Holy hot cakes, there’s never a dull day in the transracial adoption blogosphere. Here’s a summary of what’s going on at my good friend Bae Gang Shik’s blog:
- Gang Shik wrote a thoughtful and critical blog entry about John Seabrook’s The New Yorker article and NPR podcast regarding his recent adoption of a Haitian (post-earthquake) girl named Rose.
- John Seabrook responded to Gang Shik, calling him “unhappy.”
- Other transracial adoptees and allies commented on the entry, asking Mr. Seabrook to consider his own white male privilege and stop dismissing criticisms coming from adopted persons who are, after all, experts on their own lives, as well as scholars of adoption.
- John Seabrook responded again, accusing adoptees of not listening to him and twisting his words.
- An adoptive mother threw down the final word (as of now):
I sincerely hope that John never has to read the unkind assumption about his daughter that I read on these pages about my son – that Rose must have had an unhappy adoption experience simply because she speaks her own truth.
I’m really glad whenever I read/hear the comments of adoptive parents who actually listen to and support their transracially adopted children (who, by the way, do grow up into adulthood). But I continue to be extremely frustrated by the active silencing and dismissing that occurs at the hands of other adoptive parents who cannot look beyond their privilege and entitlement. Transracially adopted persons have a right to tell their own stories and be critical of an imperfect industry without having to be defensive towards the very people who parent them. I’m not a transracial adoptee, but I’ve been researching this for a number of years. At the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture (ASAC) conference 3 weeks ago, I observed first hand how often white adoptive parents dismissed issues of race, pathologized adoptees scholarship and thereby treated them as objects rather than subjects. For example, adoptive parents asked Dr. John Raible about his personal life in response to his academic presentation regarding gender, sexuality and transracial adoption; another white therapist asked Deann Borshay Liem if she felt “whole” after viewing her mind-blowing documentary, In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee. Clearly, these folks don’t see adoptees as scholars, as documentarians, as experts regarding their own lives. They see them as objects to be studied, examined, pathologized, and then silenced. This must change.
Whew, off my soapbox. Read the conversation at KAD Nexus: http://kadnexus.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/john-seabrook-npr-segment/