Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
- The adoptive parents'? They might fear that their child will reject them if s/he is allowed to seek information about or contact with birth families...let me tell you, the possibility of rejection is MUCH higher when they are denied the right to this information.
- The birth families'? The birth families might fear lack of privacy and therefore not want an adoptive child to seek. Often that's not the case, but sometimes it truly is.
- The adoptees'? Many say that access to birth certificates is a civil right that belongs to every citizen and should therefore belong to adoptees as well. Many also say that access to information about heredity, etc. is also a basic human right.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
My friend Rachel recently wrote a wonderful blogpost about the language of adoption, and it got me thinking again about the terms we use to describe our situations and label our family members.
- "birth" or "bio" mother/father: too cold and unfeeling, only acknowledges the role the mother played in the birth, when there's much more to it emotionally and post-birth
- "first" mother/father: this qualifier can be silencing for the adoptive mother, as "first" can mean not just order but "top"..."she comes in first, you're second"
- "adoptive" mother: again, a qualifier that by its very essence seems to undercut how this person is simply a mother
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
November is national adoption month. If you've ever considered adopting or fostering a child, think about doing it now. If you know an adopted person or there is an adopted person in your family, celebrate! Talk to friends about your experiences. Find community. Read up on current adoption issues and legislation.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The frame of the movie is the Bonner Bros. hair show in Atlanta, at which hundreds of hair product manufacturers and vendors set up sprawling display tables in the giant auditorium, beauticians and hair enthusiasts from around the world flock to the site, and several extra-talented stylists compete in stage shows involving dancing, scantily-clad women, gymnastics, and a bit of haircutting. At the show Rock interviews vendors and highlights the issue of how Asian Americans currently own most of the hair supply retail stores in the U.S. He discovers weaves, and is amazed to find out how much money women spend to weave foreign hair into their own, to get that "long, flowing look." He travels to India to follow the supply chain, finding that the hair is taken from temples where people sacrifice their hair to God, then it is cleaned, sewn, and shipped to the U.S.
The irony he highlights is that African Americans are giving money to Asians to get Indian hair in order to put it on their heads to achieve a certain look (a "white look," many would say, though he didn't really go there).
Mostly he interviews his Hollywood friends Eve, Raven Symone, Nia Long, and Tracie Thoms. These are women who admit to spending thousands of dollars on weaves.
Not a realistic depiction.
He interviews AA men about the subject, how these men know they are in a serious relationship when they start financing a woman's hair (this notion was mildly offensive, in my opinion), how they know not to run their fingers through a woman's hair if she has a weave. How they have to accept the presence of hair in their relationship, and even sex has to be modified to allow room for it. I found these opinions on the matter shallow and rude.
Critics are saying they're surprised by Rock's solid reportage. I would agree that he did a full-on immersion, traveling to India to find out where all the weave hair comes from, chronicling the hair show, etc. But there were big issues he only barely touched upon. He failed to mention how many other women (white included) wear weaves and are also obsessed with their hair. Why do women feel the need to look a certain way? Could men themselves be perpetuating this? And what about the growing natural hair movement? By not mentioning that, I felt in some ways he was taking a step back while so many of us are trying to move forward.
Perhaps part of this is because his angle was humorous, and I suspect he also didn't want to offend anyone. You can only go so deep while keeping a laugh track, which is actually something I've found myself when writing about my experiences with this subject. The obsession with hair is so extreme that the ridiculousness is just plain funny (think: tumbleweaves), but there can be very painful things at the root of that obsession that aren't so funny.
Rocks ends the documentary with the necessary conclusion of all these circular hair discussions: ALL hair is good hair. Let us do away with the parsing of positive and negative terms.
Black hair (and why black women spend ten times as much on their hair as white women) is an important conversation. It's not a new one for black folks. For whites, I suspect, it might be, and in that sense perhaps this documentary's mainstream presence will indeed do a service to the community. Though, because the movie shies away from many of the deeper issues, I worry that people who are new to this subject will leave the theater shaking their heads and thinking that black women are just simply crazy about hair. They might just chuckle and forget to ask what's under the weave. They might not be spurred to recognize the media's preference for a certain look, or question dominant standards of beauty.
But maybe, hopefully, not.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
- Encourage your members to participate
- Distribute flyers at your events
- Include an article in your newsletter or e-news
- Post a link on your web site
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Mattel has introduced a new line of African American Barbie dolls, created by a Black designer. The collection is called So In Style (S.I.S.), and the dolls come in pairs--there are 3 young women paired as "mentors" to 3 girls. Michelle Bryer wrote an interesting article a few months ago about them here. I think the concept of selling the dolls in pairs is neat, and I appreciate Mattel's efforts for more multiculturalism.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
This weekend we attempted to put blue streaks in my roommate Adri's black hair.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
A few weeks ago I watched the movie Gigantic starring Paul Dano as Brian, a single 28-year-old mattress salesman who has always dreamed of adopting a baby from China. He’s going through the process of getting approved, and at one point reveals to his maybe-girlfriend Harriet (Zooey Deschanel from Elf and the music group She & Him) that it’s difficult for him because he’s not an ideal candidate.
“I’m 28 and single, not married in my thirties.”
This is fairly true to life. Though it’s easier for single people to adopt these days, it’s still not an ideal placement for obvious reasons. I’ve also considered of adopting after I turn 30 regardless of whether I’m married. Then I thought about all that would entail and changed my mind. Hopefully family and adoption will come my way differently.
When I read the description of the movie before watching, I was under the impression that Brian stopped his adoption quest when he started to fall in love with Harriet, and I was all ready to get riled up about this on behalf of the orphan. But it didn’t exactly happen that way. He does indeed fall, clumsily, in love with Harriet, though I’m not sure why—she’s a total train wreck/ditz and constantly wears a deer-in-headlights look on her face. Perhaps he wants to save her? Then, does he want to adopt the girl from China because he wants to save her too? Viewers never really know.
A good bit into the film we learn from Brian’s father that Brian decided he wanted to adopt from China at age 8. My question is, why? What made that so attractive, especially to a young kid? I wish this would have been explored a bit more, because this crucial detail would really flesh out Brian’s character, as he is a fairly reserved person in general. If he saw some advertisement or heard a story of the sad state of Chinese orphanages in the 1990s and made a commitment to do his part, then that says a lot about who he is. If he just thought that was how babies came about, that makes sense too. Or maybe he decided that he’d been single for so long and getting so close to 30 that there was no point in waiting any longer (that’s my suspicion).
As with many indy films, the overall character development is pretty good otherwise. The characters are quirky but real, hopelessly human enough to fall totally in love with in less than 2 hours.SPOILER! At the end Brian does bring home an infant. In a powerful scene he comes around the corner from his kitchen leading a tiny dark-haired girl as she tentatively steps in front. You get the impression she has just learned to walk. I found it significant that he allows her to walk instead of carrying her. This makes me think he did not adopt her in order to have a token Asian child, and that perhaps he’ll be a good dad.