White Mom, Black Son, barbershop revelations

Kathy Osborne
Greensboro, NC

Trans-racial adoption has given me new eyes regarding race. I am Caucasian, my son is multi-racial but appears black to the world. I have attempted to provide the “Black Barbershop” experience for him, thinking he would be getting this cultural exposure if he lived in a traditional family, raised by Black parents. As it turns out, I am probably the one who has received the most “cultural enlightenment” . Taking him for a haircut has resulted in me finding myself in one of those rare experiences where I am in the racial minority in a group. It is from that experience that I allow myself to try and imagine the sense that someone in an ethnic minority must experience on a daily basis. At times, I am looked at with suspicion. I have been asked if I am his foster mother. I have waited for over an hour for his “turn” until no customers remained in the store, only to have the barber ask me if he was there for a haircut. What a curious world we live in.


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