Note: Blog newcomers should read the entire Why I hate adoptive parents series and then should sit on their hands for the next seven to ten years. Thank you.
Forwarded from a listserv of predominantly white parents with Asian kids comes a turd of stupidity from a white adoptive parent. Under discussion is the question of how to handle another (non-Asian) child dressing as a “Chinese girl” for Halloween:
I would say that if there *were* negative comments or if things
started to show a negative light – that would be an awesome teaching moment for the teachers.
Why yes! Let’s encourage racism in the schools, because that affords teachers opportunities that they might otherwise miss. Just like ignoring situations that promote violence is a good idea, because once kids start beating on each other, it is an awesome teaching moment.
Once the negative comments are out, the damage has been done. Education after the fact may help some, but I doubt seriously it alleviates the pain of racism. That is, if the situation is addressed at all.
There are undoubtedly many opportunities daily for white teachers to address racism. The problem is that they don’t get taken.
My general experience with white teachers, including and perhaps especially nice, well-intentioned, well-meaning white teachers, is that they don’t have either the training or the experience to deal with racism. Often they themselves perpetuate it. And they don’t even recognize it.
White teachers are just a segment of the overall white population. The white population typically doesn’t have any special knowledge about dealing with race or racism. But that doesn’t stop them from opining as if they do.
This particular parent goes on to talk about how her daughter dressed up as a “hillbilly” for Halloween and how cute it was. As someone who grew up among folks my mother used to refer to as “hill people,” I don’t see a “hillbilly” costume as being either appropriate or cute. But let’s change the costume around a bit:
I dressed my white daughter up as a Chinese girl (complete with slanty eyed makeup and a cheong sam and a coolie hat) and she carried a pair of chopsticks and some fortune cookies. She talked in her best Chinese talk – nothing disparaging – just “Ching chong” and “Ding dong wing wang” – and she had the inflection down to a tee. Everyone had fun with it. And the getup was good enough to win first place.
(Of course, probably a lot of white parents of Asian kids wouldn’t see that as offensive either. But I digress.)
She (I assume the parent is a she; I might be mistaken) goes on to say that she would hate to see children’s imagination being squelched. And she ends with “Or maybe I just don’t get it.”
Well, at least that last part is accurate. Ironic, but accurate.
I have a much longer, much angrier rant about white adoptive parents that I can’t decide if I want to unleash or not. But y’all should be warned that it probably isn’t a good idea to offer lots of excuses for them.