The following arrives at the point of asking:
In the face of too much irresolvable complexity, must we simply say “fuck it” and accept and live by the (untenable) premise that we can go on living “without culture” by taking whatever we pick up (individually) to have the sustaining and grounding quality that actual culture provides?
That’s the question I have for us.
As someone once said of white folks, “I don’t think they know they’re white.”
On the premise that the notion of “white” denies it is a race at all–that is, while other people are member of the “coloured” races, people of the white race are just people in a universal sense–then what effect does that have, what part or role does it play, in the dynamics of transracial adoption?
Some (obvious) basic consequences:
- if (the nonexistent race of) white makes for universal people, then anyone not “white” becomes a non-person, or at most only a semi-person;
- if race doesn’t matter or is not granted any social reality, then the denial of culture, history, place, home, that transracial adoptions inflicts automatically ceases to be seen as undesirable, much less harmful, by those adopting;
- it establishes a catch-22, where the transracial adoptee must strive for a condition (of race) that his or her adopters do not recognize as a fundamental reality, even as they demand or at least expect conformity to the “universal” condition of personhood;
- this all hides or masques the dominance of “white” as a socioeconomic category more than a fact of biology (though biological facts have real-world socioeconomic consequences)
- in a technocratically optimistic and now neoliberally desiccated social world, what passes for the culture we must strive for seems more like anti-culture (because the “white” universal being, of course, cannot be limited to one place, one time, one culture).
As a perceived white person raised by a Hispanic male who aspired to the socioeconomic condition of whiteness–and succeeded, of course, to some degree–I do feel at times a massive gap where I know I should find “culture”; I find myself wanting to research Welsh and Nordic history and mythology then, because that’s culturally white (for the most part).
But I experience it viscerally also when I go (as they say around here) “north of Bradley” to get my hair cut in a predominantly Black part of town, and I feel the life, activity, vibrancy, and bustle of the social world there compared to the “white” parts of town. I felt it also when visiting Vietnam.
In the face of too much irresolvable complexity, then, do we just say “fuck it” and accept and live by the (untenable) premise that we can go on living “without culture” by taking merely whatever we pick up (individually) to have the sustaining and grounding quality that actual culture provides or imparts?