We’ve heard what you’re against — What do you support?

Well, actually if you’d heard we wouldn’t still be writing…

BUT, I did think maybe our readers should know what proactive and positive people we are.  So, awesome transracial adoptees who care enough to speak out against racial and cultural oppression, what do you support?

3 thoughts on “We’ve heard what you’re against — What do you support?

  1. I support helping mothers and fathers, families, villages, communities and countries become self-sufficient. I support teaching skills on how to be independent. Dependence equals disappointments and independence equals freedom. Instead of taking (his/her children) why not give by teaching and sharing your strengths to help others?

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
    Chinese Proverb

    This would help individuals which then would translate into helping nations taking care of their own children. I also support the human spirit in searching for the Truth. Secrets suppress and depress the heart while the truth sets us free. Be honest with ourselves and each other. Basics in humanity skills.

  2. Another proverb:

    أمل بلا عمل شجرة بلا ثمر

    “Hope without action [is like a] tree without dates [that bears no fruit]”.

    I would like to see the basics of human dignity to be ascribed to the 80 percent of the world population currently without this acknowledgment from the minority who owns all and controls all. This isn’t a call even for equality yet, because we’ve shifted into a situation where the majority of the planet is dismissed from the get-go. After acknowledgment, then equality.

    We often get this question as an accusation, and I’m having a hard time responding to it in a pro-active kind of way. Because I know what I do, and I base what I do on those who echo the above proverb in their own way of framing it: theory in practice; thought in deed; words in action.

    We’ve all dedicated a major part of our lives to a struggle, and that requires us to challenge a status quo that frankly it would be easier to slide into and accept. I’m not sure what more might be asked of us.

  3. What we are talking about is a stepping down from one’s class position, and a truthful evaluation of what our “razor’s edge” means. Quoting Frantz Fanon from Black Skin, White Masks:

    In no way should my color be regarded as a flaw. From the moment the Negro accepts the separation imposed by the European he has no further respite, and “is it not understandable that henceforth he will try to elevate himself to the white man’s level? To elevate himself in the range of colors to which he attributes a kind of hierarchy?” We shall see that another solution is possible. It implies a restructuring of the world.

    For those of us on this razor’s edge, as I stated before, this often means attempting to maintain aspects of our new-found adoptive class status which otherwise might not be afforded to us. Especially when we return, how do we navigate this? For the adoptive class, how to make up for the taking advantage of this positioning within society?

    I don’t mean to preach here; but how adoption is perceived as a beneficent or charitable act in and of itself reminds me of the difference in perception between “heart and eye” (I’m badly paraphrasing Imam ‘Ali (pbuh) here), meaning, what the eye perceives as reality on the ground must match up with the sentiment and empathy one feels inside for that reality, not for oneself, one’s pride, one’s ego, etc.. In adoption there is a willful cognitive dissonance along these lines that therefore can only exacerbate ills in society.

    I can list out some “action points” that guide my own living/teaching/working:

    • Forego the private for the public (in terms of space, transportation, leisure, etc.); limit the public to the lowest common denominator societally speaking. For example, in Beirut, only go where everyone in the city (including the slave labor domestic workers, migrant workers, etc.) can also go.
    • For restaurants, if the worker in the kitchen cannot walk in and get a table do not enter.
    • For businesses, if the owner is not knowable, if he or she cannot be personally addressed, do not frequent it.
    • For food, know its provenance. Eat with the seasons. Consume locally as much as possible, and as low on the scale of branding as possible.
    • Boycott as need be as an informed consumer and stick to those limitations.
    • Never lean on your real or perceived class status to gain short-term advantage for yourself.
    • Exception is made here if it means helping someone else (for one local example, intervening in a police checkpoint that is targeting migrant workers).
    • Engage with every human being you come in contact with in a way that truly preserves their dignity, despite their station.
    • Do not forego the real world and your real community for the ephemeral ones online. The virtual starts to take on false qualities that are missing from the real, and will eventually supplant it. This is another path of least resistance. This is a question of balance.
    • Be prepared to challenge the daily assaults against those who do not have Voice enough to respond.
    • Always renegotiate your perception so that you are looking up with others, and not looking down on others.

    I define this paradigm to my students in a way that allows us to determine what we are allowed to say and do based on a list of parameters that limit us or empower us: Ability (we all have this); Audience (to whom we are speaking, not always obvious); Right (in terms of the law, and not as free as we like to assume); Luxury (bounds of locality, often subliminally imposed, such as social, religious, or cultural curbs); Privilege (ability to surmount the above due to class status).

    When I think about it, it doesn’t make sense for a few to speak out if they are not also empowering others without that Voice to do the same thing.

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

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