My identity is not a mask I can take off when things get tough.

Image Credit: LFSMusings

Trigger Warning: Offensive language against Chinese people (used to describe a racist situation)

People tell me to stop talking about race when I’m an adoptee advocate. They tell me to not talk about adoption when I’m discussion racism.

What a beautiful privilege it would be if I could choose when to be what!

Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury. I can’t stop being a woman of color, and I can’t stop being a transracial adoptee. Those identities will always be intertwined.

Being a Chinese woman raised in a white family led to a lot of confusion about identity. When I experienced racism and microaggressions, those were not only new experiences to me, but to my family as well. There were no lessons about what to do when people called you a “chink”. There were no lessons about what to do when other Chinese kids told you that you don’t even count as an Asian. Last year when a grown man pulled his eyes into slits as I walked by, I didn’t even know if I had the right to be offended. Transracial adoption is the cause of that confusion.

I talk so much about race because the trend I see is white, adoptive parents (WAPs) not realizing that their kids of color are going to experience racism. Or worse, when adult adoptees speak up about experiences with racism and they don’t believe us. Or the absolute worst, when adult adoptees explain why a popular term or phrase is offensive and WAPs hit us with the, “We didn’t intend for it to be racist, and we won’t stop.”

I call it all out. I talk about it a lot. If adult adoptees don’t, who will?

You don’t know what you don’t know. If you’ve never experiences racism then why would you expect your kid of color to experience it? I get it. That’s why adult adoptees speak up. So nothing is unknown. So you can prepare yourself and your child for the real world.

When people tell adoptees to own who we are, then our races and our cultures need to be acknowledged and celebrated. When we experience ignorance and aggression because of our skin, we need to be validated.

People look at me, and the first thing they see is an Asian woman. Then they talk to me and realize I’m an adoptee. I will always be both. Both must be validated.

So, ask yourself this… if me talking about race seems irrelevant or annoying, what are you truly afraid of?

For a video on my thoughts see below

My Adoption Story Pt. 52 | I’m a TRA and WOC

My Adoption Story Pt. 53 | China Dolls and Spicy Girls (part 2 of racism video)

PLEASE make sure those terms of endearment aren’t offensive and/or sexualizing your kids. Thanks.

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