When I was a young girl, I remember a family in our community who fostered and adopted eight children, many of which were Native American. We were told they were orphans with no family, or family who were alcoholics/drug addicts, and were living in an orphanage without anybody who was suitable to raise them. A couple of the children were sent back to the reservation late in the adoption process because the lawyers representing distant family members they found from the reservation petitioned the court to remand custody back to them. I remember hearing about laws in place that made it impossible for people to adopt these children if the adoption was contested. At the time, I found that horrifying but in the opposite way I see it today. At the time, it felt like they were sending these innocent (and very loved) children to a place of deep poverty, alcoholism and drug addiction and not allowing them to grow up in a very wonderful home with every amenity and comfort. Over the years and working with a lot of people from various backgrounds, I have seen things differently. I have known many families who have adopted children that are from different racial and ethnic backgrounds than they are, and seen them try hard to educate themselves and their children about their heritage. I have known adopted people raised in a multi-cultural family who always (and still) feel extremely loved by their adoptive families, but always felt like a piece was missing, and like there was always something that didn't quite fit. After watching the video of the people who were adopted and learning about the historical background of these adoptions, it was very eye opening. The woman they interviewed who said that her life was similar to putting together a large puzzle and finding a piece missing really resonated with me.
The propaganda I have seen through history, as shown in the Jim Crow Museum, is horrifying. I have seen a lot of these things, as when I was growing up in the 70s, didn't think anything of it. However, as I grew up, I started questioning the message that seemed to be behind the pictures. The exaggerated features, the look of fear or hate, the mocking of appearance, and the continual portrayal of criminality or poverty is something that shapes the stereotypes that exist. I think the current state of companies changing long-standing logos to eliminate certain names or graphic designs is due to society finally putting enough pressure on them to change. There is still a long way to go.