stuff she tells me about comments made around her, being followed in stores and such blows my mind. She’s also a beautiful well put together girl, doesn’t matter. Also, the way men there seem to feel that women should be, act and their place makes me nuts. I’d like to retrain these people and then have them have them retrain their wards. I have about 100 talks I’d like to impart, lol. I’d stand up next to you and yours every single time. Have him come out east and be appreciated. I have ten children and I don’t see me directing them to the colleges out there at all anymore. It makes me sad. That should be the best of us, instead it’s just not.

  77. I would stand with you. If there’s ever a time when a stranger on the internet could be of any use to you, I’m here. I wouldn’t make you stand alone. My heart breaks for you that this is still the world we live in. 🙁

  78. I don’t know if you’ll see this out of all the comments, but I just wanted you to know that I met your son and had the opportunity to talk with him for a few minutes. I run BYU’s Testing Center and talk to dozens of students daily. so this was nothing out of the ordinary. However, when Anthony left my office I thought to myself, “Gosh, I hope my kids grow up to be just like that one.” He was mature, respectful, personable, chill, kind, and just happy! Some of the things that you and Anthony have experienced sadden me, but mama, you have rocked it. I’m sure so much of Anthony’s awesomeness he brought with him, but I’m also sure you played no small part in what an exceptional young man that he has become. <3

  79. When I saw your family in Meet The Mormons, I never would have thought that Anthony had to deal with everything he did. I know, rose colored glasses… I can’t believe that he had to go through this growing up, and it sickens me that kids think that their “jokes” don’t affect someone. I hope that he was able to find some peace while on his mission, and that he will continue to be an example to his siblings, as well as everyone around him. This is something that needs to be addressed, and I wonder if he could do something similar to what Al Fox Carraway is doing, in talking to youth groups all over. I wish you guys peace, and the strength to rise above the hate and nonsense spewn by so many people.

  80. Big hugs to you and your BEAUTIFUL son. As a mommy of 2 little mixed girls, my heart is with you and I pray my girls are as strong as your son.
    Xoxo

  81. I must admit, I’ve been one of the silent ones thinking that I’m not contributing to the problem of racism or stereotypes out there. Your article has given me perspective that I’m not sure I would have come to know otherwise. My wife and I have 2 adopted children with varying needs because of their backgrounds. We know of the fight to not be labeled for one behavior or another, but that doesn’t touch the frustration you, Anthony, & your family and many others have to deal with everyday. In fact, frustration is likely a weak way to describe it.
    Thank you for blogging about this, God Bless you & yours.

  82. This was so well written, very powerful, indeed. Heartbreaking but also inspiring.

    I replied to someone else’s message here already about my situation and simple experiences. My kids are half white, half Indian. Even they have experienced some racism. I mentioned that at least 90% of the time my son is “randomly selected” at the airport for extra screening. He was in a different state for college so flew often. He was also on the high school football team.

    It isn’t nearly the same as what your son has been through but it is eyeopening. To know that this stuff still happens and many brush it off as joking or not a big deal is frustrating.

    There is a news anchor in the San Francisco area who is white and has an adopted black daughter as well as a white bio daughter. His stories about his family and the hatred he sees and the love he has have touched me deeply. He also shares lots of inspiring stories about people helping others on his Facebook page. I have sent him a link to this blog post. Don’t be surprised if Frank Somerville reaches out to you.

  83. My brother and his wife get all kinds of mean-hearted comments because of the difference in the color of their skin–anyone who knew my sister in law would know that she is so smart, funny, hard-working and brave! How anyone could say cruel things to and about her, and others like her, is heartbreaking.

  84. Dawn,
    Thank you for your heartfelt and vulnerable expressions. I am a white mother of 3 bi-racial children. White privilege is absolutely a part of my life, but it’s almost incomprehensible to what degree that makes my experiences different from theirs. As they have reached adulthood, they are helping me to understand those differences. Even as their mother, I take so much for granted. However, I’ve tried and I hope I’ve instilled similar values, to those you describe. My children are well rounded and confident so I know they don’t see themselves as victims, which I’m tremendously grateful for, but as you said, it’s not over. They will be faced with unfathomable obstacles in their lives, simply because of the color of their skin. I continue to pray for the softening of hearts and the diminishing of ignorance. I also add my voice to the call for both.

  85. Thank you for sharing this powerful message.

  86. I think I understand the phrase “hit under the collar.” I feel my temperature rise as I read this. More than out in general society, for your beautiful son to be treated so horribly at church by his brothers and sisters is offensive to the ultimate degree. May the Lord pour out blessings on you and your son and your family.

  87. Well, I’m sorry but I don’t feel any sympathy for white women who raise black children. Their fight doesn’t even compare to what black mothers endure. Black mothers experiencing the same racism that their children do, so it’s doubt the pain. And just because black people have endured racism for centuries, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t continue to be painful. Additionally, if those white mothers didn’t raise a black child, they would be just like the white people that they speak of because they wouldn’t know the truth either….

    1. I am not asking you to feel sympathy for me. I am asking people to see what is really going on. I am using my pulpit to declare war on the things that are happening, but people refuse to see. I know black mothers experience this struggle every day, and it shouldn’t be that way. If we don’t start working together – our children all lose. I stand with you, even if you don’t stand with me. Lots of love, fellow momma warrior!

  88. This is the first time I have ever read an article where the argument didn’t stop at “you’ll never know what it’s like to…” It has always been annoying to me when someone would tell me that because it ended the conversation that clearly needs far more dialogue. The exact dialogue that you just expressed. I hated this phrase as it has always been aimed to silence instead of open a conversation. I don’t know what it is like to be a black person, and quite frankly black people don’t know what it’s like to be white. But with an open dialogue like this, where understanding is at the heart of the conversation, then maybe people of all races can begin to understand that everyone has feelings, goals, and dreams. No race is immune or to blame for past actions. Nobody should feel like a victim. Thank you so much for your words… raw as they are. So many people need to hear this and read this. I am a white woman who firmly believes that there is no room for racism on the earth. And you have given me the inspiration and information to not be silenced any longer.

  89. 2 of my kids have brown skin, they went to pioneer trek last year, just like Dawn’s kid, my daughter worked very hard, so did other kids, whites, brown, blake, yellow!! When I went to pickup my kids, many members from her trek family come to tell me how hard work she had done and how duch good example she was. No one come to say anything about my son thou, why? Because he’s very laid back and I’m pretty sure that he haven’t work hard as her sister did.
    Something that is very hard for me to undertand; if calling someone “nigger” it’s so horrible why black people call eachother that way all the time? Of course racism exist, but we need to stop been sensitive and concentrate in facts. You comment about your son’s trek experience makes me think that you’re been a sensitive mother and not teaching your kids how to stand up to themselves in a positive way.

    1. I’m so happy for your children’s experience. That’s wonderful.The purpose of this article was to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Not to put your shoes on them. I am so grateful that you shared your experience as well – because the whole point is to start a conversation! Whenever you do that there will always be bumps and bruises as we find common ground, and that’s ok! It’s progress friend, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. To answer your question – no, I am not sensitive at all. If I was I never would have written this post. I knew what I was getting into when I wrote it. Opening myself up to the ridicule, unkind comments and the judgements of others just creates more opportunity for me to learn empathy,compassion and love. Bottom line, it’s worth doing. Because for all of the cruel and unkind comments I will endure, there will 15 million more comments of people who’s eye have been opened to something that they didn’t understand, and the families who have been hurting now feel represented. That means everything, and it’s a win in my book. The only way to escape criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. I choose to be more. Much love sister! – Dawn

    2. Sissa, why do people who don’t experience racism insist that those who do are “too sensitive?” That’s an easy dodge. So is blaming this boy for not taking on groups of racist bullies. I live in a majority black city and am not a fan of white parents raising adopted black children in white areas for reasons like this. The kids both deal with racism but are also surrounded by people who don’t share their experience. The children don’t have any adults in their lives that are on the same path.

      Some blacks call each other that word because they are reclaiming it. They are taking the power of the insult away. That doesn’t mean it changes the damage the word does when used by an outsider though.

  90. Dawn, Thank you for this. It is the silence that speaks a thousand words. My own sister told me, “Reading your FB posts, people would think you only have one son. The Black one.” But what she doesn’t get is that my White child already has the world at his feet. He doesn’t need me to defend or educate people on his Whiteness. All she sees is that my posts make her uncomfortable about her own subtle bigotry. Because she can’t possibly be racist–she has a Black nephew! She’s never gone into a convenience store after pumping gas to find a clerk standing, literally, shoulder to shoulder with her child, pretending to “straighten” the shelves that were already straight. And no, I’m not being overly sensitive. If you saw the look on the clerk’s face when he was “caught” by the “White mom” as I came around the corner, you would know that I’m not. Or maybe he was just a dirty pedophile. My son is beautiful after all. I was so stupid. With my White best friend married to my Black friend and my Black step-father-in-law, I thought I was super prepared to parent a Black child. Nothing in the world could have prepared me for how it felt when my three year old came home crying and told me that a boy in the day care play yard called him a nigger. Someone else said that word is “reality”. I don’t care how many rappers use it. I don’t accept it. I don’t like it. And I won’t ever stop being hurt by people using it. I ask that woman to consider how it would feel if her White daughter came home every day crying because she was being called a slut at school every day.

  91. We don’t know what it is like – until people like you are brave enough to say “Enough of the lily-white, life-is-just-dandy-in-America bullshit” and tell the whole story. I appreciate the way you handled this, both by giving us the reality of people who are just plain jerks as well as reminding us that there are many good white people who helped you raise your son. Looking at his pictures, I see a wonderful young man of whom you should be proud.

    The sad thing is how unwilling many on both sides – usually the radical right and radical left – are to talk to each other, to understand each other as human beings made in the image of God, and to work to find answers to the real problems we have. Hate is easy. Love is hard. Love calls for self-sacrifice and the willingness to admit when we are wrong. How many people (myself included) are willing to do that? It seems precious few.

    Thank you for writing this.

  92. Dawn,
    I never write comments on the articles I read, but this piece from you definitely deserves one. I hesitated to click on the link to read your article because I have read several “I deserve your pity now” articles written by white mothers of black children, and they make me cringe. Thank you for not making this about you. The truths you shared here reveal a very hard truth about the current state of our nation on race relations in a very accessable way. I appreciate your honesty and all that you, and your so chose to share. Thank you. This matters, people like you and your brave son matter. Love from Hawaii

  93. I was fortunate to grow up in the Air Force where we traveled and lived around the US as well as I spent HS in Germany at a Department of Defense school. Students were from all over and from different countries, but mainly they were military. Racism and people criticizing others because they were different was/is completely foreign to me/us. We grew up around many different races, nationalities, cultures and never once did it enter my/our minds that we were somehow different from each other. It was a beautiful and amazing world to grow up in. My grandmother (from Spring City, Ut) lived in Florida and I was taken aback to see her make racist comments. I went to a Homecoming in Germany with my black friend and made sure I sent her a big picture of us.
    Once I went to BYU and started living a civilian life, I was shocked, befuddled and speechless that these issues were so prevalent in our society. Currently, we adopted 5 children, 3 from Russia and we had 2 biologically. We’ve had our share of different challenges, but nothing like you experienced. I don’t think I could’ve stayed put in your situation; I would’ve moved. However, your family gave others an opportunity to learn and grow and show their characters or rather lack thereof. I am pained by the division I’ve seen in our country and the “narrow-mindedness” of so many in the church, especially in Utah. We live in Oregon and as liberal as it is here, I’m glad my kids grew up around many different peoples and different ways of viewing life. I think prejudices of any form come from lack of experience and lack of education about other people. It’s such a beautiful world when we all see each other as brothers and sisters. It is always such a great adventure to mingle with those of other cultures and to travel. They have such interesting cultures, traditions – it’s a grand adventure; so exciting!
    Perhaps the answer is for parents and children to travel and live in other cultures and parts of our country, so they can raise their families with eyes that see beauty in every person and culture of the world. I’m so sorry for the pain and hurt your son has experienced. He sounds like a beautiful person, as are you. Thanks for spreading the education!

  94. I was fortunate to grow up in the Air Force where we traveled and lived around the US as well as I spent HS in Germany at a Department of Defense school. Students were from all over and from different countries, but mainly they were military. Racism and people criticizing others because they were different was/is completely foreign to me/us. We grew up around many different races, nationalities, cultures and never once did it enter my/our minds that we were somehow different from each other. It was a beautiful and amazing world to grow up in. My grandmother (from Spring City, Ut) lived in Florida and I was taken aback to see her make racist comments. I went to a Homecoming in Germany with my black friend and made sure I sent her a big picture of us.
    Once I went to BYU and started living a civilian life, I was shocked, befuddled and speechless that these issues were so prevalent in our society. Currently, we adopted 5 children, 3 from Russia and we had 2 biologically. We’ve had our share of different challenges, but nothing like you experienced. I don’t think I could’ve stayed put in your situation; I would’ve moved. However, your family gave others an opportunity to learn and grow and show their characters or rather lack thereof. I am pained by the division I’ve seen in our country and the “narrow-mindedness” of so many in the church, especially in Utah. We live in Oregon and as liberal as it is here, I’m glad my kids grew up around many different peoples and different ways of viewing life. I think prejudices of any form come from lack of experience and lack of education about other people. It’s such a beautiful world when we all see each other as brothers and sisters. It is always such a great adventure to mingle with those of other cultures and to travel. They have such interesting cultures, traditions – it’s a grand adventure; so exciting!
    Perhaps the answer is for parents and children to travel and live in other cultures and parts of our country, so they can raise their families with eyes that see beauty in every person and culture of the world. I’m so sorry for the pain and hurt your son has experienced. He sounds like a beautiful person, as are you.

  95. Oh I could have written this article. Thank you for breaking my silence. I will never forget the day my 6 year old son asked me if he poured bleach on himself, would he turn white? My heart broke, still does to think back on so many scenarios and probably many more he does not share with me today. He is now 25, married in the temple to a lovely lady, and persuing his degree in Utah. I think of the many experiences that could have broke him yet somehow he has rose above it all.

  96. Hi Dawn,
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful article! I want to help in any way I can, I’m just not sure HOW I can make a difference. You talked about silence being one of the problems. I’ve never seen people with different skin color any less than me, but I’ve also never done anything to stand up for those who are suffering. I would like to change that and just want to ask you your opinion on how I can do that?
    <3

  97. I am deeply moved by your words. Thank you for helping me see. I will stand with you and others, and speak up.

  98. Thank you! I have 7 children also. All white..except the newest addition who just turned 1. A little mixed, beautiful girl. These have been my worst fears from the moment i found out I was pregnant. Thank you for your transparency.

  99. While I empathize with you. I am a white male raised in a traditional LDS family. I was teased and mocked all through elementary, Jr. High and part-way through High School until I figured my life out. There are many others in my circumstance. Why is it that if someone is black or brown their struggles are more important? Now sometimes there is prejudice for sure, but it’s not always what you think it is. Just because you suffer and feel that it’s all because you’re black does not mean the person you think is persecuting is evil. Frequently, I’ve seen that minority groups because over-sensitive believing that every struggle is based on their race. I believe this is simply not true. I think we continue the race problems because we talk about them too much. So often we want to find a reason for why we are mistreated or misunderstood then wow, we think it’s obvious it must be because your black. I simply do not accept this pre-judged premise because you have been surrounded by wonderful loving Latter-Day Saints, most of whom I know are the truest Christians on earth. One thing I’ve learned is speak up when you’re being mistreated. If something is wrong and nothing is done to fix it don’t come back weeks or years later and then complain. Do it at the moment because you know as well as I that there are people present who would not tolerate racism.

    It’s time to forgive and move on and not blame skin color on every one of our problems.

    1. Hi friend! It’s true, everyone suffers in some way. I’m sorry for way you were treated as well. The struggle of minorities isn’t more important that anyone elses – it just falls on deaf ears so it’s never addressed. When you are the minority, your voice doesn’t carry near as far or as fast. This is me shedding light on what it’s like to be them. If you came here to compare wounds then yes, we surely all have them. However this was about sharing a lens that you haven’t been able to look through before, so you better understand your brother. You get to decide whether you dismiss it, or learn from it – as is your privilege. I do, have, and will continue to speak up for them. I’d love for you to stand with us.

      All my love to you brother – Dawn

  100. Your story touched me deeply, and not only because I have a mixed race (I do question why we focus on only one part of a mixed race child’s heritage) grandson. He was born in the 9th ward in New Orleans and was adopted by my son and his wife as a newborn. They are still friendly with his mom and recently took him to visit his full sister and half sister. So far as I have seen, he is doing very well, but he’s turning 12 and I wonder what he may face as he gets into high school. However, sad as it is, many children go through the same things your son did. I can remember one of my kids asking me why the kids at church treated him so much worse than the kids at a conservative (and even somewhat anti-Mormon) Christian school in Arizona did. The boys at Scout camp tied him to a tree and threw things at him. When I said something to one of the mothers, she totally discounted it.
    If I heard, “Boys will be boys” once I must have heard it a thousand times. When we moved to PA from Utah, after a year or so, my daughter said to me, “Mom, do you know what I like best about living in PA? You don’t have to go to church with the kids who hate you at school.” All of my kids were teased and tormented by other kids for being “different.” And the hardest to bear was from other LDS kids. Now a number of my kids work in Young Mens or Young Womens and you can bet they don’t allow any of that sort of stuff to go on. Our LDS kids here seem to have friends of all races–we are a very multi-cultural area in the northeast part of the Dallas metro area. I’m grateful for that, but kids still get teased and the lesson I see is that we MUST teach our children NEVER to tease or torment others–no matter what. My youngest son has Downs and he has been so blessed to meet kindness. Of course, I home schooled him, partly because I knew how the special needs kids were sometimes treated on the bus and partly because we were able to teach him individually to his unique needs. He has 27 nieces and nephews and knows most of them very well and they have learned a lot from him. He loves everybody because he has only known love with only one exception in his life. He’s now served two service missions, works at the Temple, loves to do sealings and endowments, and his Eagle Scout project, which he definitely did do himself (designing and building a sensory trail for a therapeutic riding program) won the Eagle Project of the Year over 51 other projects. He volunteers frequently at a Christian food bank a couple of times a week, and reads the Scriptures. He is an example of how to love! When it comes to people, he is totally colorblind–as we all should be. Sadly, there are many things happening today in our society that are dividing us even further along racial and cultural lines and we must not let that happen to us.

  101. I loved the heart of this. What a sweet mama. And your son is raised well. Of course white kids in a white neighborhood won’t know what he’s gone through. But as a very light kid living in a black neighborhood I actually experienced every single thing on this list (except the ones having to do with sports because I don’t play sports) and some that were not on the list. Racism exists and it sucks and I promise to always speak up if I see it but it happens in every neighborhood. Maybe my story is rare because there aren’t many whites who grow up in black neighborhoods but I promise I get it. I just sat numb in the school bus, sick to my stomach from the horrible things said about me and held my little sis as she cried and was bruised after being beaten up for being one of the only white kids (even though we were actually Hispanic the black kids lumped us all together). Usually when someone says something hurtful it is because they are hurting and so I do try to have grace for the souls of my past. People can be so cruel and we need God to change us. I absolutely agree with you that we need to speak up for each other.

  102. I am the proud “white” mama to four beautiful chocolate daughters. My 14 year old won’t swim or spend anytime outdoors in the sun she doesn’t want to be called “darky” . I have had a daughter, she was 4 at the time denied medical care until I could prove I am the mom. I too thought race was a thing of the past. I did not believe there would be any major issues with a white mom raising a black baby. While most of the people in my daughters lives have been positive influences. The negative interactions have such long lasting effects on their self awareness. My children not only fight against racial unfairness from “whites” but now as teenagers are told by other blacks that they are too WHITE my daughters are not biracial but 100% black. These comments and attitudes hurt as much or more than the racial slurs from whites.

  103. Thank you for your valuable perspective. I am a Caucasian man with a wonderful black son in law and a beautiful half and half grandson. I don’t love them the same as my other children’s spouses and kids, I love them more. I hope I can be an advocate for the needed change in our society as well.

  104. Please tell me what I can do to stand with you Dawn? I would love to help. I am a sister-in-law to the Gists from Genesis. I love them dearly and know they face this every day also. I appreciate your openness and have learned so much and have shared this article. Your son is an amazing man. I listened to him speak at Genesis a few months ago. I hope he knows he is incredible. Love to your family. You have been an inspiration to me.

  105. Beautiful read. And heartbreaking. An important reminder for us to stand up for others, especially when it’s uncomfortable. We need more love and compassion in this world. I am trying to raise my children to know that we are all children of our Heavenly Father. And we need to stick up for others, even if it means they might start picking on us. Sending love to your sweet family. And I appreciate you opening your heart and your desire to forgive others.

  106. Thank you for sharing. You are so brave & an amazing mother.

  107. I loved your article. I’m a divorced LDS mother of 3 daughter’s & 1 son; two of which have passed on. It’s amazing that no matter what your life situation is, there is always going to be someone that just doesn’t THINK & reacts negatively. My children have been discriminated against, because they come from a “broken family”. (none of the boys in the church would date them.) I was also discriminated against, as a divorced woman. (I can clear the foyer full of dads, just by walking in! Lol!) HOWEVER, none of that shook my faith in the gospel, it just made me see other people’s differences that much clearer & made me vow to never treat anyone or any of my Primary/Cub Scout “kids” as anything other than the wonderful little people that they were & are. Bless you for your story, your family, your love & sharing it with the world. I wish more had your strength & faith.

  108. I definitely had some similar situations with my son. I can still remember my heart stopping when I would be asked “Oh, this is YOUR son.” My response, “Yes, of course he is mine. Why do you ask?” Shocked faces stared back with stuttered responses every single time. He is now 29 with a son of his own and I can only pray that he and his wife (she is white) do not encounter some of the things he and our family endured. Thank you for this article. It truly struck a chord with me.

  109. Love your your article. When my blond haired, blue eyed daughter was in middle school, all of the kids came to our house after school to hang out. One mother called one day to ask if there are black boys at our house after school. I told her that there are and that they are the 2 nicest, most polite middle school boys that I know. She said she did not want her daughter to come to our house if they were there. I told her to keep her daughter home. Next day another mother called, same question, same reaction.

    I was so shocked by their comments that I approach the school social worker (black female) and asked for her comments/help. She didn’t have much in the way of a response as she was surprised by mine. I.e. – that I wa so naive that people would actually share those terrible feelings, out loud. I’m still shocked but I always speak up. So do my kids. And we will continue to do so. Admittedly, we don’t live this every day and cannot pretend to think that we know what it feels like to be in your shoes, but I will defend you, your son, and your choices every day. God Bless you.

  110. Love your your article. When my blond haired, blue eyed daughter was in middle school, all of the kids came to our house after school to hang out. One mother called one day to ask if there are black boys at our house after school. I told her that there are and that they are the 2 nicest, most polite middle school boys that I know. She said she did not want her daughter to come to our house if they were there. I told her to keep her daughter home. Next day another mother called, same question, same reaction.

    I was so shocked by their comments that I approach the school social worker (black female) and asked for her comments/help. She didn’t have much in the way of a response as she was surprised by mine. I.e. – that I wa so naive that people would actually share those terrible feelings, out loud. I’m still shocked but I always speak up. So do my kids. And we will continue to do so. Admittedly, we don’t live this every day and cannot pretend to think that we know what it feels like to be in your shoes, but I will defend you, your son, and your choices every day. God Bless you.

  111. I always feel so helpless when confronted with a problem like this because I just want people to be kind to each other and it seems so big and I so small (it actually causes me a lot of anxiety). Thanks for helping me realized telling one boy not to call another boy a nigger while walking my kids home from school (neither my child, just neighborhood boys) is meaningful. Small acts build up. I don’t know if that boy stopped using that word altogether, but I have never heard him use it around me again. I’m sorry your son has been through so much. I will try to keep not being silent.

  112. Some of the pain we’ve had has been with people assuming racism when there is none. For instance, in kindergarten my daughter had a group of friends who were boys and happened to be darker in skin color than her. One boy in particular she loved a great deal. Well, boys being boys, they had a spitting contest, and taught her to spit, and when she did, kindergartners being kindergartners, one of them reported her to the teacher as spitting on kids. The first spit the boy she spit on was darker, and the school and parents got really upset. Second time it happened, again, the boy was darker, and again we had discussions about what would happen if it happened again. Third time it happened, the boy was lighter than her…. it became clear she was spitting with her friends, and another kid was reporting her, it wasn’t in malice and it certainly wasn’t based on anything racist. The school immediately deescalated everything, hardly punishing her for that third and final spit. But several parents did not believe the school punished her hard enough, they were certain she was racist. Not just wanting to spit with the boys.

    I’ve had to talk to her about how some of the things she talks about could be taken in a racist light. It’s so hard to feel like you’re stripping their innocence away to make sure that their innocent gesture or a choice of words doesn’t accidentally hurt someone who is understandably on guard. This is so much like walking a minefield sometimes. Like telling her that the N-word even exists, and what to do if she hears it, and what it ‘means’ if anything… with the fear that someday she may throw it at someone. Or that spitting on that white boy in class was gross, but spitting on the other boys who were darker than her was going to get her in much bigger trouble…. or even something as odd as how if she asks a kid if he likes fried chicken, and his skin color is of a certain hue then she really shouldn’t ask him, even if the reason is because she wants to invite him over to eat and we’re having fried chicken that night.

    I hope this rambling makes sense. All I can do is the best I can do and hope the spirit guides her in the rest.

    1. I know what you mean, to take offense when none was intended. There are things that children are going to do in complete innocence, and they should be given the room to be kids. I can totally understand not wanting to grow your children up too quickly, and giving them age appropriate talks. Keep in mind, we want to be able to keep little brown boys and girls innocent too. If we all contribute and are open, then everyone wins. I think you are certainly trying to do your best, and all of parents worry! I am coming up with some age appropriate things I have taught my children, I am happy to share it with you when I am finished. Thanks for coming to the table in this discussion. Hopefully we all keep talking. That’s awesome!

  113. Dawn, I am SOOO sorry this has happened to you and your son and all those who care for y’all. I will stand AND kneel with you if ever I can in person and am doing so now in spirit as your sister. May God continue to use your words and love to fight His good fight. My heart hurts for y’all’s pain. 😞

  114. What a strong young man you have raised. Excellent job to both of you. That said, I am one of those white people who are shocked and sickened by the abuse he received. I will look for more ways to speak up so that my brothers and sisters who are not white know that I see the problem. Thank you. <3

  115. All I can say is…what the hell is wrong with people?! I doing such things would never even enter my mind so I thought most other people wouldn’t do them either! I thought most people we decent, now I just don’t know. All I know is that if I had ever done any of those things to another kid my parents would have tanned my hide! Good grief! Sounds like you are a strong mama who is doing an amazing job raising your kids and I hope I can be as good a mom and raise my kids to respect everyone. We are all God’s children, now shape up and act like it folks.

  116. as the mom of a black daughter THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. She has been shamed and made fun of so much for looking different that it gets exhausting.

  117. I want to talk about Anthony. Not about if people are prejudiced. Some are and some are not. I and my husband had the privilege of serving alongside Anthony in the South Africa Durban Mission. I saw him serve with love and understanding towards his companion who needed to be in the hospital for several days more than once. He truly was Christlike in his concern and care. We have seen him several times since he returned home including attending a talk he gave in Salt Lake City. It was marvelous……
    Mom, well done thou faithful servant. You and your family raised a wonderful young man.

  118. This post was beautifully written. I feel at a loss for words right now, because I am so deeply saddened to hear about what Anthony had to endure (and the heartbreak it caused you, as his mother) . I have loved your family since seeing your story on Meet the Mormons. It resonated with me to the softest part of my heart. I too was a single mother with 3 children. If there was one thing I wanted more than anything, it was for my children to grow up understanding their infinite worth. It blows my mind to read some of these comments from people thinking that because their experiences have been different from yours- that yours could not possibly be real. It seriously BLOWS. MY. MIND.
    I’m a survivor of abuse, rape, and an attempted murder. It is the first thing I thought of when I read someone’s doubt of your experiences with racism. It is the same as someone saying abuse, rape and attempted murder never happened to me, because it never happened to them, or their kids. That’s absurd thinking–I’m sorry. Evil happens, and count your lucky stars if you are able to escape it.
    This was not a post about all of the injustices in the world–this was a post about a mother sharing her experiences in raising a black son– and she is making us aware that YES, racism is still an issue today- with SOME. Not everyone- but some. And if we see racism happening, we can do something to help, by standing up and speaking out. True, we can do this with any injustice we see. But I thank Dawn for sharing this with us, because it is never easy opening up with something so close to the heart (which has also been painful), only to have a bunch of strangers criticize and misjudge. Thank you for sharing this, Dawn. It has been eye-opening for me. You have done a phenomenal job trusting the Lord and raising a fabulous family. Way to be an advocate for your son. Anthony is an amazing young man. I would be happy for any of my children to be friends and teammates with him. What an example he is.

  119. Thank you so much for writing this article. (I instantly recognized your family from the “Meet the Mormons” movie!) I have so much love for you and your family! I wish I could reverse all the terrible things that your son has gone through. My wife and I (who are white) are trying to adopt and are open to children of any color. If we do end up adopting a child of another race, I feel like I’m just a little bit closer at preparing myself for what we will likely face together. God bless you and your family.

  120. You are such a good mom. I love the part where you said, “I couldn’t afford for my son to see me flinch.”

  121. I met Anthony at my son’s wedding. They were roommates at BYU. I hope your son always felt equal and loved around my son. I know my son learned a lot from Anthony. I pray we will all recognize our equality and show love and kindness to all God’s children!

  122. Wow, I was shocked to read some of the words and experiences that your boy endured growing up. I was more shocked to see that he was a “Hawk”, and this is something that happened “in our neighborhood”. I am going to talk with my kids about these specific experiences to make sure they know that racial slurs and comments are wrong. It also makes me think of all the kids that endure bullying (many of which were mentioned in the comments) and makes me feel the importance of raising kind children.

  123. I know you’ve already received lots of comments, but I just wanted to express my thanks along with the rest for sharing your experience. Thank you for your courage to share and be vulnerable as well as remind us all of how we can and should be doing better to fight the plague of racism. <3

  124. I LOVE you!!!! This article is amazing and 99.5% of what I tell people. Im black and white.

  125. Interesting.We have one family we know LDS . She’s white married to a black guy. I’m sure they’ve had their struggles.Another family we know adopted. two mixed race black kids. They recently had a cross burned on their lawn and people dressed up like the kkk. They live in a small town in Iowa and are LDS. These were folks they thought were friends who did this. What makes me mad is a few of the families who’s kids did this to them , have lawyers and are trying to fight it saying it was a joke . The kids involved did get suspensions and kicked off their teams.

  126. Thank you for sharing this–what an eye-opening message. Blessings on both you and your son.

  127. Way to go Dawn. Boy are people behind a keyboard gonna have a hay day with this one 😉 What I think your motives are (as they should be) are reminding people about hurts and forgiveness. Even setting skin colors aside, I know Jesus Christ has asked us to all forgive our neighbors. It’s required of us, so that we too may be forgiven. I can’t tell you how many ecclesiastical leaders (Bishops and Stake President) that have handled situations outside of the handbook…and it has adversely and permanently affected ME. To me, that’s downright wrong not only because it’s against honor code but there is a handbook for a reason!! I know sexual abusers who’ve been let off. Adulterers who’ve never been punished. Physical abusers who weren’t even given a slap on the wrist. I carried a lot of hate and anger around because I felt the person in charge wasn’t dealing out the “Churches policies on discipline as found in our handbook”. I was later admonished by my dad to not judge. Boy is that hard. I have been hurt and hurt by these people and I never saw any discipline—on top of it I lost faith in church leaders who are called and set apart o govern their flocks. Just like you’ve faced Injustice, based on race, so many others face huge injustices and it’s just a BIG TIME SUCK. Thanks to the “last days”. I hope and pray we all learn to forgive and can bear one another’s burdens. To lean on those that support us and avoid those that don’t. Can you imagine sitting in the pew next to the family who’s young Deacon forced your primary age daughter to perform oral sex on him, and who neither boy nor parent faced any discipline? I personally faced church discipline while my husband (now an ex husband) faced none for being a porn addict and adulterer, and he was going to be sealed to his new spouse before I was!! The sins of our world are out of control, from racism to breaking the laws of chastity and tithing and honesty etc….I know part of God’s plan for ME is to be refined by my obstacles. They will work together for my good even if I don’t like it or see if right now, and I have a testimony that offenders will be held accountable ETERNALLY at the Pearly Gates of judgment whether or not they are disciplined here.
    Crazy things happen in this world….so most of the time if I can’t forgive it, I stay far far away from it. I hope that isn’t “silence” in your eyes. I support you in your efforts to educate. You’re a fantastic mom!!

  128. Thank you for your words and perspective. It helps us all to hear different sides. God bless

  129. BLACK AND WHITE
    I laugh just like you,
    I cry and feel pain,
    When you touch my skin
    we feel just the same.
    But you were born black
    and I was born white;
    our prejudice formed
    because of our sight.
    But if you were blind,
    and I couldn’t see,
    just think of how nice
    our friendship could be.

    © Forrest Phelps-Cook

  130. I have to admit that up until my brother in law joined our family I was nervous being around black people. I never wanted to offend them and I didn’t know how to act. Having a black brother in law and half black nieces have helped me to feel more comfortable and love them regardless of what color they are. I have seen people’s reactions to them and it’s ridiculous! We went to Walmart and I saw an older man in a wheel chair look at my sister and her family with an angry look. I think the younger generation is more accepting but we also need to keep teaching that we are all children of God. Thanks for your blog it was very enlightening.

  131. I remember my black son always wondering why the people never noticed him or said Good morning in the elevator in Manhattan on our way down from the 20th Floor Apartment. Every person that got on from each floor said hello to my white blond child. One day I went into my sons room and he was covered in baby powder. I asked why he did that, he said he wanted to be like his brother! I still get tears in my eyes when I remember that day!

  132. Thank god you wrote this.
    I ran a Girl Scout troop at the school I was assigned to – happened to mostly have black students, so almost all my Girl Scouts were black. The reactions we got at Girl Scout events was shocking. People would say “why are THEY here?” at Girl Scout events – would say this even to their leaders, who would not correct them. I had a leader actually confront me at the G.S. campground, because she didn’t think we were a troop. It was awful. Yet every time I told anyone, they acted like this was crazy, to the point where I began to wonder if I was losing my mind. Yet we’d go to the next event and it would happen AGAIN. Different troops, different leaders, but everywhere we went they assumed we couldn’t possibly be a troop because the girls were black. I feel like I’ve been shouting about this into an abyss until now. Thank you.

  133. Preach !!!!!!!!!!!!
    I live in Canada & have experienced much the same.
    I was raised to see goodness , not color so when I married my husband I never thought any of this would happen.
    I am LDS as well, but for us church was a safe place , in sorry you experienced that.
    Your not alone , thank you for this.

  134. Any unkindness and bullying is is not good but there is only so much that trying to get other people to change attitudes can do.

    If you have a child who is a loner, an introvert, they might also be facing social angst that I do not think Anthony has to-he seems well adjusted to me.

    With kids their peer group is most important and sometimes who you leave out is as important as who you ask in? Socio-economic status divides every bit as race could. Anthony was so appealing in the Meet the Mormons video and how good it looked that an unwed mother of two black kids could “find redemption” , acceptance and a seemingly good life. How many others would have loved to come into that life?

    While, on the other hand, now this article could give the perception of racism running amuck in the church? LDS-Utah conflated in public mind . I just first met Anthony in the video the day before I first read this article and thought how easy he could marry in race of his choice. Then reading this article–what a downer. Back to square one-the fairy tale over.

    But the author is a writer and an exceptional person who seems to have made her own fate or happy ending? So would one conclude that it is better or worse to adopt or marry within ones own race, religion, or social status? I think social status might be the largest hurdle. (Since I am on the bottom) How many hurts there? How many rejections? How hard to marry up? The city of Enoch on earth is not here yet?

  135. “In the end, I will not remember the screams of the enemies, but the silence of my friends”!
    MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

  136. Your blog post is just an amazing story of God’s love – YOU are an amazing mother. You have taught your children beautiful values and instilled self-worth in them. I was stung by the fact that people would do and say such things to such a beautiful human being. Your son is beautiful. He is smart, he is strong, and he was raised well. Much better than those you had to chastise. They, sadly, were not raised well. And I can’t imagine having to be in Church with people who know our God and Christ love ALL people. They were – sadly – not being true to what Jesus taught. Why would we have so many temples in so many places, reaching out to all people if all people are not to be valued? Thank you for your story. Hopefully it has opened some eyes. I remember I had one AA young man in my class. His football “Buddy” began to making semi-racist remarks. I stopped him and the AA young man said “He’s just joking.” After class I took the white young man into my office. He said “I’m just kidding, he knows it. I love him. He’s my bro!” And I said “Maybe he brushes it off and acts like he doesn’t care; but do you really think that is something a real friend should do?” He thought for awhile and said “I guess not.” Some of these young men really don’t get it; they think it’s a joke or “guy stuff” and they do not know the pain they cause, for the AA young men – or any one- who just “Shrugs and brushes it off.” God Bless you and you beautiful family!

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