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... Fittingly named, because it does relativism so well. A blog attempting to educate on transracial adoptions, Choices features mostly posts by these select adopters themselves (one is a Barnard alum). But, as the New York Times often is with its tunneled, caring-white-person stories, the blog has had quite a number of very iffy, "othering" posts by adopting parents. Take a read...

The inaugural post of Choices is exactly the story of a first-world savior discovering the "magical" history of third-world innocent. In "Finding Zhao Gu", the adopting father writes about his search for the origins of his daughter. In doing so, he says a lot of generally self-righteous and Orientalist things - like "yearn[ing] to know the secrets that he, alone among millions in China, held within himself," how the events of his saviorship "felt like fate", and talking in English at the person who found her in order to achieve his personal sense of closure.

Not all of the posts are terrible. In "Beyond the Lion Dance," the same man writes about offering his two Chinese girls (pathological Chinese baby adopter?) a semblance of cultural belonging in Chinatown and worrying about the identity issues they might be faced with in the future. Another explains how she avoided the demeaning videos from African adoption agencies (but only until she actually forced her way to a child that she found particularly adorable, "with darling eyes and nappy hair that was tightly curled and uneven in appearance.")

One article, however, is just ridiculous. In "The Real Thing", Tama Janowitz tries to make herself immune to criticism about what seems like crass child-rearing ways while telling us the deeply ignorant things she says to people about her motherhood... things like, "I say to Willow: 'Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!'" Her snarkiness knows few bounds. After calling her daughter's features "Mongolian", she proceeds to minimize the problems that other Asian adoptees have had with not having forged a cultural identity. Great writing, Tama - let me know when you want to peddle more of your irreverent, insensitive garbage over the internet... unless after Googling your own name you found that to be a bad idea.

I'm not alone in my disgust. If you want to see the problems that bloggers have already found with this writing, every word in this sentence links to a verbal lashing of this blog. And this is just what Carmen linked on Racialicious.

There's more... Carmen reports that the Times bloggers have been censoring dissenting comments from adult adoptees. Denying claims of their own racism... wow, we haven't seen this before. Relative Choices, all in all, makes me slightly sick. Of course the posts by adoptees themselves are pretty okay, but this should be a reason why we "loosely ethnicity-oriented" blogs exist - to catch mainstream writers in the very troubling things they say.


  1. Marilla said...

    I noted this in the entry already, but one of the writers, Tama Janowitz, is a '77 Barnard alum. Her involvement in Relative Choices is currently headlining Barnard's home page.  

  2. Third Mom said...

    I am woefully late in thanking you for the shoutout - thank you! I actually sent my letter to the New York Times, but of course there has been no response.

    I keep hoping Ms. Janowitz posts a response, but alas I guess it's not to be. No surprise here, though.  

  3. Anonymous said...


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