Jae Ran Kim has referred to Asian adoptees as “the model minority of the model minority”; this came up in an item discussing the arrival of a French Korean adoptee to the government ministerial level in that country [link].
We’ve also discussed the “glass ceiling” which might be described as racism suffered out of the “ignorance” of not knowing that we are the “new and improved” version of [perhaps formerly troublesome] minorities [link].
Now I’m coming back to ask out loud if there isn’t—for those of us who determinedly decide to not fit this “model minority” assignation—a punishment, a “smackdown” of sorts?
I ask this mostly as a warning perhaps, in light of a recent to-do concerning gentrification in New York City, in which Spike Lee refers to white gentrifiers as suffering from “Christopher Columbus Syndrome” [link]. When pushed, gentrifiers in many of New York’s black neighborhoods exclaimed the “saving nature” of their presence, and Spike Lee caught hell for giving voice to this “uncomfortable truth”.
The “flip side” of the smackdown is perhaps seen in the accolades given to those who “toe the line”; who actively deny their culture and ethnicity and attempt to assimilate. Most recently this has been discussed in terms of the book written by “Tiger Mother” Amy Chau (perhaps deserving her own item?) The Triple Package [link]. Here is the “pat on the head” for doing right.
And for doing wrong, I would ask: What is the “dominant culture” capable of saying/doing when the “perfected integration” of adoption basically fails? What does it mean when adoptee culture actively seeks to avoid this perception? Have you seen signs of this, or have you suffered for this?