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Yo, this is urban philosopher, philanthropist and the host of the Recession podcast, a production of the Black Effect podcast network and I Heart Radio, I'll bring you real conversations about systemic racism, mental health, life on the streets and much more. So join me on the Recession podcast by Jay-Z. S r e. S e s. S i o. N podcast on the radio app, Apple podcast or whatever you prefer.


Your podcast on September 17th, 2009.


Twenty four year old MIT Chris Richardson disappeared without a trace in the woods near Malibu, California, and was never seen alive again. I'm Catherine Townsend, host of the podcast Houngan, we're going to try to find out what really happened to my Chris Richardson School of Humans and I heart radio present. Helen, season three, listen to hell. And gone on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey, Fahim, I'm Jada Pinkett Smith, and this is the Red Tablecloth podcast, all your favorite episodes from the Facebook Watch show in audio produced by Westbrooke Audio and I Heart Radio.


Please don't forget to write and review on Apple podcasts on this red table talk.


She was adopted by white parents in an all white town. I don't identify with black folks and I'm not comfortable even sitting at this table with you now, she says she feels lost between two races.


I have no sense of strong identity without knowing my culture. How am I supposed to raise a black child if I don't know black culture? Well, if you're trying to counsel other people on how to do it, counsel yourself.


And then an emotional reunion with her birth mother is an overwhelming moment sitting in between parents. Yeah.


Willow, how do you think you would feel if you have been adopted by a white family?


I literally have zero idea, really, about you, how I was raised.


I've always been a very strong proponent for black children being raised in black families.


I know how difficult it was trying to go to all white private schools. So I would imagine that being raised by a white family would be.


I mean, I guess living in Calabasas, there's. Yeah, but you could we were growing up like so many. Yeah, exactly. But you know where you are, don't try it. But being young and going out and basically only seeing white people, that's my experience. And your mother made sure that you went to school with black child. Exactly. Even if she had to create the school, her dad myself. Which I did. Yeah.


All right. Well, let's go let's go talk to the Miss Angela and hear her story.


So this is going to be a fascinating conversation, Angela Tucker, a black woman who was adopted by a white family, is at the table today.


Angela's birth mother, Deborah, was homeless and in poor health, barely able to take care of herself, let alone her newborn baby who was just diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy.


Even though it tore her apart, Deborah made the agonizing decision to give Angela up.


She was adopted by a white couple eager to give her a good life and to take care of her medical needs. They moved Angela into their home, and they're all white town.


Angela says she loves her family, but as she grew up disconnected from black culture, and that has left her feeling more white than black. Now Angela is using what she has learned in her personal struggle to help families navigate the challenges of trans racial adoptions. I was embarrassed. You know, I didn't look like my parents. I look different. My eyes are different. My skin tone is different. People knew I was different. You were adopted. You were 13 months.


Yes, OK. Just over a year old. And what was it like growing up in this all white town and having white parents?


I have no sense of strong identity. Being a trans racial adoptee, it's really difficult to share what we really feel because we have parents who raised us and love us and we don't want to appear that we did. We're not grateful for what they've done is right.


For me to talk about trans racial adoption honestly is to hurt somebody.


I understand that keeping me alive and prioritizing my medical needs was really important. And look, I'm alive today. I'm alive, but dead inside in some ways without knowing my culture and not being connected. Right. So for me, I don't feel like trans racial adoption is the right solution, because essentially we're asking me as a black woman to assimilate into white culture, but to also keep my blackness somehow, even though I wasn't raised within it. Right.


People often don't admit this, but a lot of black trans racial adoptees look in the mirror and are surprised when we look in the mirror and see a black person because we're so used to seeing white people and we see our parents and they're white and we love them.


And so then when we see ourselves like, oh, yeah, I'm black, right. As a black woman, where do you feel most comfortable?


Where I fit in, where I feel like I actually belong is with other trans racial adoptees. I feel like white people are comfortable around me. I'm comfortable with white people. It's not that I. I don't want to identify as a black woman. Right. But not growing up with black culture and feeling fear, when I met my birth mother and my whole birth family, I was a little bit afraid to meet them because they're a black family and I haven't been around that.


And so exactly. I can't consider it was like alien to you, like, completely unknown. It was. And therefore kind of scary.


But then at the same time, I was like, this is my family and why am I afraid of my own family?


But I don't identify with black folks because I, I feel my own sense of fear or like illegitimacy is how I feel even sitting at this table with you, because I feel like you three are legitimate black people because you were raised by black people.


Why? It's like it's embarrassing to say that, but that's how feel real.


Yeah, that's troubling me just a little bit. I want you to clarify it if you can. Is your use of the term fear, the fear of black people? Where where is that coming from that you choose that term fear?


I think about all of our implicit biases that we hold and I can feel in my body how I change. How I'm not as comfortable, yeah, when I it with all black folks, I don't fit in it. All right. What are you doing now to try to assimilate into the black community? Oh, or do you even feel the need to do that?


Or do I feel like I have the right to do that? And I don't think I I don't think I feel the right I haven't thought about it just like that. But yeah, I have embraced my place in the white world, you know, like I've chosen to live in a predominantly white neighborhood and I'm just trying to be OK with that right now.


I'm trying to be like, you know, I I grew up in white spaces, so it makes sense that I might feel safe here, I would imagine.


I mean, even for coming from Baltimore, Maryland, and then coming out to Los Angeles right now, I mean, it's just like the streets of Baltimore were familiar to me and rolling in the streets of Calabasas was just like, right, right.


It takes a minute. You know, people like, you know, you're stepping up. It's like, yeah, I'm stepping up. But this is at the right. This is not my thing, you know?


And I think that's very similar to adoption where it's like, oh, you've gotten a better life. Right?


Like looking at my birth mother and she doesn't have a lot of materialistic stuff. But I still long to be close to her with her, and that's one thing that adoptees don't feel safe to say.


I wish I had that right, because the rest of the world is like, wait, what? You have great parents, right?


We're able to afford all these extracurriculars for you and all this. And you probably wouldn't have had that there. Right.


When I listen to you, it sounds like there's a lot of internal conflict all over the place.


Yeah, I struggle because I'm certainly grateful for the life I've been afforded and all the opportunities that I've had. But at the same time, it's hard to walk around every day and have people see a black woman. But for me not to even feel like a black woman and that conflict that happens every single day is it's a huge weight. Hey, my name's Crystal.


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Hey, this whole ad, the test. Well, except for Indiana Jones. Wow. He ruined everything. But what I also know is that I was given what I feel like was white privilege by osmosis, a lot of people like myself, once we leave the House and we no longer have white privilege by osmosis, it's like an awakening. So I chose to go to a predominantly white college because that's what just made sense for me. So I was comfortable.


How were you accepted in that environment and did you feel racism then?


When I went to college?


I did feel a lot of racism, but it was coded in this this way that where I was put up on a pedestal, it was as tokenism, as being an all white school, you know, always being chosen to be on like the college pamphlets and things like that.


I was like, oh, you think I really like they need that token. And I don't know if they embraced me that they're fetishizing me. And I'm like, interesting to everybody. Everyone is like, wow, your lips are so big, so huge. People reach out and can't resist touching my hair. Oh, my God.


I didn't think of it as racism at the time. I just thought it was maybe flattering. And then I started to realize what was happening.


Token racism is like that's something we don't talk about a lot and we experience a lot in our industry.


Not having other people to bounce these stories off of is what was really tough. Yeah, so that's when I really started thinking about my blackness.


You are now helping trans racial adoptions by talking to families that that adopt black children.


And how do you do that? Is it a coaching or is it mentoring?


A lot of education and it's a lot of talking about feelings. Sadly, adoptive parents have really like. They've commandeered the whole conversation, and so unfortunately, we rarely hear from adopted people themselves.


God, as we often think about adoption as babies and I'm an adult right now, but reality is that we grow up.


Yeah. And we are still adopted. Rarely do we hear from birth parents.


Instead, they're just kind of this amorphous civilianized people that are like they're always in the shadows forgotten about.


They're scary. So a lot of my work is helping adoptive families to humanize their children's birth parents. I'm hoping that I live to see the day to where people say, when I say I'm adopted, they say, oh, my gosh, did someone try to keep you with your family first instead of what we hear is your parents must be so great. I never, never thought about it from that perspective of my birth mom.


She gave birth to me and then she walked out the door and was homeless again. She said, everybody cares about you getting you somewhere, but nobody cared about me. Yeah. And I was like, yeah, wow. What's up with that?


I still see that like that that discarding for the life of the woman who is having this child. I need to just say this, though, this discomfort that you have with your own blackness, but yet you're counseling others on how to incorporate brown children into their families. I feel in a bind because I have grown up in whiteness and I have fostered and my husband and I want to foster again. And it makes sense to me to foster a white child because that's what I'm familiar with.


But then I'm like, well.


That is quite a conflict, kind of like a freakin cut. Now, that is ripe for psychological archaeology. But if you're trying to counsel other people on how to do it, counsel yourself. What are you saying? How would I do that? Like counseling yourself and how to raise a black child. Yes.


How am I supposed to raise a black child if I don't know black culture?


What you're telling other people to do is to move into a black expose the child true to black culture. You can do the same thing. What a tall order. It's a tall order. But I know for a white person to do it for a black person.


So as a black person to do it for a black child, it certainly is to me would be a bit easier because you have some idea of what it's like being black in the world.


I do, yes. You could be a real healing process for yourself.


For you. Right. But if that's not my goal, you know, but. Yeah. I say I just have I've learned how to flourish in a white world. And I so you have no desire, but aren't we as black people, we can't keep asking white people to do things for us that we're not willing to do for ourselves.


Right. White people in their comfort zones to.


That's what we do love how we got here, guys to white privilege.


And all of that is trying to pull white people out of their comfort zone to go, hey, just step in to our world, in our world a little bit and understand our experience.


Yes. You feel me? Yeah. Sometimes our biggest treasures and our biggest lessons are in the zones of discomfort. So true.


You're putting up an excuse, a reason why you can't do it. Yeah. So we want to move that and we want you to just sit with that for a minute. I will just sit with the idea for a minute. Well, yeah.


Well, Angela's adoptive parents, Theresa and David, have agreed to join us at the table for their first interview together.


So first of all, I'd just like to say you guys have raised a phenomenal young woman who is quite dynamic as she was growing up.


Did you guys realize any struggles that she was having or, you know, first was the hair?


Yeah, because we didn't know how to do that. Her friends were always touching her hair. Right. I just thought of curiosity. Right. They've never seen here like this way.


Right. Like the transvaginal adoptee has to become a teaching tool.


The right way to learn on me. Exactly. But think of that.


That could be a positive experience, broadening other people's horizons and understanding. Yeah.


In a white, predominantly white town.


Nonetheless, it can be a step towards raising awareness. Absolutely. Can be a step towards raising awareness, but also can be burdensome on the child.


Yeah, sure. Oh yeah.


Growing up, my sister, I loved how her hair was sleek and down and with like flow in the wind. I loved her blue eyes. I like my dad's blue eyes.


I, I just, I just, you know, comes back to representation like I don't see, you know, I don't see that I see this and it's cool, it's beautiful. And I love them. I want to be like that. Yeah. I remember I went through a little phase when I was younger where I hated my hair. Yeah. And I would cry. Yeah.


And I would just be like, I want I want my hair. Just like you were saying I had to fall. Oh why. Yeah. And all. And then I remember you showed me rough and stuff and I watched that video when I was five and stuff like that. That's when my whole, my whole life changed with my hair.


Yeah. Lady of Rage. You were like here. None of this was my show. Yeah. But there in lies again my my my concern and the challenge of not being raised, you know, around you're not even around, even if you're not in media, you know, but not even around nowhere around your own culture.


Right. It becomes problematic with your own self esteem, your self worth. Absolutely.


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On September 17th, two thousand nine twenty four year old my Chris Richardson disappeared without a trace in the woods near Malibu, California.


She had been arrested at a beachside restaurant for failing to pay a tab and taken to the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station. You know, I mean, she's not from that area. And I would hate to wake up to a morning report. Well, lost somewhere to a job that the police released her just after midnight with no car, no cell phone, no money. She doesn't know the area. She's never been in your area. Well, I think she's depressed.


That's what happened. That's worth more than just her.


OK, my trees disappeared into the darkness and was never seen alive again. I'm Catherine Townsend, host of the podcast Houngan. We're going to try to find out what really happened to my Chris Richardson School of Humans and I heart radio present. Helen, Season three, listen to hell. And gone on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. What made you decide to adopt children of color? I'm not sure that was a conscious decision.




OK, we ask ourselves, asked each other, what are we open to? What can we handle and contribute to? And we found Angela in a book, The State of Tennessee. And what we saw was a child who also had spastic quadriplegia hearing loss. And that we could we could we could help each part of our family. Why?


So you didn't really even consider the fact that she was black? It wasn't something that you even really thought about. I saw a child in need. Yeah. Obviously, her picture was right. But you didn't consider that there might be any challenges or any differences in how she would be raised based on her race.


If we did at that time, there would have been secondary to what are the needs. Right.


Well, Angela's birth mother, Deborah, is joining us as well. Angela has not seen her in nearly four years.


So this is pretty awesome. Oh, wow.


She is. Oh, hello, Miss Deborah. Welcome to the show, Mr. Brown. Thank you very much, Willow. This is my family.


My. Angela, how are you, darling?


How are you staring to sit over there beside Angela like you? Yes.


So eight years ago, Angela began the emotional journey to find her birth mother, Deborah, and she documented the whole process.


Then why did happened? Cos she's so pretty and she's so tall and, oh, so nervous, right. I think I would have been a different person if I would have grown up with the sister. I waited like four twenty five years to thank Deborah, thank you for sharing that song, so I right away, of course, I wanted to thank her. And so we started walking together and I was thinking her. But at the same time, she was thinking of me and I never thought about that.


She did just a really hard thing. She did something that I'm not sure I could do, and I did something that she wasn't able to do.


Wow. It's pitiful. How are you feeling, Debra, hurt you? I will forever hurt him, the more I see her, the harder it is now. If I could go back and undo my life with no way that I would give away, you have. Right at that time, not having a home, not having a job, we had to drag a tile around, right. But you can't take care of it. Yeah. So you got to make a strong choice there.


So I went to a higher power and I set him in place when I put Angela for adoption. That ended all my rights to know anything. Right. I had no idea about where Angela was. I had no idea about trans racial adoption.


I was brought up into that age where you didn't talk to white people, even talk to you.


Yes, right. I was astonished. So, Theresa, were you hesitant about Angela finding Deborah when I was younger? Yes. Yeah, because I had this. Unreasonable fear that. She might kind of come and she'd be her mom and I could I don't know why I could shoot that. You would be replaced. I would be replaced. Yeah, I get it. Yeah. Yeah. But Debra taught me that she's her mother. Right. And the rest of it.


God used to put her here. Yeah, but that's our parents right there. Yeah. And I, I am just so proud of the young lady. She is what they've taught her.


How smart you are is an overwhelming moment sitting in between parents.


Yeah. Wow. Like, everyone's so beautiful here, but my eyes just want to, like, stare at Deborah because I'm still just trying to figure her out. You're right.


And I still feel that we all know that you've done the best that you can.


And. That we truly want you to feel like you're part of our family, that you not being able to parent me doesn't mean that you give up your rights to know who I am, know how I'm doing.


Thank you. I just need to thank everyone at this table. Allow me to be here. Oh, absolutely.


Well, I think it's just beautiful that we could all sit here together for many different reasons and talk about this specific, specific and the fact that these beautiful people adopted and raised this beautiful woman and were open enough to come and speak to us about it and crossing those racial barriers.


And even though this is a learning process.


Yeah, but love is love, right? Love is love.


And this just shows you right here. This has been one of my favorite episodes. Hayati family joined our red tabletop group on Facebook to become part of the conversation and be sure to follow the show page to catch up on all our episodes because our new family family portrait. Thank you. I can't believe there's so much going on behind the scenes. It's a journey. Are you ready to go?


Yeah, I'm broken wooden, broken ankle. Give me some love. It's a journey.


To join the red table, talk family and become a part of the conversation, follow us at Facebook. Dotcom Flash, Red Tabletop. Thanks for listening to this episode of Red Table Talk podcast produced by Facebook Watch Westbrooke Audio and I Heart Radio.


Ever wondered why there are two ways to spell donuts or why some people think you can find water underground just by wandering around with a stick? Believe it or not, this is stuff you should know. You know the podcast with over a billion listeners. It's now for your eyes so you can read it. Stuff you should know. An incomplete compendium of mostly interesting things covers everything from the origin of the Murphy bed to why people get lost preorder at stuff you should know dotcom or wherever books are sold.


Welcome to Beyond the Beauty, a podcast from My Heart Radio, I'm your host, Bobby Brown. I've been in the beauty industry for a long time and I've learned a lot. I have watched makeup, skincare and beauty change more than I ever could have imagined. This season on Beyond the Beauty, I'm exploring the beauty industry past and present. I'm reflecting on my own experiences and I'm talking to some of the biggest and brightest names in beauty today. Listen to the brand new season of Beyond the Beauty on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.