Saturday, January 09, 2010

What this discussion needs to be about...

I'm just going to come out and say it. I'm fucking pissed off as hell right now. I have just discovered that a certain womanist has been on my blog and posting links on hers to a previous post I did about adoption. A few months back, I got into it with this womanist when she made some rather vulgar comments in a post about white adoptive parents (namely Angelina Jolie). To be honest, I didn't stick around for long enough for a second response from her (the first response she gave when I confronted her just came off as arrogant and uninformed) nor have I visited her blog since. For all I know she may have talked her way out of looking like an ass, but I really wouldn't know.

It troubles me that she decided to post this specific link. It troubles me because my post if misconstrued and twisted could be seen to support the arrogant assumptions she made about white adoptive parents.

Let me go on record right now so that there is no question where I stand: I do not believe that adoption is in the child's best interest. I believe that especially when it comes to those within the African diaspora, that because of an already colonized identity, an additional erasure of ones past history can be incredibly traumatic. This is not to say that all adoptees don't too struggle with a seemingly lost identity when entering into an adoptive family, just that colonial histories are uniquely disruptive to diasporic Black African adoptees.

However, as traumatic as this additional colonial baggage can be this does not mean that white adoptive parents can't parent and love their adopted children in a way that both seems natural and just plain right. I have only personally witnessed this on two occasions. The first being the love I received from my grandmother:

Photobucket

My grandmother was family. No matter how she came to be in my family, to me she will always be the "real" thing. At the end of her life, despite Alzheimer's disease robbing her of the ability to speak let alone recognize most of her family members, she still remembered me. I was the last person whose name she forgot (she referred to my amother as her sister) and when she no longer could speak her eyes would light up when we would look through picture albums of her and I from years past. She would point me out in those pictures, her eyes alight, smiling in recognition as she looked at me, as if to say "this is you, I know you still, I haven't forgotten my granddaughter".

The second occasion I witnessed how natural a white adoptive parent raising a child of colour could be was this past October. My kindergarten teacher (who has several adopted children) shared the pictures of her youngest son's reunion with his biological mother with my amother and myself. She was so genuinely happy for her son. She had fully supported him finding his mother, sending him, and even going as far as being the one to first suggest that he go to his country of birth. I will admit, seeing those pictures and seeing how supportive she was made me feel a little green.

I was envious, because my amother was not at all like that. But that's just my one experience...and not even my complete experience as an adoptee. Every adoptees experience is unique, and I most certainly do not speak for all adoptees. Making broad assumptions about adoptees, or their adoptive parents is ignorant.

On the other post, a commenter (whom I have tremendous respect for) made a comment about making the distinction between dysfunctional vs functional families as opposed to adoptive vs biological ones.

They got half of the equation correct.

It is imperative that adoptees speak up about the dysfunction resulting from their adoptions. I believe that dysfunction in adoptive families runs a separate course many times, than it does when it comes to dysfunction produced within a natural biological family structure. My amother repeatedly using the threat of surrendering her parental rights to the state was not only cruel because it was a constant reminder of being abandoned once already, but also because it reinforced the powerlessness adoptees feel in their new adoptive environments (I was the recipient of this woman's charity that could at any moment be withdrawn).

The nail the commenter did manage to hit squarely on the head was the fact that there needs to be some distinction between what is dysfunctional and what isn't but not opposed to anything, but rather in relation to adoptive families.

Had the womanist, who felt the need to post my link on her blog took the trouble to comment and clarify her intentions, I would not be so upset at the situation. The fact remains that the last time I had a conversation with this woman, her views were terribly one-sided. As it stands, it would appear that the view she has of adoptees and their adoptive parents is one which is only of dysfunction.

As much as I like the free promotion of my blog (I personally think everyone should be reading it!) I don't support those who would only limit themselves to a single story (refer to the second video in my featured videos in the sidebar for more on the "single story"). I don't want anything I write to be used to promote a single story, especially when it isn't even fully my own.

I never intended for the focus of this blog to be about adoption, but there will probably be more of my adoption story to be written down in the distant, and not-so-distant future. Because dammit...my story needs to be told! (the parts sitting in my draft box waiting to be finished and published, the other parts being written in my mind...waiting to transpire into print). I just hope people realize mine is just one of many stories, and should not be used to affirm conclusively any negative misgivings one has surrounding adoption, transracial or otherwise until they have taken the time to actually understand the delicate nature of this issue.



Right now I'm listening to:

The Healer - Erykah Badu

9 comments:

Renee said...

Don't beat around the bush, just call me by name. I am fine with it. I stand by what I write. I don't expect all people to agree with me but in my space, I speak my mind just as you speak yours in your space. I linked to the post without comment on my Saturday round up, not because I was trying to prove a point but because I routinely attempt to link to as many Black bloggers as possible on a weekly basis and I realized I hax not linked to your blog for awhile. I actually just came to your blog today to see if you had written anything new that I could link to for my Saturday round up when I noticed your vicious attack. You need not worry, I will cease and desist attempting to encourage my readers to read your work. Unlike you, I can disagree with someone and sill feel the desire to support their efforts in the name of race and gender solidarity.

BLACKkittenROAR said...

My vicious attack? Please, you know your comments were derogatory. If you choose to stand by them, that is completely fine by me BUT don't get upset when you get called out. Had you linked any other post I wouldn't have cared, but since its obvious from this comment that you have not taking the time to educate yourself and expand your mind, I honestly would prefer you not to promote me, because I rather not be endorsed by somebody with such a limited perspective. I've seen your rant posts when something doesn't quite go your way, you obviously can't handle being wrong. Referring to adoptees as accessories and claiming that its impossible for a white parent to raise a Black child is ignorant. I have no problem with disagreement, but I don't support those who look down their noses at others, even if its for "the cause".

Renee said...

Yes,vicious attack. At least when I call someone out I have the guts to name to them. You speak about your high moral ground and then beat around the bush. No conviction and zero courage. Also the arrogance of your commentary; someone disagrees with you necessarily makes them wrong. It's nice to know that the world is nicely divided into black and white instead of multiple shades of grey. I said that the children are tantamount to accessories and I believe they deserve to be treated better by their adoptive mothers but go ahead and keep endorsing the theft of Black children from Africa, as though the west has not done that enough already. I am not going to re-argue the debate with you because unlike you I understand that the point is conversation and not necessarily a point by point agreement.

BLACKkittenROAR said...

You know what the wonderful thing about you is? You're your own worst enemy. I don't even have to say anything more because yet again you've desplayed how truly limited you are. Did you bother to actually read this post in it's entirety? I highly doubt you did because if you had you would have known better than to accuse me of being pro adoption. You see this post really isn't about you at all, rather some clarification on where I stand. I felt the need to separate myself from someone like yourself, because unlike you I have a) lived experience and b) actually done some research to back up my opinion. You claim I see things in black and white, and yet it is you who chooses to blanket everyone in to one category. Since I doubt you'll take the time to reread the post, I will say it again: I do not believe that adoption is in the best interest of the child, but I would be wrong to make the claim that in the case of transracial adoptions, that white parents are unable to love and support their children of colour. The way you make it sounds, it seems you don't believe that whites can love Black people. And I find this especially interesting because your "unhusband" is a white man, is he not?

BLACKkittenROAR said...

(I accidentally deleted ur last comment)

Renee wrote:

Now I know you are sick, I don't agree with your points and you decide that it is okay to use my family in your argument. Totally unacceptable. You don't know a damn thing about me and yet you have the nerve to refer to my personal life. I say again COWARD and in fact ignorant COWARD. I don't think that White people are equipped to deal with the racism that Black children face or to prepare them to live in a White supremacist world. As I said earlier, I am highly suspect of the motives of these rich and famous mothers claiming the title of earth mother and taking children away from mothers of color. This has always been about respecting the mother and child in my mind Far too many people are willing to put poor WOC and their children last. Instead of working on solutions to help these poor women keep their babies, they snatch them and play White saviour. I don't necessarily think adoption is a bad thing but until poor WOC are given the resources to make the decisions freely no real choice exists.

You have twisted my points repeatedly to serve an agenda. I am used to seeing this from White feminists but from a WOC it is low and hurtful. Thanks for the solidarity. I was willing to say that disagreement is unavoidable and accord you the respect of validating your opinions regardless of how I felt about them because that is what grown ppl do but when you invoke a persons family you cross any line of redemption in my mind. Publish or don't publish, I no longer give a damn.

@Renee

First off, call me a coward all you want. Its quite amusing considering I don't know you from a hole in the ground, but whatever. Second, you are such a hypocrite. The exact same thing you are accusing me of is what you yourself are doing. Please save your ramblings, because its clear you lost your damn mind a long time ago. Don't dish out what you can't take. You obviously have deep seated issues with whites separate from the day-to-day bs resulting from living in society that places bw at the bottom of the totem pole - you should really try to work them out because you come off as bitter and angry - the very stereotype which makes almost all bw cringe. Stop treating people as monolithic entities, not all white people are evil, some have good intentions. Its the system thats fucked up. I agree that woc and their children are devalued. I have witnessed the white saviour complex whites have in regards to adoption first hand! But I've also witnessed white adoptive parents who truly love and cherish their children, and realize how blessed they are to have their children. But you don't seem to be able to grasp that, and I'm sure yet again my words will be wasted on you. The thing is, I could care less. People like you aren't important, its not my job to convince you of anything. I don't owe u shit, ur struggle is ur own as is mine. I am passionate about this and I refuse to let some internet bully who has zero 1st hand experience make me back down. YOUR OPINIONS ARE IGNORANT AND UNINFORMED! When you learn how to behave like an adult and act constructively, than maybe we can continue this conversation. Until then, don't bother. Your wasting your time trying to convince me of anything with the attitude you've got.

BLACKkittenROAR said...

Margaret wrote:

I'm adopted but by black parents so I can't really relate on the level of having white parents. Nor have I ever had my parents threaten to give up their rights as my parents to the state. Wow. I think adoption is wonderful when done by the right people. I'm grateful that my parents adopted my brother, sister and I.

BLACKkittenROAR said...

Hi Margaret,
Thanks for the input! I agree, when done by the right people, adoption is a beautiful thing. My kindergarten teacher has 6 adopted children! She is a Christian, but she also holds many Buddhist beliefs. A Buddhist woman told her (when they first met before she had a chance to tell her anything about herself) that her "children had chosen her" and that in a past life her oldest daughter had been her mother. Some people are just meant to be in each others family.

Renee said...

You my friend are a sell out. You sit there and praise White people and nowhere do you acknowledge that the only reason that these adoptions happen in the first place is because of the dis-empowerment of Black women. On an individual level, a White person may be alright but they still benefit from privilege.The fact that they are adopting Black children is an act of privilege when we understand that adoption itself is not set up with the best interests of poor Black mothers in mind. How many generations do we have to live through of well meaning White social workers destroying Black families. You use all the trigger words of a coward and then accuse me of being a bully cause I speak truth to power. Well you are proof of why these adoptions are problematic because somewhere along the line you forgot what being Black is. I won't be back because you aren't worth the bandwidth that it took me to write this message.

BLACKkittenROAR said...

First off, I'm not your friend. Second, how exactly do you figure you know what my complete views on adoption are? I've only written 3 posts on the subject! Lady, go fuck yourself. I will be blessed if you never show up on my blog again, because you are nothing more than a pebble in my shoe - an irritation. You do not know me. I'm proof of nothing. I wonder how you justify using personal attacks, and yet can't handle them when you are at the receiving end? Your pathetic and a detriment to the cause. You make bw look angry and bitter, and people like you are the reason feminism/womanism will never be taken serious because of the lunatics like yourself it attracts. You seriously need to take a good look in the mirror at yourself, because your living in a bubble of disillusion. So sayonara Ms Crazy, make sure to let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

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