Archive for the ‘happiness’ Category

I Am Black (sort of)

October 16, 2017

You wouldn’t know it to look at me. My race is Caucasian and my skin doesn’t have much color to it. I don’t have any African-American heritage. And I’m not just black. There are a few other races mixed in there as well.

Let me explain. Thirty years ago, my wife and I adopted a newborn little girl who happened to be African-American. Her skin is the color of fine milk chocolate and her hair is as kinky as kinky can get. We fell in love with her right away. Adopting her ended nine years of failed attempts to have a child naturally. Just five months later, we adopted another baby. This one is half Hispanic. Several years later, we adopted a little boy who is part black, part Pacific Islander. So we have a variety of races in our family.

Shortly after we adopted our first little girl (who is now very tall and beautiful), we experienced a very eye-opening incident. We were walking in a mall on our way to see a movie and a young man started talking to us. I don’t know what his problem was but he started spouting all of these racial slurs against black people. I felt an interesting reaction. I was very offended. Not just for my daughter or for all people of color, but for myself. My daughter had become a part of me. So in a way, I had become part black. So when he was insulting black people, he was insulting me as well! I told him in no uncertain terms that I didn’t appreciate his remarks.

I’ve thought about it many times since. My children are a part of me, even though they aren’t related to me biologically. That makes me part white, part black, part Latino, and part Pacific Islander. But it goes further than that. I believe that everyone on this planet is my brother or sister. That’s not just mushy poetic talk. I believe we’re all children of one Heavenly Father. I believe that spiritually, as well as going way back in genealogy, we’re all related. Everyone of every race is a part of me.

I wasn’t raised to be racist. So I don’t understand racism. I realize that even those who are racist are my brothers and sisters as well. But I just don’t get it. I really thought that the people of the United States had risen above racism. I know there are still individuals who are struggling with it, but I didn’t think that organizations would still rise up against people of other races, like we’re seeing now. I don’t understand how someone would think that they’re better than someone else simply because of the color of their skin or their heritage.

Racism is based on hatred. Whether a person feels that their hatred is justified or not, it’s a very destructive emotion. It not only hurts others, including society itself, it can lead to violence and other destructive actions. And it goes deeper than that. Strong negative emotions, especially hatred, tear us up inside. They rob us of both health and happiness. As a doctor and someone who works with emotions quite a bit, I’ve seen what these emotions can do to people. So it isn’t just about “being nice”. It’s about your own health and well-being. Even if you feel a certain satisfaction in “justifiably” feeling hatred toward someone, it can still be very destructive.

As my wife always says, “everyone just needs to play nice”. Forgiveness and gratitude can bring you much greater happiness than feelings of hatred. We’re all related in some way. So try to feel more love and empathy toward others, including people of other races or ethnic origins.

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