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White Oklahoma Woman Says She Raised Her Adopted African Daughters To Be ‘Americans’ — Not ‘Black Girls’

A white Oklahoma woman drew the ire of social media critics this week after penning an essay explaining her decision to raise her two adopted African daughters as Americans — not “African-Americans” or “Black girls.” Simply Americans.

In a recent op-ed for conservative magazine The Federalist, Jenni White used the death of McKenzie Adams, the 10-year-old Alabama girl who hanged herself after constant racist bullying by her peers over her friendship with a white student, to justify bringing up her daughters without immersing them in their Black/African culture.

Jenni White

Jenni White thought it was unimportant to immerse her adoptive African daughters in Black culture, saying she raised the girls not to “see” color. (Image courtesy of The Federalist)

“Why in the world would I raise my girls to look for specters in shadows?,” White wrote in an essay titled, “The Worst Racism My Children Ever Experienced Came from Black Peers.” “Why would I raise them to identify with a specific race as if being members of the human race weren’t enough?”

“Yes, my daughters are from Africa, [Zambia, specifically] and they communicate with their family there regularly,” she continued. “But once we adopted them, and landed in America  together, they became Americans — not African-Americans, not Black girls … but girls who would grow up in a nation where they were afforded the opportunity to become anything they wanted to become.”

White then recalled a conversation she had with her pastor, who is Black, and who stressed to her the importance of teaching the girls, who were 2 and 6 at the time, about the Black experience, encouraging her to buy subscriptions to Black magazines and to have the girls watch Black movies and TV programs.

A “fuming” White shrugged off the suggestions, however, and informed the pastor that she was raising her children not to “see” color.

“She veritably assured me that, as a white woman, I couldn’t be expected to understand the ‘black experience’ in America,” she opined.” She believed my thought process unfortunate because my ‘whiteness’ couldn’t process the fact that the girls’ fate would always balance at the pinnacle of someone else’s prejudicial small-mindedness.”

White took her argument a step further and credited the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. for her “colorblindness.”

“It was up to me to make them vigilant of the discrimination that would surely come their way,” White added.

Twitter users had a lot to say on the matter and slammed the Oklahoma educator for her ignorance and failure to educate her daughters, now 16 and 21, and assimilate them into the Black culture.

“So let me get this straight — this white woman refuses to admit that her adopted black children might ever have a different American experience than the one that she wants them to have?” one man wrote.

“Oh dear . . . These parents are doing a number on those kids. Sigh,” another chimed in.

One user lauded the Black pastor’s advice, saying it was “on the money” and adding that “America will remind your daughters that they are black, and it will do so through racism.”

“I find it shameful that you’re unwilling to prepare your daughters for the ills they will face,” they continued.

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