1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Interracial Adoption

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Link the Writer, Mar 24, 2015.

    *Warning: ignorant, yet curious and hopefully-not-offensive post ahoy, true question is in bold.*

    Hey, I hope I don't sound like an insensitive jerk when I make this topic. It was inspired by a dream I had where a black family adopted a white kid and I thought, 'I just found some brand new characters!'

    Then it got me thinking. What is it like for children of interracial adoption? I'm not just talking about white-black, but basically a family of one race/ethnicity adopting a child of another race/ethnicity. Depending on the area, does the child have to face some sort of discrimination/prejudice because he/she is of a different ethnicity? Does it have any impact on the child's psychology? I'm aware that it's like any other adoption, I'm just curious if a child of an interracial adoption might have to put up with pre-conceived bigotry toward his/her own ethnicity, or perhaps the bigotry toward his/her parents' ethnicity.

    I'm sure I should've worded it better, and sorry if I sounded like an insensitive jerk. I'm just curious and if it helps, I am wholly ignorant on the adoption thing period. Again, sorry if I sounded like a prick.
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The answer is: of course they would have to face bigotry concerning their own, and their parents' ethnicity. Racism doesn't discriminate against whether you're adopted or living with your biological family. There will also be people who may ask, "But why would you adopt someone black?" (or any other race that's not your own)

    In my experience, mixed-race children or children with at least a grandparent from a nation other than the one the child grew up and assimilated are more internationally/culturally aware and more open-minded, too.

    In the Czech Republic, they think gypsies are born to be criminals - a good number of otherwise non-racist, educated people genuinely believe there's no changing them and it wouldn't matter if a gypsy child was raised in a white, Czech family. They'd still be trouble makers and probably still turn into criminals. Some say it's in their genes. I can only imagine the fit my Czech in-laws would have if my husband and I ever adopted a gypsy child or a Russian child (they're as bad as each other, btw, of course)

    Even my dad who is otherwise very open-minded seem to think these things are in the genes. The way he put it was using fish as analogy - you have all kinds of fish, but the behaviour of different breeds of fish is different, and is in-born and cannot be changed.
     
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Australians tend to be rather racist towards people from Asia.

    A friend of my daughter, from Asia, living in Australia, had picked up the local prejudice...

    It's quite conceivable to have a black person who has learned prejudice against blacks from his white adoptive parents and to be unaware of the irony.
     
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  4. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    Hi Link, I don't think you're being a jerk - it's a totally reasonable question that you're asking to gain insight into a situation you don't understand...that's awesome, not prick-ish.

    So, in short: yes.
    Although there have been great strides in reducing racism, it's still here. Obviously the extent of it depends where you are (in the case of the UK, the experience of prejudice/racism/bigotry is going to be different in a diverse city like Manchester, than in back-of-nowhere rural villages in Wales...) Where I live, there isn't much racial diversity and having taught in various classrooms I can assure you prejudice and misconceptions abound about other cultures and are present even among very young children! (Obviously, filtering down from their parents' views).

    I plan to adopt when my biological clock goes off and thus have been doing my research - and our local councils don't encourage interracial adoption. They make a point of saying children are placed (wherever possible) within same or similar ethnicities/cultures and that suggests, to me, that it's still perceived as somewhat 'taboo'.
    That's not because interracial adoption doesn't work and can't work (obviously what counts is loving, committed parents) but I think I'd be hard pressed to be matched with a child outside my ethnic background which is highly irritating - you'd think any loving parents would be better than the care system, but it seems it isn't so!

    Then, there's the wider issue of adoption itself: a lot of children (and, to be honest, adults) struggle with the concept and there's lots of misconceptions and prejudices/problems surrounding that, too. For example: constant questions about your adopted child's 'real' parents, or comparing 'real' (biological) children to their adopted siblings and asking if they feel like they belong etc. Horrid, ridiculous, but still prevalent in our society!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
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  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I see, I hadn't thought of the whole 'its in the genes' thing. So what you're saying is that to those people, it doesn't matter who that person is, the fact that he/she is of a different ethnicity/skin color, then it's 'in their nature' to be whatever stereotype the prejudice person places them in?

    I think that for a parent of an adopted child of another ethnicity, it's good to be culturally aware of that ethnic group's customs so as to not be surprised when it turns out they do things differently than the parents' ethnic background. Take divorce and the location of children. In the white community, the kids live with either the mom or the dad. In the black community, the kids live with the grandparents if I'm not mistaken.

    That is ironic, though not surprising. A child learns from the parents. It's possible for a child of a different group to hate his/her own group thanks to his/her parents. As to why the parents don't treat them like crap? The old phrase, "...an exception to the rule" can be applied here.

    Thanks, I just wanted to make sure I didn't offend anyone.

    And yeesh, some of those people are so backwards. There is nothing wrong with adopting children of a different ethnic background.

    I'm not sure how interracial marriage and adoption is seen here in the Deep South (I'm...ignorant on a lot of things, apparently), but I've seen at least two interracial couples and one family with a child of another ethnicity. No doubt they get crap thrown at them by bigoted friends/family members regarding why they married/adopted a black/white person.
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't have any exact experience with this... But look up the Cheerios commercial.

    A mixed race family, white mom, black dad, were feeding their mixed daughter Cheerios for breakfast. The company and the commercial got so much backlash, it's ridiculous.

    Obviously, this is a biological child situation. But it definitely happens, whether they are adopted or biological. My own cousin has a mixed race son, and she gets hell all the time. It's really quite terrible.
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oh my word, seriously!? And there I thought the UK was too PC to ever make something like this that obvious... *sigh* I can totally believe you though, unfortunately.

    @Link the Writer -
    In the case of adopting a baby, I don't quite see how being aware of the culture the child comes from would make a difference? It might make a difference in terms of going through the adoption system and dealing with the staff involved - but how would it affect the child? Unless you're also coming from the POV of "It's in their genes"?

    Interracial marriages - certainly you can get crap thrown at you. My friend who is half-Ethiopian and half-Czech, but looks by and large like a very pale black woman, was disliked by her Czech in-laws for being black. My own Czech in-laws - the mother in particular - hated me at least partly because I'm Chinese and we all know Chinese people are very dirty, right? Father-in-law harboured fewer prejudices, but simply thought I was rather unattractive. Another friend of mine, a half-American/Czech but basically American, is currently courting an Indian girl. He told me when he first showed his friends the photo of the girl he's interested in, many of them said, "You can do better than that!" (the girl is of average looks and on the chubbier side by western standards - so it's hard to say whether it's only because she didn't fit in with the media's stereotype of "beauty" or if it's because she's dark - and it's true she's pretty dark-skinned)

    In our church, though, because it's an international church, there are often many interracial couples. All the friends I've already mentioned, myself, and there're 2 more couples amongst our church friends - one couple consists of a Paraguayan woman and a Ghanian man, and the other of a Chinese Malaysian girl and an Englishman. Previously there was another couple, one German and the other American. But our church environment is relatively unique in how genuinely mixed up it is culturally. I've been to other "international" churches where it was still predominantly white and the services conducted in a predominantly British or American style.

    Then my sister, of course, is British Chinese and married to a man who's half-white-Zimbabwian/English and grew up in France. They're raising their children in England, so I imagine the children will eventually identify as English.

    The concept of being dual-cultured or bicultural is pretty foreign to most people. When people ask me where I'm from, and I say "England", they all look at me quizzically, and then if I add, "Or Hong Kong", they would all go "Oooooh I see!!!!" (you know, it finally makes sense now!) It would be as if I'd never ever said "England" at all and they would from then on treat me as if I were really from HK and hadn't lived all my life in the UK. I had one Taiwanese guy, after such a conversation, say, "Wow your English is really good!"

    eeeehhh... :rolleyes:

    Just imagine someone going: "Wow, your [insert mother tongue] is really good!" It's kinda like, "Erm... yeah. Thanks." Like I said, it's like I never mentioned "England" at all as my place of origin.

    There are also people who insist that either me or my sister speak with a "foreign accent" even though they wouldn't be able to tell the difference on the phone. Basically, you look foreign, so you must be foreign and cannot possibly speak native English! I've had that happen to me, and my sister's husband told me it's happened to my sister too.

    Most recently, my nephew was playing with an English boy in the play area of a family pub we were at. The English boy was 6 and my nephew about to turn 3 at the time. The boy asked if my sister was my nephew's mother, and my nephew said yes. And the boy asked, "Does she speak English?" (on a lighter note, the boy also asked, "Where does your mum live?" And my nephew said, "In church!" :D )

    None of these conversations were hostile - but it does show you the cultural ignorance some people have. In the case of the little boy, the cultural ignorance of his parents and their complete lack of exposure to people of other ethnic origins.

    Anyway, being Chinese I have it pretty well. Even in the Czech Republic, I'm seeing more and more Czech-Vietnamese couples (usually 2nd generation). Like the Chinese in the UK, the Vietnamese in the Czech Republic gets by all right. In the UK the Chinese tend to own restaurants and takeaways, in Prague the Vietnamese own corner shops. Both the Chinese and Vietnamese send their children to local schools, meaning the children are usually fluent in the national language on top of their own. In other words, in general people see us as harmless folk.

    My Nigerian friend, however, still hear Czechs say, before she's even gone past, "Look, there's a black person!" :rolleyes: She stands right out because she's black. My aforementioned Indian friend looks gypsy in the eyes of the Czechs and she tells me she's been stopped by public transportation inspectors to check her ticket multiple times - on occasions when there was a stream of Czechs and they didn't stop a single one. They only stopped her. Cus... gypsies... y'know.
     
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  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Your cousin gets hell, or her son gets hell? Do you have any examples of what you mean by "hell"?

    And why was there backlash over the mixed race family?! Again I believe you, but what were people complaining about?
     
  9. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    My cousin gets hell. She says people on the street give her dirty looks, make rude comments about her son, call her a [racial slur] lover. Her son is still too young to experience much. He's not in school yet, but I doubt he'll get much trouble. I think children born in this era are much more tolerant than adults.

    An article about the commercial can be found here. There were a lot of racial slurs, people said it was disgusting and made them want to vomit. They had to close the comments section on YouTube because people were being so awful.
     
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  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm now curious - I've seen your photo where you posted your "Just Married" pic so I know you're white, so I'm assuming your cousin's also white. What's her husband's ethnic origin and is it the same as his cultural identity?

    And where on earth does she live that she gets these dirty looks?!

    Can't say I've been given dirty looks, nor have I noticed my sister being given dirty looks. (while I live in Prague, so it's pretty international, my sister lives in a predominantly lower class, white area - her husband tells me she's received racial slurs before, but not in connection with her being married to a white man. I've also received racial slurs in Prague before, but again not in relation with my being married to a white man) But then again, as I said, Chinese looks are a lot more acceptable in both the UK and the Czech Republic than black skin. (also why I'm now curious about your cousin's husband's ethnicity) If I were your cousin, I'd move somewhere a bit more open-minded - it doesn't sound like the sort of environment to raise a child!

    I think it's awesome that Cheerios made that advert and good on them for not being fazed!
     
  11. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    @Mckk yep! Not kidding! I know, it's bizarre isn't it?
    I think some councils are more liberal than others and it's not illegal or anything, but that's still how things "are done" in the system (so I've found thus far, any way. When I go through it, things might be a little different than the paperwork suggests).
     
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  12. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    My cousin is white, her son's father is black. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

    From what I can tell, the population in Chicago is 31.7% non-hispanic whites and 32.9% black. So they have a pretty even balance there. Most of her friends are black, most of her boyfriends are black. To me and my family and her parents, it's not a problem. Race isn't a factor with us. But for some, it's a huge issue. She used to post regularly on Facebook about how people judge her all the time. She really doesn't like being there, but if she already lives in a city where there are more black people than non-hispanic white people, where else could she really go without getting judged?

    The sad thing is, her son looks so much like her, you'd hardly guess he's mixed. She already has naturally tan skin (I don't know how -- her parents are pale as ghosts!) and her son's skin is just a shade darker. I guess it's the hair. He has that super curly dark hair that I suppose people immediately associate with black people. She's a very strong woman though, so she doesn't let it bother her too much. And I know she'll raise her son to be just like her.

    I couldn't believe the uproar over the Cheerios commercial. You don't realize how judgmental a culture is until something like that happens. At the time it came out (June 2013), I thought maybe America was finally getting passed that. But I guess not. lol Prejudice is alive and well.
     
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  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When did America legalise interracial marriage? I don't think it's been that long.

    As for where she could go without getting judged - it would seem plenty of places that's not America... lol. Sometimes it's not about how much of the population is a certain colour - it's rather about local mindset/opinion and what people are raised to accept. It's more about how culturally aware people are in the area and how well-travelled they are, too. And then the age from which they were exposed to a more diverse community and whether that experience was positive or negative would also affect things. For example, my husband still has reservations about English people because his first experience in England when he was 17/18 was extremely negative - people mocking him for his then-poor English and generally just being assholes because he's Czech. He didn't manage to make many friends and the only one that stuck around wasn't even white. I, on the other hand, had no such negative experience when I first moved to the UK as a child and was shocked to crying in my room the first time I experienced systematic racism when I was around 21 in what I considered to be "my own" country.

    I sometimes wonder if maybe by virtue of not being white, I've escaped a lot of racist people - cus anyone who'd be friends with me are probably at least not knowingly racist. In a way it's almost easier when you look different - so people don't expect you to be the same as a certain group when you're not. A lot of Hong Kongers, for example, think of Hong Kongers like me as "traitors" for having moved out of HK and would get extremely hostile and mock me for not speaking perfect Cantonese anymore (I'm still pretty darn good and without an accent, but just lacking in vocab and sometimes get my sentence structure mixed up when the topics get complex). Somehow when you look like them, they expect you to be like them, and when they find you're not, they get aggressive, like you betrayed them. They're like, "Oh so you can speak English. Big deal. You think you're better than us now?"
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Iris, like gay marriage, interracial marriages were not legalized in one step. It went state by state. Some states never had laws against interracial marriages on the books, but as recently as the 1960s, when the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional, some states still did so.
     
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  15. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Hey, sorry for the quick reply, at work now. I thoroughly enjoy reading the responses here and look forward to answering in detail when I get home. Just wanted to let you all know that.
     
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  16. domenic.p
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    The issue of race is not so much about color…it is an issue of culture. The saying; “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” has a true meaning. It matters not the country a person of a different culture resides, it is how they clash with the culture of their adopted country.

    When people from the Middle East move to a western country, the older ones more times than not retain their native dress…this makes them stand out as different. Their children want to look like the kids they go to school with, and have an easier time mixing in. Because some Middle East people have become terrorist (western term). Those who retain the look in dress of the Middle East are viewed as potential terrorist. Today we have termed this, “Racial profiling.”

    To high light an example: When the Native Americans lost their country to Europeans, they were forced to live on reservations. Their children were made to dress as the European Americans, and forced to set their culture aside, and become like the European Americans. Since most refused to put their culture aside, they were treated as savages. Many were exterminated…murdered.

    Black Americans were not always Americans. For several hundred years they were just treated as slaves. This was not a decision based on color, or culture, but on religion.

    The United States of American considered itself a religious nation. There are those, past, and present who have used religion to make gain both in power, and money. The religious leades used to teach, based on scripture, a distorted reason people could own black slaves.

    The Noah of the Bible flood: After the flood Noah grew grapes, made wine, and got drunk. One of Noah’s three sons, Ham, who was of the dark skin, had sex with his mother. (Noah’s wife.)

    Noah’s wife had a child of dark skin…the son of Ham, who was named, Ca’naan. Noah put a curse on Ca’naan, and all his seed. This teaching from the Bible by religious leaders was distorted to set aside the conscious of slave owners…they could say, “I am only doing Gods will.”

    These black African slave, did as the Native Americans…they retained parts of their culture. It has always been the nature of African people to be a physical people. Many times they will use a physical solution to solve problems. This is not to say the manner in which they solve problems is good, or bad…it goes against the culture of the country they reside in, the USA. Because of this difference in culture, they are profiled by skin color.

    Rather than breed different colored people, it might be better to breed cultures together…after all, there are many good parts to all cultures.
     
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  17. EdFromNY
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    If this were true, then new immigrants seeking to assimilate would be welcomed with open arms. But they are not - not in the US, not in Europe. For a dramatic depiction of the personal effects of this, I would suggest Celeste Ng's novel, Everything I Never Told You.

    As an aside, in the Caribbean colonies, the Spanish tried initially to enslave the native tribes there, but resistance was extremely high - some rebelled, some ran away and some killed themselves on the land. Importing African slaves was seen as an improvement because Africans would never have reason to believe that they had any rights to the land, and they would be easy to spot if they escaped because their skin color. In later centuries, black slaves were able to purchase their freedom (e.g. in Cuba) and societies (called cabildos) that celebrated their African ancestries were encouraged by Spanish authorities. But this changed when slavery rapidly expanded in the early 1800s, and the distinctions between free blacks and slaves were lost and the cabildos were seen as responsible for organizing the Aponte Rebellion (1812).
     
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  18. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Reading this thread, I wonder if I'm weird and out of touch. Or my friends and family are, too.

    Good friends of mine here in SW Pennsylvania couldn't have kids, so they adopted a baby boy from Russia, and later a baby girl from China. I socialize regularly with this family, I sub in the kids' school, I'm on Instagram with them and their school-aged friends. I've never once heard anyone say anything rude or racist to the girl because of her Chinese heritage.

    My (white) older sister was good at attracting husbands but not keeping them. Two of her husbands were black, and one of these marriages produced a girl. Even after the divorce my mom has always gotten on fine with her ex-son-in-law's parents. As for my niece, she's just my niece. And my mom's granddaughter. No issues about race. (Well, no, there is one thing: It makes me wince when on Facebook she refers to her black male friends as "nigga." But unless she asks my opinion on it, I'm not getting into her business.)

    And then I work at the Big Blue Box Store. We have many, many interracial couples come in. Cute kids. Cute babies. Yes, we sales associates gripe about customers from time to time. But I've never heard anyone use a racial slur or epithet to do it, regardless of the ethnicity of the customer. Or maybe nobody will do it around me?

    On the other hand . . . I have heard racist cracks out of people in other contexts, but never about biracial kids or kids adopted by folks out of their pigmentation zone.

    As for @Link the Writer 's initial question, you'd have to set up how the white child ended up with the black couple. There is such a demand from white couples that the number of white babies available is relatively low. Was the mother a friend of theirs and said that's where she wanted the child placed? It could happen.
     
  19. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    The advert made me LOL. Cute. But you're right, we still have a long way to go if so many people will make wicked, benighted comments about something so innocent as this. Whenever I'm tempted to disbelieve in the doctrine of the total depravity of humanity, YouTube sets me straight. Blech. :blech:
     
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  20. Mckk
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    That would be a good idea. However, most of us are far too proud to do that. In my experience, my English friends are not interested in my Czech life, or how the Czechs think and operate, nor are my English friends interested in my past Chinese heritage.

    Likewise, my Czech friends are interested in neither my Chinese nor English heritage.

    I don't actually have enough Chinese friends to comment on whether they'd be interested, but my guess is they won't. Discrimination is a human problem, after all.

    The fact that so many "international" churches are run in a distinctly English or American way tells you having a genuinely mixed group, where multiple cultures are celebrated, is extremely difficult as well as rare. The fact that there's the saying "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" tells you that diversity in culture is not celebrated - not even in the slightest. Why would you ask someone else to do as you do if you celebrated, appreciated, and enjoyed their culture as well as your own? There's a sense of entitlement and superiority there - this is Rome and I am Roman, so I'm right and you are wrong, and you must do things my way or you should GTFO. That's essentially what it boils down to.

    But this sense of entitlement and superiority is pretty nonsensical if you think about the migration of peoples and the changes of national borders, to be honest. How far back do you have to go to say you're "from" a certain place? That you have a "right" to be there and therefore a "right" to set the rules?

    Also, while it's true that if you dressed and behaved like the people of the adopted country, you're accepted more readily, it's by no means always true.
     
  21. Lea`Brooks
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    I for one love people's cultural backgrounds. :love: Sometimes I get very envious of those born with rich heritage and stories and traditions. My main reason for travel is to learn different cultures.

    I think what our current world mainly lacks is respect for their fellow man. If everyone could just respect each other, I don't think there would be a problem with discrimination.
     
  22. Link the Writer
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    All these posts are overwhelmingly useful and a pleasure to read. I'm not sure if I can really do it justice, but I liked reading them all.

    As for that commercial, it's pretty dreadful the reactions. I mean, wow, how dare people marry each other regardless of skin color and raise a child like the loving, kind parents they are. HELP! HO! POLICE! THERE'S A NICE FAMILY FEEDING THEIR KID CEREAL! When I first read that, I felt my faith in humanity dropping a few notches. Just when you think we finally got it figured out, there are dumbasses who remind you that no, no we've got a long way to go.

    Personally, I like people based on their personality, not their skin color or ethnicity, and I'm sorry if I sounded like I was tooting the 'stereotype horn' @Mckk . It was what I had heard. Guess this will teach me to not take everything I hear at face value. :D To be honest, this is a very delicate subject for me as growing up in the Deep South, I was made very aware of all the horrible shit that had happened down here with regards to race (ie, Jim Crow, slavery, etc), so any subject about that leaves me to tip-toeing around it. I'm with @Lea`Brooks on this one. If we just respect each other regardless of cultural differences, learn from each other, then I think we'll be all right.

    @Catrin Lewis - I imagine something like that. The mother's a teacher and the kid was her former student. She had become close friends with the kid's mom so when she and her husband died, the mother simply took him in.
     
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  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe that this is not a safe generalization to make.
     
  24. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yeah, when I thought about what I posted I regretted making it. Sorry about that. :[

    And I most likely either showed my ignorance/bigotry to everyone and if I did, I apologize. I am trying to learn and be less ignorant, though. :D But I do want to say that I enjoyed reading your posts and appreciate the effort you all took to writing them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
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  25. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think we should all pat ourselves on the back for being so open minded / accepting.
     
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