And this (Are Americans Who Adopt Asian Children Robbing Them of Their Actual Identities? by Maya Ballin) was the article I posted that resulted in my cousin asking, “Just curious Wendy do you think you were robbed of your actual identity by being raised by your loving American family? Because that’s the message I got from your post.”
There were so many things I could have said and so many ways I could have said it, but I managed a relatively diplomatic response ending with, “However, do I think my family was able to adequately prepare me for the experience of being a non-White American? No, which in my reading of the posted article is the main point the author is examining.” The conversation that ensued was a prime illustration of why it is often so difficult to talk across color (and the correspondent experience) lines.
First, people often want you, as a minority, to educate them without them having to do any research, thinking, or experiencing on their own.
Second, we believe in and give primacy to our own experiences, which means that the experiences of others that do not match ours are seen with less legitimacy. This becomes dangerous when we live in a nation that has an embedded racial hierarchy, when you’re a member of the race at the top of said hierarchy, and when there is pervasive residential segregation. So what does this all mean? It means you can live in a white bubble where race rarely colors your daily life.
Third, it’s uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to talk about something that could potentially challenge what have been lifelong beliefs and values. We have too much at stake – relationships, belief systems, identities.
So, back to my “loving American family.” You know, the reason my cousin asked the question that she did was because, in her words, “For those scrolling their feeds and reading just the title maybe a little more posting by you would help people not assume you are implying what the title is stating. And i know that people can be hurt by what was implied without any explanation about your understanding of the post by you.”
It had nothing to do with if I, presumably her loved one, had or was facing some sort of (identity) crisis, rather it was all about the assumed lack of care I had for my family’s feelings. Now what kind of love is that?