By Dallas Thomas
When we were thinking of a headline for this article, the journalism students jokingly wrote on the board that I would be writing a piece about how “I am just a black girl who loves China and happens to have white parents.”
Honestly, diversity to me is being able to learn from all different kinds of people. It is not just about race. We are all unique and diversity is how we all can celebrate our uniqueness.
In a nutshell, I am African American and I’m adopted. When I was just two weeks old, I was taken into the home of a loving family. We are the Thomas’s. My parents and my six older siblings always have a deep connection. I never called my parents by their names because ever since I was an infant, I only knew them by “mom” and “dad.”
I never once asked why am I not white like my mom, dad and my siblings because I never saw color and neither did they.
As I got older people, some people would look at us and often gave my parents a second look.
I laugh when I recall the reaction of a co-worker when I said that the white police officer in the the Mcdonalds’s drive thru line was my dad.
In 2006, I was officially made a Thomas, but I always knew that I was a Thomas since I went home with them at two weeks old. Being adopted is a blessing and being able to do things that many foster kids without parents can’t do is truly amazing.
My family has always taught me to celebrate the differences in people.
My mom is the Director of Operations for Quest Inc, an organization that provides “support services for persons with special needs to promote inclusion, maximize independence, and improve quality of life.”
My mom’s clients are just another reason I value every person’s uniqueness.
Since eighth grade, I am a part of the Foundation for Global Youth Citizens of Redford. As part of this organization, over and over again my family hosts Chinese students who come and live with us for a month or so. In return, I got to go to China my freshmen and sophomore years for a whole semester at a time.
While in China, I never got home sick because a part of me felt like I was there before. My parents are very open-minded about allowing us to go abroad for education. My older sister spent a semester in Germany as well.
When I tell other Americans that I went to China twice for three months each year, I would always get the questions “did they eat dog” or “did they all look the same”?
When someone asks this, I can tell that they have never been out of their hometown and never opened their eyes to the world. Instead, they only see what is on tv or on social media.
I cherish my ties to China, and still to this day I keep in touch with all of my Chinese friends, brothers and sisters.
So what does Diversity mean to me? It is me. I am living it and celebrating it each and every day.