Attempting optimistic misanthropy

Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Interracial Adoption: When Adults Go Bad

Posted by Hussyville on November 4, 2010

Most of the interracial adoption news and stories I come across tend to be very US-centric, and I know the adoption system over there is very different to that of the UK, so I was interested when the Guardian did a series of comment pieces on the topic this week, after a politician said there should be of more of them, as social workers are apparently trying too hard to get children a “perfect match” when making recommendations. OK, so he didn’t actually provide any evidence, but hey! He’s a government minister! The children’s minister, even! I’m sure he knows exactly what he’s talking about.

What’s most depressing is that the main issue, what is best for the child, seems to be lost on the majority of people commenting underneath the articles. Now, naturally, it is obviously better for a child to find a loving home than to grow up in the care of the state. And nobody is saying that a white couple are incapable of successfully parenting a child of another race. But in the quickness to dismiss concerns about “cultural heritage” as irrelevant, the naysayers could be doing adoptees a disservice. All children are interested in learning who they are and where they come from; why should adoptees be any different?

What’s interesting in reading the articles and the comments on interracial adoption is the contrast with how the debate is framed when compared to the US-centric debates I’ve read. There is a backlash amongst certain parts of UK society against multiculturalism which tinges some of the comments and almost drifts into the realms of denying the legitimacy of other cultural heritages other than the white-majority Anglo-Saxon model. “They’re over here, so they should act like us!” Now, there’s a separate debate to be had over the integration of ethnic minorities in British society, but I don’t think that debate is appropriate when you are dealing with the business of individual lives, emotions and experiences. Neither, on the other hand, do I think that railing against interracial adoption is helpful to anyone. What works for one family could be a disaster for another. Sadly, that point seems to have been lost in the sound and fury of people desperate to justify themselves.

The articles dealing with interracial adoption can be found here, here and here. There’s also a collection of readers’ experiences here. You may need a stiff drink before venturing into the comments for any of them. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

[Image via Flickr]


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Good Things This Weekend [Updated]

Posted by Hussyville on May 29, 2010

Toby FloodUnnecessary man-candy. This is Toby. Toby will be playing rugby this afternoon as the glorious Leicester Tigers look to cement their supremacy of the Guiness Premiership by steamrollering the <spit!> Saracens. This will take place at that cathedral of dreams, our Lady of Twickers. Some men will be bruised, some may be bloodied. Some will look compelling in that state.
Update: Whose fabulous boys pulled off a 33-27 victory? I’m not saying anything but RAWR!

Bad sex. Not my own, rather other people’s. Reading through Jezebel’s 10 worst sex stories makes me feel infinitely better about my awkward amorous moment. At least I’ve never been caught with a champagne bottle up my rectum.

Bad body art. I have been thinking about getting some more ink done, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to have a unicorn done. I mean, I can be as immature and whimsical as the next person, but really? A unicorn? Surely your flesh deserves better.  If you must have a unicorn tattoo, try not to follow the example of this collection from Damn Cool Pics.

Kermode in full flight. I beg you, if you are in the UK, listen to Mark Kermode give his review of Sex and the City 2: What Fucking Recession? It is truly a thing of beauty, and if it wasn’t against the law, I would be encouraging everyone I know to rip and download a copy for their private enjoyment. It is not just a rant, it is a wholesale dissection of the philosophy behind the movie and the doublethink required to enjoy it. Please go listen to it now, before iPlayer consigns it to oblivion. Fun begins 1hour 38 minutes in.
Update: I have managed to find two videos of Kermode’s rant on YouTube, thanks to user ‘badhead’. It is in two parts, here and here. Hopefully people from outside the UK can now enjoy the schadenfreude.

Coruscating Critique. If you are unfortunate enough not to be able to enjoy the delights of Kermode, you can still enjoy Lindy West’s review of Sex and the City 2: We Don’t Know Any Poor People, which Kermode mentioned and is almost as good. There are mentions of one dried-up vagina, a family of field mice and a cross-dressing Ralph Nader [Who he? ed.], all in the first three paragraphs. Go on, give her the pageviews. She deserves it. Definitely a writer I’ll be looking out for from now on.

Eurovision Song Contest Finals. Yes, I know that some countries have pulled out because they can’t afford it. Yes, I know that most countries don’t want to win because that would mean hosting the whole shebang next year. Yes, I know most of the songs don’t even qualify as being bad enough to be enjoyed “ironically.” And that I will most likely never hear again from any of the acts performing after tonight. But the festival that gave us the delightfully bonkers Ruslana and the epic Lordi always brings the fun. And this year, I’ll be liveblogging it. Join me either here, or on Twitter or on Google Wave (seriously!) from 8pm UK time. I may also pop my head into the Guardian thread. I have enough booze and snacks to see this one to the bitter end.

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Good Reads: Interracial Relationships

Posted by Hussyville on March 29, 2010

Jill Scott has penned an article for Essence where she describes her “wince” at seeing black men coupled with women of another race. There was a long (seriously, unplug the phone and get a bottle of wine) discussion about the piece and interracial relationships in general on Jezebel, with brief diversions into privilege and the beauty standard, which led to a link being provided to Alienation’s essay, What If Black Women Were White Women?

Now, I have chosen my past mates based on who is available and compatible when I’m horny. I don’t relate to Jill Scott’s uneasiness with interracial relationships at all, but then I’m not
African-American and therefore have neither the historical baggage nor the same cultural references. Still, it does seem that Essence have decided that interracial relationships are the go-to issue when they want to stir up their readers. A couple of months ago, it was the controversy over having Reggie Bush on the cover of the “Love” issue when he was going out with Kim Kardashian. The next issue had a mea culpa-ish Letter from the Editor. Now, it’s Jill Scott saying “Ewww! Miscegenation!” Cue another avalance of reader comments. It’s almost as though Loving vs. Virginia never happened.

I get where Jill Scott is coming from, after a fashion. Successful African-American men have shown a marked willingness to marry women from another race, black women less so. Among East Asian Americans, women are more likely to “marry out” than men. Generalisations and stereotypes abound, offering all sorts of explanations and theories as to why this happens, running the gamut from thoughtful to batshit insane. But when it comes down to an individual level, I don’t believe that anyone is “owned” by their ethnic community, and has no obligation to carry on the greater family line. No matter how distressing she or anyone else may find it, Jill Scott has no right be be telling people that they are betraying their race by being in a relationship that isn’t monoracial.

Then again, in terms of desirability as mates, African-American women are seen as being at the bottom of the totem pole, at least if OKCupid is to be believed. This is where gender and race intersect, which made reading Alienation’s essay so interesting. Imagine that the positions were reversed, and it were not white female features that were held up as the beauty standard, but those of black women instead? Would white women chafe as strongly as Jill Scott when a black women “stole” one of “their” men? Would white men think that they had “arrived” if they had a black trophy wife? And how would the media portray white feminity?

I can’t possibly begin to try explaining what goes on in other women’s heads, especially when I myself don’t have a problem with interracial relationships. And the discomfort described by Jill Scott (and the readers comments below her article) may be particular to African-American culture or American society in general. I just don’t know. What is apparent to me is that there are an awful lot of people who thinks that the colour of your skin means they are entitled to an opinion on your personal life, whether they know you or not.

Sidenote: Ms Scott allegedly has a bit of a bee in her bonnet about interracial relationships, to the point where she’ll lecture her audience about it at gigs. This, for me, moves her comments from thoughtful worrying to outright bigotry.

[Image via Flickr]

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