Post-Election Adoptee Racial Awareness

In a post-presidential election world, many people are trying to figure out where they fit, how they will be affected, and what they should do next. Within my Korean adoptee networks, I see people coming to a realization that they, in fact, aren’t white despite being raised by white families, growing up in predominately white communities, and being relatively accepted in their white social networks. As race-based hate crimes rise across the country, cries of “they’re attacking ASIANS now, too!” demonstrate how distant many adoptees are from our co-ethnics. Our friend circles along with our knowledge of American history are just as devoid of people who look like us.

Instead of understanding how adoption from Korea is situated within this paradox of anti-Asian sentiment on one hand and racial exceptionalism on the other, Korean adoptees largely are raised within ideas of colorblindness and multiculturalism that overlook their racial group membership and ethnic background while at the same time making these differences exotic enough to be fashionable yet manageable enough to be unthreatening. For the transnational transracial adoptees who, because of this election, are just now coming to understand themselves as racialized beings, I hope that they persist in this realization. But beyond that, I hope they understand how they have been complicit in the subjugation of other communities of color, those that they are not members of and those that they are, and then how they can proactively fight against injustice.

And I wonder, how do white adoptive parents make sense of themselves and their non-white (adopted) children? For adoptive parents who are just now coming to understand their children as non-white, does the care for their children extend to the racial and ethnic communities that they now understand they are connected to?

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