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UPDATED

The blog Our Life offers a powerful post on “Racial Hierarchy in the Adoption World”:

The reality is however, that whether or not you adopt an African or AA child, the racism you are so afraid of still exists in our country. And it’s still wrong. If you are not willing to confront it for your potential child, then I’m guessing you are not willing to confront it at all. I think many white people prefer to pretend racism no longer exists. They claim to be “color-blind” and act shocked whenever a racial hate-crime appears on the news. They don’t want to acknowledge their white privilege and can’t seem to wrap their minds around the question ofwhy so many African Americans continue to struggle when “things are way different these days”. Adopting a black child is scary because it would force you to come face-to-face with the racism in your country, your state, your neighborhood, your family, and yourself. Read more…

Altasien’s new post on Racialicious is a must-read:

There was one Latino boy I’d seen around (when I say one Latino boy, I mean probably the only Latino boy in the school). I had an idea we might have something in common. I imagined that he was also accused of not being an American. We never talked until one day. He ran past me, by the field, and ching-chonged me. I flew into a rage and chased after him, screaming “How can you say that to me? Look at yourself in the mirror! LOOK AT YOURSELF!” He laughed nervously and kept running. I felt devastated. He’d failed even the low standard I had for the white boy nerds. He should have stayed still and listened to me but he just kept running. Maybe if I found the right words one day…

I’d given up trying to persuade people to leave me alone. I just had to take each day at a time, and survive. I didn’t have much hope left in humanity. I used to lie in bed staring out the window hoping that aliens would abduct me so I wouldn’t have to go to school the next day.

They still hadn’t managed to destroy all my self-confidence. I was still proud of my family and where I came from. I was just never able to find the words to explain to my family what I was going through.

Neither my Japanese father nor white American mother had any frame of reference for it. With my dad, if I started complaining about any issue at all, he would cut me off and talk about his hard life growing up. He was a war orphan, adopted into a village high in the mountains. Life was tough all over. Their diet was protein-poor; when they got fish, they would grind the bones to make a powder and put the powder in soup. He was the first person in his clan to go to college. To get to school, the kids had to walk for miles over a snowy mountain pass, ringing bells the whole time to scare off the bears that would otherwise attack and eat them. I learned all this stuff by heart. As practical advice, it was rather incoherent. It did, however, instill a sense of pride and toughness. Sometimes I thought to myself, at least the kids in the hallway aren’t as bad as the bears in the Japanese mountains.

My mom seemed just as incapable of understanding my problems. She gave me more advice than my dad, but none of it worked. “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Didn’t work. “Ignore them and they’ll stop”. That didn’t work either. They just took it for weakness. She told me they were petty people and I was morally superior. I knew that already, though. It didn’t help. Read more…

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek, Change.org, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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