“Why do white people think they’re so much better than black people—is it something about us?”
That soul-crushing question from her adopted daughter Remy weighed on Jen Hatmaker’s spirit like a ton of bricks.
“I just sat there in front of her and cried my eyes out,” the Christian speaker and mother of five shared. “I said, ‘No no no, you are beautiful and you are important and you are equal to anybody on this earth.’ I said, ‘This is their problem.‘”
Before adopting her 14-year-old son Beniam and 12-year-old daughter Remy from Ethiopia, Hatmaker admits the racism so deeply ingrained in her realm of white privilege went largely unnoticed.
But her motherhood journey with Beniam and Remy since taking them in at ages eight and five has radically challenged her perspective.
“We’re kind of the center of the bullseye on privilege,” says Hatmaker. “We are white, we are straight, we are married, we’re pastors, we’re upper-middle class, so we just had the luxury of not having to care.”
Hearing her own son called the N-word and her daughter question her worth as a daughter of the King due to her skin tone was surely enough to shatter her complacency. Now, as a passionate advocate for racial equality, Hatmaker and her husband of 24 years, Brandon, are on a mission to break down racial divides once and for all.
“This is not the place to be neutral or silent,” she says. “This is on us at this point to come in with clear leadership for the kids that we’re raising, the kids that we’re influencing to be an advocate and an ally for their peers of color.”
Hatmaker prays that one day, raising an army of advocates will pave the way for a different society–one where racial equality is no longer a dream, but a reality.
Watch Jen and her children offer an intimate and personal look at race in America in The TODAY Show interview below.