Category Archives: The Only Stupid Question

Why Shouldn’t I Get A Parade?

Dear Parade People of the Universe:


I would like to request a parade in my honor because I have been working really hard to be awesome, and it’s starting to work. I’ve hit a new high of awestasstitty.


Yesterday, I found myself in a conversation with a woman named Drizella*, who is a lactation specialist. Am I more fascinated than normal by Drizella’s profession? Yes. Am I extra fascinated because, as an adoptive mom, I have no experience with lactation? Maybe. Plus, I’ve always thought of breast feeding as deeply miraculous. (There are bunches of paintings of the practice by great artists. Picasso created my favorite: Maternity (1909).)

We arrived at the inevitable point in the conversation when people indulge their need to tell me about their personal brush with adoption. Drizella’s sister-in-law, Greta**, tried to adopt a baby a few years ago. Drizella and Greta were able to get Greta lactating. Amazing! Not my choice as an adoptive mom, but… Amazing! In the delivery room, the birth mother changed her mind and decided to keep the baby. Greta was very sad. “But,” Drizella reassured me***, “Greta ended up getting pregnant several months later. Greta ended up being able to have one of her own!”

I smiled, nodded, and said, in a reasonable tone and pitch, “That’s nice.”


I, Allison Garwood, did not give voice to my initial reaction when some dumb cluck box differentiated a biological child from an adopted child with the descriptor “one of her own.”

I, Allison Garwood, did not say: “Luc IS MY OWN, you asshole, honkey, cracker breeder!!!!!”

I, Allison Garwood, did not say: “Don’t ever talk to my ‘own’ son, because I’m scared the sludge ooze of your ignorance would get on his skin, and cause him to break out in hives, because he is allergic to stupid.”

I, Allison Garwood, did not say: “You’re head is a hide-a-key rock, and the key is your brain, but somebody forgot to put the key back.”

I’ve grown as a person! I’ve been keeping a journal (three pages daily! It’s helped my mood and temperment a lot.) I’m also reading a book on anger management (The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner). That is why I deserve a parade today, and why I will continue to deserve recurring parades for many years to come.

*Not her real name.

**Not her real name.

***For the record: It’s a hard disappointment for the adoptive parents, but a birth mother keeping her baby is a tragedy in NO ONE’s eyes.

What the #$@&, Mom?

My mother explained to me the other day why she’s still backing Trump, even after Charlottesville.

This was a rare conversation. White Fragility runs deep in that one. When I ask a question or make a fair point, she scurries out of the conversation like an angry goldfish from a kid tapping the glass.

Okay, so, in my Mom’s mind, there was a group of reasonable, down to earth Republicans who attended the “Unite the Right” White Supremacist “rally” in Charlottesville not knowing what it would turn into. And that’s why DJT said “on many sides.” I’ve tried to piece together her version of the events…

Roger, the Reasonable Republican, pulls into the parking lot of the Charlottesville Best Western. He’s giddy about the prospect of finally having a voice again! The details aren’t clear yet, but he thinks he has time for a late lunch at Applebee’s, and a quick tour of the statues in question before the meeting around 8pm. A weird time for a meeting, but oh well.

When Roger arrives at the meeting, everyone is warm and gracious. There is no yelling, just calm conversations about the symbolism and importance behind historical statues. Suddenly, some clown with an extended bed Tacoma pulls Tiki torches out of the 12 foot cargo trailer he’s hauling. Roger isn’t too sure about this. The attendees are starting to get excitable. This makes Roger even more nervous. Once the Tiki torches are lit, Roger draws the line, and heads back to his hotel.

Morning of Day 2: Roger, the Reasonable Republican showers, neatly repacks his Samsonite Spinner, and heads downstairs to the Days Inn Complimentary Continental Breakfast. Roger didn’t love what the Unite the Right meeting turned into last night, but there are hooligans in every group. As a Christian, Roger is determined to give this group a second chance.

When he arrives at the Red Roof Inn Conference Room B, he’s met with hugs, hope, and hot tea. The meeting kicks off with an encouraging speech peppered with optimism and no shouting. Maybe Roger the Reasonable Republican doesn’t notice the Nazi salutes because he’s distracted by an influx of texts from his teenage daughter. She thinks it’s totally unfair Mom won’t let her drive her friends to the Phish concert in the family van. Maybe he ducks out to use the restroom before the South African apartheid flags are set up. Whatever happened, he just had no idea where this was heading.

I’m trying REALLY hard to make all of this fit, but it just doesn’t. Trump never said in any of his “on both sides” comments that he was referring to the reasonable folks who bowed out before things got crazy. And if the reasonable folks bowed out before it got crazy, doesn’t that mean there weren’t “very good people on both sides”?

There is plenty of video footage, social media, and photographic evidence to show there was certainly not “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.” Because self defense isn’t violence.

But AniFa! Come on. Who are those punks? They’re at every dang rally in every dang city all over the dang world. What do they stand for? Well, we don’t really know. So guess what. We’re not going to assume they are aligned with Black Lives Matter and the general public’s push for social justice and racial healing. Their behavior fits much better with the White dudes (now minus their reasonable Republicans) packing assault rifles. No?

A friend of mine has had a hard time talking about current events with her family, especially since meeting us. But she felt some hope (and I did too) when they denounced Trump after Charlottesville.

What the #$@&, Mom?

Why Does Media Feature Only Caucasians?

Nothing against White people, some of my best friends are White, but images of children in kids’ books are suffocatingly Caucasian. Tonight, Luc finished yet another book with all White characters. The art in the children’s section at the Pasadena Public Library includes no children of color. All their images are 1950’s Hummelesque garbage. (If you’re wondering why I’m making a big stink, you’re White, and you need to do some research.)


How Do I Fix White Privilege?

Most conversations about racism with White people end with: “Well, how am I supposed to fix it? Quit my job? Sell my house? Give all my money to Black people?”

I think this question reveals the reason White people resist opening our eyes to racism. The perceived choices are:

  1. White people are all horrible evil monsters who should feel guilty every time we enjoy anything ever.
  2. White people can only be perceived as good if we fix racism by 5pm today.

For White people, our Step 1 is unconditionally acknowledging racism existed, exists, and will persist if not acknowledged. We won’t worry about Step 2 yet. We’ll just work on Step 1. We’ll know when we’re ready for Step 2.

Racism existed.

Racism exists.

Racism will persist if not acknowledged.