Post Goes Viral: ‘To the White Parents of my Black Son’s Friends’

It took just a day for Maralee Bradley’s post on her parenting blog to elicit hundreds of comments and hundreds of thousands of hits. As the mother of six children—four of them adopted, Maralee juggles schedules, meals, fun, and emotions on a daily basis.

One of her children, 9-year-old Josh, spent the better part of the first year of his life in an orphanage in Liberia. He is black, some of his siblings are mixed race, and others are white. He’s growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and has the life of a typical 9-year-old.

But Josh has already battled racism. His parents and teachers have taken action to stop the name-calling and unkind words heaped upon Josh by the child at the desk next to him.

Maralee hopes that the parents of her son’s friends, as well as parents everywhere, will understand that “as much as we can try to protect him and teach him to protect himself, there may come a time when your child will be involved. As the parents of the white friend of my black son, I need you to be talking to your child about racism. I need you to be talking about the assumptions other people might make about my son. I need you to talk to your child about what they would do if they saw injustice happening.”

The comments popping up on Maralee’s post are varied.  While there is lots of support for her words, and parents who are feeling the call to action, others are responding in a negative way.  “The response from strangers was mixed. They accused her of being overly sensitive and ignorant and entitled,” wrote Cindy Lange-Kubick of the Journal Star.

Maralee’s words even caught the attention of Washington Post Columnist Lonnae O’Neal , who asked Maralee who she hoped to reach with this blog post. “Literally, I wanted 50 people to know this information. But it obviously touched a nerve with a lot more people than that.”

For the Bradley family, communication about hard things is essential. Maralee hopes that will become the norm for families everywhere.