Monday, May 17, 2010

Transracial Adoption Links

There's been so much about transracial adoption out in the blogsphere since Sandra  Bullock adopted an African-American infant.  A lot of it has been pretty superficial and sensationalized, but there's been good stuff, too.  A lot of it has talked about transracial adoption along the black/white divide, but there's been some good stuff, including the voices of Korean adoptees, on issues in transracial adoption. Here are some links, not all squarely about Sandra Bullock but all about transracial adoption, I've found interesting over the last week or so:

Sandra Bullock, Transracial Adoption, and the Worship of White Motherhood
Little Louis is adorable with his big, dark eyes, curly hair and brown skin. He's African-American and he'll be raised by a white mother. And in a perfect world, this wouldn't be fodder for a clueless mainstream press. But exists because we don't live in a perfect world. We are constantly confronted with racist, sexist, classist stereotypes, like the one of the perfect White Mother.
I'm on CNN with Don Lemon!
Watch the video below, and then read about Lisa Marie Rollins' perspective on her interview. And then check out this perspective at Womanist Musings.

Kin of Another Kind, by Cynthia Callahan, a new book issued by U. Michigan Press:
Kin of Another Kind examines American literary representations of adoption across racial lines at key moments in the 20th century to help understand adoption's literary and social significance. In juxtaposing representations of African American, American Indian, and Korean and Chinese transracial and transnational adoptions, the book traces the metaphorical significance of adoption when it appears in fiction; at the same time, aligning these groups calls attention to their unique and divergent cultural histories with adoption, which serve as important contexts for the fiction discussed. Cynthia Callahan explores the fiction of canonical authors such as William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Barbara Kingsolver, Gish Jen, and Anne Tyler and productively places it alongside lesser-known works by Robert E. Boles, Dallas Chief Eagle (Lakota), and Sui Sin Far, all works that, when reconsidered, can advance our understanding not only of adoption in literature but of 20th-century American literature in general.
And two links thanks to Tonggu Mama's Sunday Linkage, which is always superb, both links to Korean adoptees talking about their experiences as Asian in a white world:

Sometimes I feel like an alien. It’s not a nice feeling. Like the aliens in movies, it feels slimy and icky. I used to tell people that I didn’t like being the odd one out. I couldn’t put it in words at the time, but it was because I was always the odd one out, and it attracted looks from people that made me stand out even more. It wasn’t so much that I was Asian, but it was because I was the only Asian person in a family of Caucasian people. I mean, that’s not really, well… normal. Genetics doesn’t allow for an Asian person to be born from people of European backgrounds! Many adoptive parents think this isn’t really a big deal. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard/seen them say things like: “we don’t mind having an Asian child”; “we’re open to all different races”; “race doesn’t matter to us, we just want a child” etc etc. But the fact of the matter is that race does matter. Maybe not to them, but to the outside world and even the child they’re adopting.
Twice Foreign
Where I reside in Asian-American society, as a Korean adoptee, has been referred to as the “third space.” It is a place that hovers between who I was raised to be and who I was born to be.

* * *

When I first heard the term “twinkie” to describe a person who was ethnically Asian, but was culturally white (or strived to “act” white), I was so relieved to finally have a label for myself. Even though the person who was describing this term was referring to twinkie as a pejorative term, I was just so happy to learn there was a group of Asians with whom I could identify.
And the final entry here -- a provocative piece by John Raible about LGBT parents and transracial adoption:
I’ve heard it argued that LGBT parents have an almost innate sensitivity to diversity issues since they are members of an oppressed minority. There’s an appealing logic to the notion that queer adults would be especially sensitive to marginalization, of being positioned as the Other, in families and at school. It makes a certain sense that queer adults, therefore, would make sensitive and compassionate parents to kids of color. Right?

While more and more LGBT folk are adopting—and anecdotally at least, it looks like many of us end up adopting kids of color—a troubling development has emerged, to my way of thinking. In plain terms, it feels as if in the effort to form “gay families” and have those families recognized as legitimate and equal to other families, lesbian and gay parents have privileged their own equality above other concerns.

As a gay parent, it goes without saying that I am all for equality. At the same time, as an anti-racism advocate with a long-standing interest in and commitment to ensuring the rights and welfare of children of color, I am very concerned that the issues of race in adoption may be overlooked and overshadowed in the rush to increase LGBT legitimacy and visibility.
Whew!  A lot of good stuff. Enjoy!

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