For this assignment I was asked to imagine an experiencing one or more “isms” in my personal life and how it would affect myself and my work with young children and their families. I chose to use an experience I have recently had that fits these requirements instead of imagining one.
In the past year I faced aspects of racism and able-ism from both family members and friends. My husband and I were in the process of adopting our first child. Through this journey we were very open with others that we were adopting and we were not specifying an ethnicity. Further, we were not against adopting a child with certain medical diagnosis or needs. Through our journey we encountered remarks by people who did not agree with us adopting outside of our own race or accepting certain medical conditions. There were people (both close to heart and mere strangers) who were very vocal about their opinions on our adoption choices. As a consequence to the racism and able-ism I experienced I became devastated. Emotionally I was hurt that when I had trouble having my own child people would think other children were not “worth” being adopted. Physically, I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I felt like one of the happiest times in my life was becoming a controversial time.
These feelings did carry over into my work with children and families within my care. It caused my mind to be heavy instead of fully focusing on the children as I should have been for that time. Further, I became more emotional when dealing with some situations of drugs and neglect with one of my students. I found myself spending more one on one time focused on this child. I also found I had more patience with this child. I had a much harder time collaborating and forming a partnership with this child’s family because of my own struggles of adoption and my desire to care for their child as he deserved to be cared for. I know I did not work as nicely as I should have during this time because of my experiences. The prejudice I experienced from others ironically led to me being prejudice towards this particular family and other families that I felt were not caring for their child as I felt they should have been. Thus, the partnerships I had with families suffered during this time.
This experience showed me how easily ones prejudice or stereotypes against you can lead to you forming prejudice and stereotypes against others. It made me reflect on how I was treating others and whether or not I was judging people and their actions when I should not have been!