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me b zola

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Member since: Thu Nov 11, 2004, 09:06 PM
Number of posts: 19,053

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Transracial doesn’t mean what Rachel Dolezal thinks it means


Transracial is a term to describe interracial adoptees and is commonly used in organisational and academic contexts. Simply put, a transracial person is someone raised in a culture or race different from their own. Having been raised by her white parents and choosing to identify as a person of another race, Dolezal does not get to use this term.

I am a transracial adoptee. I was born in South Korea in the late 80s and I am ethnically Korean. My birth family, struggling with sickness and poverty before Korea’s economic boom in the 90s, put me up for adoption. I was adopted to Australia and raised by Australian parents. The people I call Mum and Dad are white. They are of Irish, German, Scottish and English descent and grew up in inner-suburban Sydney. They do not speak any other languages apart from English and some long-forgotten high school German. People would ask my mother if she had an Asian husband. When I was older, neighbours thought I was an exchange student. A creepy man in our neighbourhood with a mail-order bride asked my father, when I was 14, if I was his wife.


I don’t regret my time in Korea, but I am constantly reminded that no matter how hard I try, I will never truly be Korean – every time I open my mouth and my Australian-accented Korean comes out, when I forget to take off my shoes or hold my right elbow when I give something to someone and all these little rules that I never knew about until 2013. The worst is when I am reduced to communicating with my own family with English and Korean baby talk and exaggerated hand movements. I’m torn between berating myself for not getting my own culture “right” and seeing it through a privileged Western lens, as well as the frustration that I was cut off from it for 25 years through no fault of my own.

This confusion over racial identity is a very common experience for transracial adoptees, and something that I would not wish on anybody.

Being transracial is hardly similar to “feeling black”, like Rachel Dolezal claims. It’s not like gender dysphoria either – the politics of race and gender are not interchangeable in this context. Unlike many black Americans, Rachel’s family background does not carry the trauma of slavery and institutionalised racism. Unlike people who really are transracial, Rachel has not been physically torn between two cultures and denied intimate knowledge of her birth culture. Unlike people who are black and transracial adoptees, Rachel has not had to deal with both of these life-affecting experiences at the same time.

~~~~more @ link~~~~


For clarity, I am not the author of the post that I linked to. I am not transracial, but I follow Kevin Vollmers' Land of Gazillion Adoptees (LGA). The true transracial community is quite large and it is very sad that with so many adoptive families on this board no one has stepped up to say that yes, there is a very real thing called transracial. There are dozens of transracial groups out there, creating a space where adoptees can share experiences and come to a place of empowerment and educating adoptive families on the unique issues that their transracial child will face.

There is an excellent web show Adoptees In The Wild that interviews transracial adoptees. I highly recommend it to anyone connected to a transracial person.

on edit: I would like to thank the two DUers who have made reference to the correct usage of the word transracial on another thread. DU is a wonderful tool to inform and become informed. On issues like this where there is very little known to "outsiders" it is important to inform our community members.

Philomena Lee to get the red carpet treatment in Limerick

The Fitzgerald Bible Bruff award is a new award that has been instigated by Bruff Heritage Group in recognition of the connection between the Fitzgerald bible and Bruff, and the role it played in the Fitzgerald Kennedy family.


Ms Lee, 82, is receiving the award for her work in setting up the Philomena Lee Project which helps adopted people find their birth parents. The project also campaigns for a change in legislation which will given adopted children the right to access their original birth certificate. She has previously been awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Award in the Unites States for her project.


Philomena, which stars Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, tells the tragic yet often uplifting true story of Ms Lee who was forced to give her infant son up for adoption in 1952 when she was just 19. Her lifelong search to trace her son Anthony, who was effectively sold to an American couple by the convent where she lived after giving birth, was initially turned into a book and was then adapted for cinema.

The last high profile guest at the Thomas Fitzgerald Centre was Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the 35th president of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. She visited Bruff in the summer of 2013 to see where her ancestors, the Fitzgerald family, came from. The Fitzgerald family bible which was brought to the US from Bruff was used in the inauguration of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1961, confirming Bruff’s close links to the Fitzgeralds.

~more @ link~

I really, really loved that film. It exposed the reality of forced adoptions of the Baby Scoop Era which most people want to ignore and pretend didn't happen. It happened to my mother here in the States, and it happened to millions of women.

But I thought what made the film exceptional was that it addressed the emotional complexities of it all. The only person in her son's life who knew that he was searching for his mother was his husband. Countless people who were "close" to Philomena's son had no idea.

The film also did a wonderful job in showing how the shame continued to haunt Philomena, like countless other mothers of loss. It showed how she had to work through all of the emotional knots in order to work through the courage to find him.

If you care about women's issues, then please watch this film, and then watch it again.

Congratulations Philomena!
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