Mind your family’s business

Josie Lorenz | The Chronicle

Race was not something that was very important to a five-year-old me. Yes, I knew of it, and I understood it to an extent, but I did not think it could ever really affect me or my family.

Apparently, I was wrong, because as I grew up, I saw that race was very important to nearly everyone that had ever interacted with my family. 

I come from a beautiful family of eight. My mom, dad, older sister and brother, and I all happen to be white. My two younger sisters happen to be black, and my younger brother is multiracial. I never thought this mattered. After all, my family was my family. What we looked like should not concern the couple walking past us in a Chipotle parking lot or the group of teenagers hanging out at the park.

But it did. Whether it was a quizzical look from the Chipotle passersby or snickers from the immature adolescents at the park, race always seemed to matter.

My life and my siblings’ lives have been filled with numerous questions about our family–our business. 

“Are they really your siblings?” strangers ask. “Which one of you is adopted?” they pry.

When people ask so many unwelcome questions, it is like they forget who they are talking to. Suddenly, instead of a young girl who just wanted to hang out with her family, I became an object of curiosity.

See, this is where I wonder, is it like this for other situations? Perhaps a white child adopted into a white family? Because I would surely see asking about that situation as an intrusion. What makes my family different? Google has all of your answers on how a family can look like mine. So I guess I am asking, why do you care what my family’s exact, detailed situation is? 

I do understand the curiosity. But, you have to see how frustrating it can be for those on the other side of it, constantly being questioned while living their daily life.

Making impressionable young children and teens question the legitimacy of their loving family because of their race is an act that I cannot fathom justifying. I have seen the effects it has on my young sibling’s mental health. It is so easy to take your curiosity elsewhere, so please, mind your own business.