Trans-Racial Adoption

h/t to cp

Seattle’s normally irreverent hipster weekly, the Stranger, published a surprisingly frank and introspective piece on trans-racial adoption: Black Kids in White Houses by Jen Graves. I recommend checking it out.

The article is written by a white woman, and deals with white parents who adopt children of color. Even though it has its flaws, it really gets down in there in addressing race.

Transracial adoption is awkward to discuss at first, because although it is designed to chart a radically integrated future, on the surface its structure repeats the segregated past. Just look at the basic structure of a family and apply race to the equation. The most crude way to put it: Whites are in charge, children of color are subordinate, and adults of color are out of the picture.

Gratefulness is the most powerful silencer in the adoption world. Even if a transracial adoptee breaks the silence to make a criticism about his or her experience, the immediate response always is: Would it have been better if you’d never been adopted? It’s a rhetorical cul-de-sac, a false runaround that continues to stifle conversations about more complicated subjects, like what’s the difference between a family that’s tolerant and one that’s actively antiracist, or why are there so many children of color adopted in the first place?

Read it. Comment on it below or at the Stranger’s site. One thing I would like to address here is the nature of the comments by the (predominantly white liberal) Stranger’s readers. We see a lot of familiar sentiments: we should all be colorblind, only minorities have “culture”, we shouldn’t talk about race anymore, slavery happened 200 years ago – why don’t we get over it. And in spite of the author talking about gratefulness, several commentors suggested that trans-racial adoptees who talk about their struggles are just “ungrateful.”

Ungrateful for the awesome opportunity to be raised as white, the best race of all! Ug.

There are, of course, thoughtful and appropriate comments posted after the article. But just to illustrate how far white liberals need to go in thinking of race, and how unoriginal old race-silencing tactics are, here are some gems:

Home is just a place where you grow up for a few years. Go out into the world and live your own life after that! Don’t sit staring at your navel, feeling sorry for yourself about where you come from!

This is such a non-issue. Dangerously sentimental. Should gay parents be allowed to adopt straight children?

I believe this feeling of loss is also a normal part of the mainstream “white” culture. For the most part, “white” in America isn’t any particular ethnic group or culture–it’s just the catch-all category for people who have assimilated and lost their ethnic ties, their peoplehood, their tribal identities.

anyone who doesn’t favor their race is fucked up. I’m not saying it’s right, but it is absolutely human. I am continually amused at liberals trying to raise their children according to the child’s color/national origin. It is hilarious and sad at the same time. … Chicken and watermelon don’t make black children feel more black, the misguided gesture does.

And don’t group all white people together as a race. I do not consider myself to be of White heritage- I am a second-generation American of Italian descent. Grouping all white people together is as insulting as saying all black people listen to hip-hop and eat watermelon.

Two more generations and all this is mostly moot. Sorry, but mother nature want the gene pools to mix, and, so they will.

Look around. Lingering on all the stuff from the last 200 years is basically useless – of course – many will cling.

Blacks have committed the vast majority of murders in the Seattle area in the last year and most of the victims were black. Until those numbers and situations change drastically, blacks and guilty-white-liberals who whine about “white racism” can go eat shit.

and my favorite:
I live in holland. I have friends of all races, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, etc. And i honestly dont see color. I mean… what makes black people, white people and asian people so different? honestly? It seems as if in america people try to get rid of racial prejudice so hard they only make it worse. Its as if they are trying to make all races equal.

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