Cuts like a knife

American Family links to a Hastings Center Report article about a white adoptive parent who arranged for his Asian child to have plastic surgery.  To fix her eyes.

You probably don’t need to read the article, because it’s immediately clear to all but dullards that this is a Very Bad Thing.  But you can read American Family’s post on it, Devil’s Advocate. And then read sinoangle’s posts Force-feeding/Imposing and Culture and Identity.

And now that I’ve given kudos to two white men and two white adoptive parents in the space of just one brief week, I have to go lie down.  I think I’m over quota.  Vitriol to resume on Friday.  Enjoy the love in the meantime.


13 thoughts on “Cuts like a knife

  1. The article does create some important points that I think most APs and PAPs never even consider. International/interracial adoption is a form of cultural genocide. I’m not a statistician but, I believe it’s safe to say a vast majority of white AP’s in America have no interest in learning about their adoptive child’s culture and make no effort to introduce them to it in a fostering way.
    I’m sure there are a few AP’s out there who are trying to do it right, but I still am against intnl/interracial adoptions.

  2. Not wishing to detract from the complete awfulness of this story, nor to reduce any guilt felt by WAPs, I would still like to draw some attention to the case of mixed-race children.

    While I cannot imagine any white parent married/committed to an Asian parent mutilating their offspring in such a manner, my previous posts mentioned above could equally apply, (in cases where the parent of colour is deeply affected by internalised crap and/or colonised), to such families.

    js718 – yes, I have misgivings about international/transracial adoptions, but I cannot speak categorically against them, because then I would have to be against mixed “marriage”. The world is not black and white.

  3. with mixed race families I believe at the very least these children will have or a possibility of having a cultural tie-in to each community. I could be completely wrong, and I apologize for my ignorance on the topic if I am. Its complicated but as I understand mixed race families could reap the benefits from both communities, or they can also be shunned from both communities so I wouldn’t presume anything. I don’t know if I’m articulating this as well as I’d like, anyway…
    That said I think its very different from international/interracial adoptions because when a family adopts a child of another race there is no cultural tie in, and thats a big issue.

    also I don’t feel just because I want international/interracial adoption to one day end I must also be against mixed race families.

  4. What scares me about this story is that it shouldn’t be legal, right? Don’t you usually have to wait until you’re no longer a minor to have plastic surgery unless there’s a medical deformity? I mean, a minor can’t get collagen in her lips, but she can have a cleft palette repaired. So it sounds to me as though the medical establishment, and essentially, the law, is treating an epicanthic form as a deformity because it deviates from the Eurocentric standard of beauty.

  5. “So it sounds to me as though the medical establishment, and essentially, the law, is treating an epicanthic form as a deformity because it deviates from the Eurocentric standard of beauty.”

    I call this kind of practice Racial Cleansing Lite.

    And I bet not a few White people see nothing wrong with this plastic surgey at all.

    In general, plastic surgery is a multibillion dollar industry that profits off of the insecurities and body image issues of millions of people.

    Welcome to the world of the Medical Industrial Complex.

  6. omfg, i am so sorry that i read the article. It makes me wonder, number one, who would have approved a home study for that idiot, and number two, how did said idiot become a doctor?

    and where did he find another dufus like himself to perform the surgery?

    this has to be one of the most incredibly shocking cases, this really amounts to child abuse.
    the part about the kid’s eyes closing when she smiled, omfg.

  7. I’ve been perusing the usual blogs and message boards for IA parents and so far I’ve seen nothing but outrage there as well. A small part of me hopes and prays the same people read some of the commentary here, and linked from here.
    Those sites show how this case is almost a satirical (if it were not real) example of what many of us do by dressing our girls in Snow White costumes and saying we are colorblind.

  8. Thank you for bringing this topic to general awareness. I’m sick enough about parents in Asia pressuring their daughters to get eyelid surgery but, wow, to do this to a child in the name of “modern medicine” makes me want to puke. I’ve scheduled a blog entry for tomorrow morning and it will trackback to this entry. I hope you don’t mind.

  9. According to the article, there are no legal barriers. It’s a matter of ethics. Similarly, white adoptive parents who live in all-white neighborhoods are allowed to adopt children of color.

  10. ^ cosign, i think this is an important connection APs need to understand. Especially those who are outraged by this surgery but continue to raise their adopted children in homogeneous white town.

  11. Good point, Resistance, and js718, yeah, really hoping some APs who are outraged over the surgery will see the connection.

    I don’t know, I’m not an AP, but am a white parent of Afr.Am/White kids, now young adults, and I swear, I wish there’d have been some kind of required education, training, kick to the ass … SOMETHING. I was young and colorblind, and had no friggin’ clue how my ignorance could and would impact my children. Hell, I had a POC as my co-parent, and my ignorance STILL cost my kids.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but … having experienced parenting children of color, I admit I do wish there were some kind of requirements as far as education and having to commit to certain things in raising the kids. I’m talking bio OR adoptive.

    I really think that if there were some serious education required – I mean real education, real history, institutional racism, not that multiculti lite shit — a lot of would-be parents or even would-be interracial partners might rethink their choices.

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