Adoption Stories from Adopted the Movie - A Feature Film by Barb Lee

December 17, 2006

Adopted Children and Racism

Filed under: Chinese Adoption,Film Clips,For Parents,Race and Identity,Videos — Catherine @ 1:35 pm

Dr. Joseph Crumbley, a therapist specializing in adoptive families, discusses racism in adopted children from China.

I was invited by an organization titled "Families with Children from China." They asked me to meet with their children and to see if they were dealing with issues of race. And I met with the children, and I guess they were maybe five or six years old up to ten or eleven. And there may have been about ten children in the group. And I asked them if they knew what prejudice was, and they said "no." I asked them if they knew what racism was and they said "no," so I defined it for them. I defined prejudice as someone having attitudes and ideas about you because of what they heard, not because of them knowing you. And they said, "O.K., all right, we understand that." I asked them if they knew what racism was, and they said "no," and I defined racism to them as meaning when someone feels as though they’re better than you and mistreats you simply because you look different from them. So they got the definition. And then I asked them how many of you have experienced prejudice or discrimination or racism. All the hands went up. So I then went around the group and I asked them what kind of experiences did you have? And they said:

"Well, somebdoy called me a pan face. Somebody called me a round face. Somebody called me a chink. Somebody asked me if I had yellow fever. Somebody asked me where my glasses were, because they figured because of my eyes I couldn’t be able to see. Somebody even said to me that I couldn’t play basketball because the only thing I’m good at is being smart."

So the children were going around with all their different experiences and what people were saying to them. And one of the children in the group was about five years old, and I didn’t really think she could share anything. I asked her, "what was your experience? Did somebody mistreat you because of your race?"No." Well, I asked if somebody said something bad about you because of your race. "No." Well, what did they do and this is what she did, <makes motion.> And the other kids in the group started laughing and saying, "ohh, slanty eyes!" So they kind of knew what was going on, and she said, "but I’ve got an answer for that." And I said, "What are you going to do?"I’m going to have an operation." I said, "What kind of operation?" "Well, I’m going to have my eyelids cut back so that they’ll be round."

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