In the Matter of Race…

June 3, 2009 at 10:18 am 3 comments

mirrors

I answer a lot of Q and A on Yahoo! Answers as “Kateiskate” in the adoption section. I usually check and see what new questions have popped up overnight when I have some free time at work.

This morning I opened up the adoption section of Y!A and clicked on a question titled “Does the Phrase ‘Open To’ make you want to hurl?”. I read the answers and most of them said pretty much everything I would have answered. I almost didn’t answer the question at all until I saw this answer:

“No, it doesn’t make me want to ‘hurl’ as you so eloquently put it. I am an adoptee, and I was adopted into a very loving and caring family at the age of 9 months, and the fact that I was adopted into an ‘interracial’ family makes me feel all the more special! My mother adopted four of us from all walks of life, including another child (who was 8) from Vietnam (like myself). The fact that she had enough love in her heart for ALL of us makes us feel very grateful for the opportunities that we were provided with. It seems that the people with ‘issues’ regarding race, age or disabilities are the ones who ‘see’ and are perhaps prejudice themselves about ‘these’ people. I myself, see myself as Australian, no more and no less. The fact that I ‘appear’ as an ‘Asian’ doesn’t make any difference to my friends and family, my culture is English/Australian and I fit in EXTREMELY well in society. I don’t feel that I’m any ‘less’ a person for not knowing (or wanting to know) about my ‘heritage’, my mother always encouraged all of us to seek this, if we felt that we needed this to ‘fulfill’ ourselves. My ‘heritage’, as far as I’m concerned, is English/Australian. And yes, I AM grateful that I was adopted, because that makes me AND my family special! We were very much wanted!!!”

Wow. Seriously? PUKE PUKE PUKE. Talk about wanting to hurl! That answer was full of all of the stupidest stereotypes of things “grateful” adoptees are supposed to feel. This kind of thinking is what holds us back from getting in touch with who we really are and smacks of industry brainwashing. You know, the whole “Love conquers all, race doesn’t matter, love your child enough and they won’t care to search” bullshit they teach people because it sounds good.

 I also just feel downright SAD for this girl. I was there myself not too long ago. I was the QUEEN of denial! I too thought that my family’s Italian heritage was my own and pretended as though the Asian part of me did not exist. There has never been a more confused Asian chick than me. Looking in the mirror was a shocking experience for me, as was experiencing racism. I was so put off by these things because it’s easy to start to believe you are white, that you are the same as your family.

Okay so, tell me this: if IA parents are so awesome and have so much loooove for kids of other races, why are a lot of them (especially the old school ones) always forcing their culture on their kids when their kids already HAVE a culture? Doesn’t it seem as though if you were really REALLY tolerant, you’d be proud of your kid’s heritage and teach them to be proud of it also? There’s nothing wrong with being different. In fact, in today’s society, diversity is a good thing! Something to be proud of!

Yes, you may think you are English/Australian but because you “appear” to be “Asian” you will be treated as such and are forced to identify as that in society. . The thing about believing you are “English/Austrailian” even though you “appear to be Asian” is that you are the only one who thinks you are English/Australian. Every one else sees you as Asian because that is what you are. Believe me, I know how difficult of a thing that is. It’s one of the sucky parts of being adopted. Looking in the mirror and seeing some Asian chick instead of the white girl you know yourself to be is confusing.

When people look at me, some of them see a stereotype, some of them see a girl who comes from an ancient and beautiful culture. You can’t see how terribly out of touch with my own culture that I am right off the break. Those things are deeper and not easily visible from the surface. My race doesn’t fit neatly into a little box I can check when I fill out a survey because my race is a little bit beyond me. Yes, I am Asian, but it feels like only the outside is. The outside is the only part the world cares about. I have no culture because I will not claim a culture that is not my own, and I will not pretend that I am fully Asian because I am not.

Race is a difficult thing when you are a transracial adoptee. There’s a fine line you walk between being alienated from your family and being alienated from your culture. You can’t go too far in either direction. It’s easy to see that you don’t belong with your family. The fact that your mother abandoned you is part of every family picture and every family outing. My biggest source of pain is on parade for the entire world to view. “Oh she must be adopted” people will say. “I wonder why her mother gave her away.”

Yes I’m adopted. And I guess that makes me special. Big whoop.

My adoptive parents wanted a child. There’s no denying that. But as much as they wanted me (or any baby) it can’t ease any of the pain of not being wanted by the one person who should love me best.

For one day I would like to know what it’s like to be a non adopted person with regular issues.

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Entry filed under: adoption, International Adoption, Mothers, Race, Transracial Adoption.

I Have No Story Five Things the Partner of an Adoptee Should Know

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. maybe  |  June 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    “Every one else sees you as Asian because that is what you are.” Exactly…there is no such thing as this phony “color blind” stuff. We all see color, race, and every other physical trait and we make certain (often inaccurate) assumptions based on those traits. To deny this is ridiculous.

    I wonder – if a census worker comes to your door and asks you to indicate your race, what would happen if you reply “caucasion?” Would he accept it and mark the “white” box? Doubtful.

    BTW, race can also be a a heath factor: Ashkenazi Jewish women are at greater risk for breast cancer due to a certain genetic factor, African Americans are at greater risk for sickle cell anemia, and so on. Yet another reason to accept the fact that genes, blood, and race ARE important.

    Reply
  • 2. Valda Chhour  |  February 28, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I’ve read four different blog posts on similar subjects this week, this on has been my most enjoyed.

    Reply
    • 3. kateiskate  |  February 28, 2010 at 11:04 am

      Thank you!! That makes me feel so good!

      Reply

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