12
May
10

Becoming Transracialized

I knew I wanted it but I didn’t know it had a name–transracialized. John Raible defines it as “the positive outcome can happen when a person of one race spends a lot of time with individuals of another race.”

For someone who grew up in Arkansas, I had largely transracialized childhood. We lived in the part of town that housed the majority of the city’s minority population. That population was made up largely of African American, Laotian, and Vietnamese, with some Latino and Indian (as in from India) families. My caucasian parents talked to me about race early on, when I was 3 or 4, so I knew of race, I recognized it, but didn’t feel it separated me from anyone. Many of my early friendships were with children of other races and later my most serious romantic relationship before marriage was with a young African American man. It was during that relationship that I began to realize that my parents feelings about race had either changed since my childhood or had never truly been what  they espoused them to be.

During early adulthood, I married (a white guy) and started my career. As a newspaper journalist I encountered all types of people, but didn’t really have much time for a social life as I worked to build my career. For many years, by virtue of where I lived and worked, my life became increasingly white. But when our lives settled down some, my husband and I realized that we weren’t comfortable with the whiteness. If we truly believed that all people are equal and race is just a physical characteristic, then our lives should reflect that and we should not be segregated from people of color. It was then that we began seeking and interacting with a more diverse group of people. We began attending a predominately African American church and made many close friends. And we began to feel more “normal,” as if this was what our lives were supposed to look like.

Then four years ago we began our transracial adoption journey. From the beginning we felt the importance of horoing our son’s Korean heritage. And in the last couple of years, we’ve become increasing aware of the need for our son to see himself reflected in those around him. And we don’t want Korean Americans, or Asian Americans, who will only be resources; we want them to be our friends. It will take some work since the community we currently live in is largely segarated, but it’s work we’re willing to do. And if our hopes and dreams are fulfilled, we’ll be able to move to a place where there are even more opportunities to become a part of a diverse community.

As the last couple of weeks have taught me, racism is no longer something that I can acknowledge exists yet choose to ignore. If I am to be ally for my son and my friends who are people of color, I must stand up against the attitudes that allow prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination to continue. I must try to educate those around me who believe it’s better to be colorblind and help them understand that racism still exists and the only way to fight it is to be educated.

If you want to learn more about becoming transracialized visit John Raible’s blog. The link to his blog is in now under Adoption Resources on the right side of this blog. John is a transracial adoptee and adoptive parent to transracial adoptees, so he has a unique perspective. Here’s a link to an article he wrote about nine steps you can take to have a transracialized, multricultural lifestyle.

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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

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