I Forget My Son Is Black Until We Are in Public

I don’t how to say this in a politically correct way, so I’ll just say it how I see it:

I forget my son is black until we are in public.

I’m not exaggerating.  I’m not trying to be spiritual.  It’s just the way it is.  When I go home at 5:00 today, I will have two boys run to the door to give my hugs and kisses.  When I see them, all I see is my two sons.  I don’t see one as black, one as white.  I don’t see one as adopted, one as biological.  They are simply my sons.  It is amazing how God works in your heart.

I see it that way.  But not everyone else does.  It’s interesting to me.  I will get the boys out of their car seats, and we will walk into a restaurant and all of a sudden the stares of other people remind me: your family is different.  And then I remember.

The stares are different.  Not all stares mean the same thing.

  1. The Confused Stare – “Maybe these boys are just friends, but they are wearing the same clothes.  How can this be?”
  2. The Disapproving Stare – “That just ain’t right” (these stares come from people regardless of race – you might be surprised).
  3. The Blank Stare – “Huh? Why is that white man holding that black child’s hand?”
  4. The Accepting Stare – “I don’t know how this happened or your story, but I think that is right on.”

We don’t mind the stares.  We have gotten used to them.  If our family encourages people or challenges them to think, that is a good thing.

I only concern myself with certain stares.  I am concerned with the stares from my boys.

When they stare at me, they see their daddy.  Not their white daddy, I am simply their daddy.  I want my wife to stare at me with trusting eyes.  I want my Father to stare at me and see a servant with whom He is pleased.

And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

If you obsess to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?  Or am I striving to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” -Gal. 1:10.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.

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31 Comments

  1. D'Gee Carp

    I honestly believe ppl are envious of your spirit and ur faith….your two sons are amazingly handsome and have an amazing father and mother whose hearts are,filled with love….there will always be ignorance among the WORLD but strong men and women like you and your wife will produce intellegent beings

  2. Ashley Frazier Hodges

    Travis, I think it is awesome that your family is different. It takes a strong family to accept all the different types of stares you get, and yall are a true inspiration.

  3. Travis Agnew

    Do you think racism still exists

  4. Joyce Smith Hendricks

    Sadly

  5. Michelle Kemp

    Unfortunately, yes it does still exist today. But if everyone would choose to see things the way you see things, the way our Father sees things, then there would be no racism. I think that our world needs more families like your precious little family. When we love people simply because they are people and not because of anything else, then we can truly break down the w

  6. Ashley Linne

    I've often wondered about this phenomenon, especially here in the south. I grew up out west where diversity seems to be more accepted, or maybe I was just naive and thought i

  7. Eddie Hodges

    I feel racism is even more present now than it was when I was younger, but I have learned if you open your heart up to everyone in the same light they see you as an equal being, its when you step outside the "box" and do something "different" in a positive light that it truly takes you back & makes you think about the past more in debtly. Thanks for what you have done Travis! Your 2 gentlemen are absolutely awe

  8. Kimberly Fober Yates

    I spent 3 weeks in Ghana my junior year of college and I would forget I was white until I would see another white person and think, "What are THEY doing here?" That and the children running after me in the street yelling "obroni" which means white 🙂 I do think racism still exists, but even if it didn't we would still notice when people of different skin tones are together. The family I stayed with in Ghana had a 5yo little boy and he would just look at me with the oddest expression and once he put his hand next to mine and just looked back and forth at our hands. He wasn't being racist, but he certainly saw we looked diff

  9. Anthony A. Gravley

    dude!!! what?!??!?? ummm.. Obi's BLACK???!!!! ! oh… wait. lol 🙂 love me some agnews. all shades and flav

  10. D'Gee Carp

    I honestly believe ppl are envious of your spirit and ur faith….your two sons are amazingly handsome and have an amazing father and mother whose hearts are,filled with love….there will always be ignorance among the WORLD but strong men and women like you and your wife will produce intellegent

  11. Anna Key Williams

    Racism seems to be worse today. And even if there wasn't racism, we would still notice our differences, be it skin color or otherwise. And I think it is more about attitude than different c

  12. Corletta Brown

    I get it. I forget that my husband and I are "different" until I'm reminded by those same stares. Travis, this letter really hits

  13. Kate Byars McKinney

    I think I've mentioned to you before that I forget that my children are a rainbow, too :). One time I read an article that said that if you don't have certain allergies, there's a better chance that your children won't either. At that point we just had our girls. I was like, "James! You should read this! The girls probably won't have any allergies since we don't!" He was like, "Um, Kate… they're adopted." I had forgotten! I get the stares, too. The irony is, I usually get the "ugly" stares when I'm alone- the "you've been getting around, haven't you?" stares. When James and I are together we generally get lots of smiles and questions. Though at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago someone asked if we were babysitting :). We are kind of young to be going on 6, I guess. I'm like you- I don't get angry, I'm just glad for the chance to challenge people's views and educated others on how love is (or should be) colorblind. I love, love, love all of my sweet children and am so blessed that God chose me to be their mommy. I hope this isn't the end of our adoption or birth road. 🙂 Give those cute boys a kiss f

  14. Ashley Frazier

    Travis, I think it is awesome that your family is different. It takes a strong family to accept all the different types of stares you get, and yall are a true inspira

  15. Do you think racism still exists today?

    • Tressa (Mama Howle)

      I hate to say it but yes. I have the same problems when I go out. People can be so rude. I have been asked what race is she to is she your daughter. There are alot of children out there that need a family. They did not ask to be born or what color they wanted to be. They are God’s children. Made by His design. They all need a loving family. I am blessed to have her in my life and I praise God for putting her in my life. Don’t let it bother you. Know that you are a father to two wonderful boys. God Bless!

  16. Unfortunately, yes it does still exist today. But if everyone would choose to see things the way you see things, the way our Father sees things, then there would be no racism. I think that our world needs more families like your precious little family. When we love people simply because they are people and not because of anything else, then we can truly break down the walls.

  17. I've often wondered about this phenomenon, especially here in the south. I grew up out west where diversity seems to be more accepted, or maybe I was just naive and thought it was!

  18. I feel racism is even more present now than it was when I was younger, but I have learned if you open your heart up to everyone in the same light they see you as an equal being, its when you step outside the "box" and do something "different" in a positive light that it truly takes you back & makes you think about the past more in debtly. Thanks for what you have done Travis! Your 2 gentlemen are absolutely awesome!!

  19. I spent 3 weeks in Ghana my junior year of college and I would forget I was white until I would see another white person and think, "What are THEY doing here?" That and the children running after me in the street yelling "obroni" which means white 🙂 I do think racism still exists, but even if it didn't we would still notice when people of different skin tones are together. The family I stayed with in Ghana had a 5yo little boy and he would just look at me with the oddest expression and once he put his hand next to mine and just looked back and forth at our hands. He wasn't being racist, but he certainly saw we looked different.

  20. dude!!! what?!??!?? ummm.. Obi's BLACK???!!!! ! oh… wait. lol 🙂 love me some agnews. all shades and flavas. 🙂

  21. I honestly believe ppl are envious of your spirit and ur faith….your two sons are amazingly handsome and have an amazing father and mother whose hearts are,filled with love….there will always be ignorance among the WORLD but strong men and women like you and your wife will produce intellegent beings

  22. Racism seems to be worse today. And even if there wasn't racism, we would still notice our differences, be it skin color or otherwise. And I think it is more about attitude than different colors.

  23. I get it. I forget that my husband and I are "different" until I'm reminded by those same stares. Travis, this letter really hits home.

  24. I think I've mentioned to you before that I forget that my children are a rainbow, too :). One time I read an article that said that if you don't have certain allergies, there's a better chance that your children won't either. At that point we just had our girls. I was like, "James! You should read this! The girls probably won't have any allergies since we don't!" He was like, "Um, Kate… they're adopted." I had forgotten! I get the stares, too. The irony is, I usually get the "ugly" stares when I'm alone- the "you've been getting around, haven't you?" stares. When James and I are together we generally get lots of smiles and questions. Though at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago someone asked if we were babysitting :). We are kind of young to be going on 6, I guess. I'm like you- I don't get angry, I'm just glad for the chance to challenge people's views and educated others on how love is (or should be) colorblind. I love, love, love all of my sweet children and am so blessed that God chose me to be their mommy. I hope this isn't the end of our adoption or birth road. 🙂 Give those cute boys a kiss for me.

  25. Travis, I think it is awesome that your family is different. It takes a strong family to accept all the different types of stares you get, and yall are a true inspiration.

  26. John Alexander

    Unfortunately yes….. I like to watch people’s reaction to our family… you can tell a lot about them that way. If my 15 year old daughter is carrying our two year old around… she gets some pretty dirty looks… people assume that because these two young ladies are of different races that my 15 year old has a child… when in fact they are sisters… If it is my wife and two year old… people assume that she is a product of a interracial marriage… and there are more dirty looks… If it is my wife and all three of our kids… much the same. However, If all of us go out together, a reasonable person might guess adoption was involved… but interestingly enough, we still get funny looks because one of us is not white…. Racism is alive and rampant… Thankfully, so is common sense… and by the Grace of God, some people actually refrain from judging or at least refrain from outwardly showing it. I just wish this was the rule and not the exception.

  27. Brian King

    Absolutely racism is present today. However, most of us just want to move on and the knuckleheads keep dragging us back down the same road. I really think, though, that a lot of the racism present today is more cultural-based than skin color-based.

    Trav, you guys rock. That little boy has already started doing what God has called him to do. You changed his life – and he has certainly changed yours. Now he’s starting to change the lives of people around him who have never met him.

  28. terry willard

    “Black is Beautiful” took on a hole new meaning for me. He calls me B-Pa,
    I call him Grandson.

  29. Justin M.

    lol, I remember when I was younger, and my parents, siblings, and I went through the same. I learned to filter the stares, like you have. You can really tell when someone is really unimpressed with it though by the amount of time and the length they stare (as well as the look on their face).

    But some people look out of fascination, those are fun too!

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