Maybe Racism Is Just Goodwill

Re "Sometimes Racism Hides Behind Friendly Curiosity" (April 13): There is something deeply troubling about the contention that refusing to answer even innocent questions or comments from strangers about one's transracial adopted children is beneficial because this teaches the children to protect "personal boundaries" and may "prepare them to deal with the more overt forms of racism they will encounter as they grow up." The author also wonders if compliments about her child's "beautiful almond eyes" are malignant because they may undermine an adopted child's "sense of belonging to the family."

It seems to me that overlooking obvious goodwill from strangers, while choosing rather to focus on the racism that may lurk behind such pleasantries, pitifully increases our alienation from one another. Rather than "boundaries," it teaches kids to be suspicious and rude.

Most of us in this incredibly rapidly changing society are trying to keep up, but sometimes stumble into someone else's hypersensitive zone. I think we could all use a little generosity of spirit in this regard.



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