Am I the only one?

Speaking with another adoptee yesterday, half African American, half Korean, she noted how I was the only adoptee she’d ever spoken with who didn’t want to be white growing up.

While it is true I felt white and was always zapped into place when the rest of the world reminded me that I was not, I never did want to be white.  I would sometimes look in the mirror and think that I did not look less than them.  Sometimes I would even think I looked beautiful.  And what I really wanted was for MY race to be as strong and proudly identified as the other minorities who lived near me.  I did not want to be a model minority.  I wanted to be a militant angry minority.  I wanted the solidarity that being marginalized as a group brings.  If I was going to be exotified for my race, I wanted it to have more substance than being sexualized and subservient.  I wanted to be MORE ethnic.  I wanted my minority status to be the IT minority.  But I felt instead that my race was the marginalized of the marginalized.

Did anyone else here want to be a major force in pop culture?  Did anyone else here want to be a different more popular and influential minority?

2 thoughts on “Am I the only one?

  1. Speaking on behalf that many adoptees have come with a spectrum of experiences growing up and it’s difficult to compare all of us, for some being white is the only thing that most of us know because of the socio-economic location of where trans-racial adoptees have been adopted. Being that I was adopted into a densely white Caucasian area in Michigan, I was not given the same opportunity in being surrounded by people from the same ethnic background as me and I was unable to fully know what it meant to be Asian (American) or Filipino (American).

    It is difficult to be influential in some cases if the classified “race” does not accept the adoptee because they don’t fit the same cultural values that are found more prevalent within the group. That belonging sense is difficult due to being brought up in a white culture and trying to find home within someone’s pre-disposed background and making something more of it because it’s coming from a unique perspective. I guess I am just questioning the difficulty in finding that solidarity and support from the other minority group is not adopted

    To be influential would require an innovation like the majority-minority but also a way that would mimic the culture to be just like them. In essence, I suppose it would mean socializing yourself into the pre-dominant culture to understand the ropes and acting as a figurehead.

  2. It’s a really interesting question. I think I lived a strange duality, obviously aware that I wasn’t white (but feeling white for my acculturation) while not at all aware that I was given a “credibility” for being obviously a minority (yet not thinking I was able to walk this line).

    It sets up a cognitive dissonance where you are “revealed” by your background, like a gray square that seems light against a dark background and dark against a light one.

    The problem is when you are called out on what you aren’t.

    PofAA above mentions something interesting though, which is what I would call the class divide. Meaning, I can remember wanting to volunteer in my neighborhood in New York, but this was prevented in a way by class difference, not just not being of the minority community I happened to live among. I also remember activist groups splitting along racial lines, and strangely finding myself arguing for their union—basically because I couldn’t “choose sides”!

    Finally I would say that because the construct of ethnicity within a white dominant culture is conceived as being subaltern, to aim for this goes against the dominant acculturation in a major way; meaning, it’s like fighting to get into a ghetto that everyone wants out of: You’re still left all alone.

Adoptees, what do you think? We welcome your replies!

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