friendly reminder that you don’t owe your mom kindness and love if she hasn’t shown you any, and that family members don’t automatically deserve all your respect if they treat you badly. don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about how your parents treat you.
so TERF was a term that was obviously coined by trans women and a lot of people know it as meaning “trans exclusionary radical feminist” (and i did too until just recently) but it originally stood for “trans exterminatory radical feminist” and TERFs changed the meaning of it to make it sound less horrible
so in case you needed more reason to hate TERFs there you go have some blatant silencing of trans women
— Clem, Blue is the Warmest Color (via bexkiddo)
Point: It’s not easy having adoptive parents who don’t see race and don’t know how to talk about race.
The fact is, white adoptive parents — especially mine — are under-equipped to broach the subject on race relations in America.
They don’t have the language to start a discussion around race simply because the experience of race is irrelevant to their lives (see Peggy McIntosh’s article on white privilege). As individuals of race and class privilege, they are blissfully unaware of the day-to-day struggles people of color must endure.
Most likely, if I were to bring up the topic of microagressions and the frequency in which I experience them, they would not know what to say. It’s not easy to be forgiving of that because much of their silence around race is what brings me the most emotional pain as an adoptee.
Which brings me to my next point, if my adoptive parents never talked about race then how was I able to combat racist and derogatory remarks growing up in a predominantly white community?
I wasn’t able to.
Adoptive parents who are not willing to discuss race relations honestly and openly with their transracially adopted child do the child the ultimate disservice by ignoring a discussion integral to the child’s identity development. As stated in Darron T. Smith’s article:
"…adoptees often experience daily racial micro-aggressions that are typically "unseen" or misinterpreted by the white parent, thus leaving them exposed without developing effective coping strategies in a life-long battle for their racial identity."
A few years back, I experienced an unpleasant situation in which I was faced with a very racist remark by an ex-boyfriend’s buddy. I was sitting at a bar with my white boyfriend, surrounded by his white male bandmates, drinking a beer. Suddenly, the topic of relocating came up and the lead vocalist started to speak about his experience moving to a city suburb in the next state. He said, “I was talking with some woman about moving to (insert town name here) and she said, ‘No, don’t move there, a lot of Filipinos live there’”. I sat there not knowing what to say, feeling confused and distinctly uncomfortable while my ex-boyfriend and his bandmates chuckled around me.
For hours after, I replayed the scene in my head trying to think of a response to his statement and found I couldn’t. It didn’t help that my ex-boyfriend downplayed the statement and trivialized my experience of it by saying, “He probably didn’t mean it. He was just making an observation.” (Now you know why he’s an ex.)
This situation, among many others, were moments in which I didn’t know how to defend myself or loudly state my discomfort. In hindsight, it was because I didn’t have the language to describe my distress. Luckily, this language is something I’ve slowly discovered in college by reading literature on transracial adoption and speaking with other adoptees — this language has helped me articulate my experience as an adoptee and has paved a way towards claiming a racial identity; however, I’m sure I would have been more equipped to handle a situation such as that or less surprised by it if my home life had consisted of a healthy dose of race discussion.
It will be a long journey before my adoptive parents and I come to an understanding of each others’ experiences. There will be anger, tears, and frustration. Talking about race is tough regardless of family makeup. However, in an interracial family, race discussion MUST be normalized to ensure the healthy identity development of a transracially adopted child.