Monday, April 28, 2008

Post #200: Transracial Adoption

There are two main schools of thought on the idea of transracial adoption, one reliving that it is good and the other believing that it is bad. Some believe that adoption is adoption and that any steady and good home is profitable for the child over no home at all. These people, like Elizabeth Bartholet, believe that the well being of children is more important than outside factors like their culture or heritage, that life is more important if healthy and well than the specifics of what it means to be “well”.

Others, like Dorothy Roberts, believe that transracial adoption can be a “tool of oppression” for racial minorities by which the child is stripped of their natural heritage and supplemented with that heritage of the, likely, majority, thus assimilating the minority further into the majority identity. She believes that this forced assimilation robs children of their identity and culture and should be abandoned at all costs. She seems to say that in the grand scheme of things, it is better for society if children grew up in their own culture and not be placed in stable homes rather than risk losing their cultural heritage.

When I look at transracial adoption, I tend to see the trees for the forest and not the forest for the trees. I believe that we should forsake no child of well being or health simply to preserve the idea of culture. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “Nationalism is the idea that one's country is better than all others simply because you were born in it.” In that way, I argue against people like Dorothy Roberts who is simply looking out for her own needs masked as her culture's needs – because in reality the need for culture is personal and not general – and not the needs of others.

What Roberts claims she does so to preserve her own belief that the world is a fair and perfect place. If the world had been ideal, then these children would still have parents. The fact is that they do not. And, that they do need parents. And, that there are plenty of good parents out there. And, that the well being of the child should be paramount. I would rather see one lose heritage, something that is inherited not inherent in exchange for a good education and good health or a family who loves and cares for them. The idea that they can wait around for another parent to show up of their own race is by definition – preferring one race over another – racism.

Whoever Roberts and others claim to be, is beyond me. They are certainly not looking out for the child. If a child is placed in a home where they “lose” their heritage as they see it but gain a loving family that will help them and guide them in life, so be it. The future of the child is more important than the events and histories of the people who came before them. Do not get me wrong, they should learn about where they came from, but their lack of parents is the cruel price paid by them after their birth, unfair as it is but nevertheless true, and the result of that injustice is a loss of where they came from. Likewise, it does not have to be a loss of where they are going. Just because they lost parents does not require them to mortgage their future to follow some idealistic view of what family should be. In this regard, those who argue against transracial adoption are no better than those who argue against same-sex adoption or interracial marriage or same-sex marriage or any other method that creates a so-called “different” family structure than the one the western world seems so bent on keeping intact.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Come my friend,


You'll see,

a greater light,

shining from within,

than the greatest light externally

Monday, April 14, 2008

Proof that Liberalism Wins Out

I got to thinking today, and I now have reason to believe that not only in the end to liberals win out, but that they also acquire a time machine and pass on fun little clues to the rest of us...

What you say? No proof? Judge for yourself...

1. The Republican color is ("commie") red.
2. A Republican was in office at the beginning of Vietnam.
3. Spiro Agnew.
4. Every inteligent person once asked if Reagan had lost his mind during the Iran Contra Scandal. It was later revealed that he actually may have.
5. Strom Thurmond was a Democrat.
6. "I am not gay. I have never been gay..."
7. The Nixon's tapes.
8. "It's 3:00AM..."
9. Joe LIEberman
10. Mark Foley

and so on... and so forth...

Welfare Reform and Pro-Marriage Initiatives

This nation has a problem. Yes, poverty is a problem too, but that is not what I mean. Our problem as a nation is that we continuously treat the symptoms and not the disease. The disease, as it so commonly is, is discrimination. Women are paid less than men on average, even today. Women receive full custody of their children far more often than men do as well as the economic burden that stems forth from having extra mouths to feed and a lower paying job to boot. This is the problem. Welfare reform and pro-marriage initiatives were bastardized solutions set forth not only to try to fix these symptoms, but also to ignore the real problem.

Welfare reform provides sustainability for families for five years and only five years. After that, they are on their own. If we really, as a nation, wanted to reform welfare, it would have been done differently. Instead of focusing on a “pull yourselves up by your bootstraps” Hoovierian method (some good that did with the Depression), we must focus on public assistance. People do not want to be poor. They do not want bad jobs for low pay. They do not want to starve. They do not want to lack health care. They do not want their children to continue on this path indefinitely. They want the opposite. The problem is that they do not know how to do it. Teach them how to do it. Teach them how to get a good job or better pay. Teach them a trade or a skill. Teach them about education options for their children. Teach them about the services, even those already available, that exist to help them under the new system. Give them a hand up not a hand out.

Likewise, pro-marriage initiatives are another basically conservative idea. It is a prop for the conservative family values agenda, which I am more than happy to say is failing miserably. Why is it failing? Because it cannot work. Logically, it should not work. The idea behind the theory is that if you give women (primarily) the economic incentive to get married they will and in this family, they will have two incomes, therefore they will be able to pull themselves out of poverty. This is pure fantasy. There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who are in two parent families who are still below the poverty line. And more so, this does not solve the problem. They still do not have good jobs, still do not have the know-how to get their children out of the cyclical poverty system in this nation, still do not have the ability or the freedom to live the way they want or do what they want with their lives.

In the end, pro-marriage initiatives and welfare reform were victories for the conservative demagogues in this nation. They put up a front making it appear as if they care about families, making it look as if they care about children, making it look as if they give a damn about whether John and Jane Doe are actually out of poverty or still members of a subservient lower class whose labor, up until recently drove this nation's industrial and agrarian economies and still drives this nation's service economy. They did not fix the problem. They fixed the symptoms. If you treat the symptoms of cancer, you are still going to die. It is as simple as that. Conservative politicians made it appear as if they were doing something, when in fact they were simply ensuring that they continued to have a class of cheap labor and a government of non-action and non-assistance just so that they could continue to pad their overly and overtly cushy bottom line. It was not reform it was regression.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Secrets and Rocking the Boat

(The following is serious and personal; just warning you.)

Most people who'd read my stuff here couldn't possibly understand that on the whole I'm not an outspoken person. It's not that I don't express an opinion when I need to, but that I rarely see it necessary to rock the boat. If someone wants to believe something harmless, like the world is flat, then so be it. It's their prerogative. I only expect reciprocity. If I'm an atheist, which I am, I don't want people trying to tell me how I'm wrong anymore than anyone else would like me telling them that they're wrong. There are of course forums, specific places and times, where such debate is invaluable, but the line for the change machine at the Laundromat is probably not it.

I don't like to rock the boat. Unfortunately, sometimes even in my most well intentioned heart of hearts, and yes it is buried deep down there next to the guts and across from the black stuff, I let things go that probably shouldn't be let go. We all do it from time to time. Someone says something, for instance, racially biased and no one calls them on it, because they don't want to rock the boat. Other times, its something personal, like for instance that the person witnessing the racial remark happens to be in part or whole a member of that race or knows someone close who is, and in short should have stood up and called the offender on his or her epithet.

Generally speaking, I don't like to talk about myself much. It's just not my thing. I'm a very introspective person. That's not to say that I'm selfish or self-centered, which I hope that I don't accidentally come across as sometimes. I don't think that I do with regularity at any rate. I just don't talk about myself. There are a variety of reasons I suppose, explained on a case by case basis, for why this is. I'll start with the most recent example I can think of: I had surgery on the Friday before Spring Break. I didn't tell anyone. Well, that's not entirely true; I did post it on Facebook the night before, but that's not really saying much. I didn't really tell anyone. Why?

I had a good long while to think about it during recovery and I've come up with a reason that I think is as close as I can get to accurate. I am a competitive person, with others and with myself. Everything is a competition to me. It drives my life; it makes me try my best -- to be the best. I want to be the best at everything that I do. And, to be honest, I've had some success with that mentality. Hey, I'm here after all. Surgery, or the necessity for it, implies weakness in some foolish corner of my mind. It implies that something can be out of my control. And, I don't like things ever getting out of my control. If things get out of control then I can't stop bad or wrong things from happening. I suppose in my competitive heart of hearts I've gotten used to winning.

Above all, I don't like feeling weak or useless. For as long as I can remember there's always been someone or something that I was responsible for or that depended on me. It irritates me when something like my surgery comes along and rocks the boat. I don't even really know what happened. Not really. The doctors don't even really know. One believed that it occurred at birth, that my large intestine never properly attached in place, but rather free-floated around in my abdomen until in January when it seemingly twisted, causing me pain so violent that honestly for its short sporadic duration I hoped for death. Scary thought. I'm not the type of person that would hope for death. You couldn't believe the pain. It felt like twisting a hot knife in my stomach south. I know pain, but until that night I hadn't really understood it. Anyways, the second opinion was that at some point my large intestine tore away from my abdomen, perhaps as a result of a sharp twist or a coughing or sneezing fit. I seem to believe that it is that more than a birth defect. I really can't prove anything; it's just a feeling.

I feel fine now though; in fact when I woke up from surgery, aside from being slightly stiff and not wanting to pull stitches, I was in great condition. I didn't need pain meds or anything. I eventually took some for a few days after I went home, but more so as a sleep aid than for pain.

I didn't tell anyone because I don't like talking about weakness. I know that it isn't weakness, but somewhere in my head it still doesn't matter. I know that weakness doesn't matter, yet somewhere in my head it matters. It wasn't major surgery. I think that if it were so, I would've had the tact to tell people. I'd like to think so, but I'm rationalizing. Hind sight is 20-20.

I don't like hiding things from friends. Family can be negligible sometimes, especially on a few things, but friends shouldn't be, just by definition of the word. There are other things too, one more of which I will talk about here and now. The rest I'll leave for another time. Hopefully soon. It's time that I stop ignoring things that I either don't like, like surgery, or in this next case, that complicates things. Ignoring problems and issues don't make them go away, and they don't make you happy either.

I am gay.

It's true. And while that's not a problem, it's certainly an issue. Make no mistake and mince no words about it, the issue isn't with me it's with others. I have no problem whatsoever being me. I've been me for as long as I can remember and I will continue to be such for as long as I will remember. I am not in any way embarrassed, angry, fearful, frightened, or any other negative emotion about it. It is what it is and I'm happy that I can understand the difference between my flaws and my sexuality. They are not one and the same. Likewise, I don't care what most other people think either.

Therein lies the issue. Most people. I don't care what most people think. I'm sure that perfect strangers knew that I was gay before friends and certainly before family. As of now, most of the people I call friends know the truth. Those who don't either never Facebook stalk me or are around me with my guard down. It was kind of obvious if you think about it. So long as I've been here I haven't dated or slept around with strange girls. Why would I, honestly. Try dating a cousin or a brother or sister and tell me what it feels like. Or better yet, try dating a member of the same sex. Give it a shot. Then you'll know why I did my best to discourage the female sex.

Family as I said was after friends. And, by and large, that holds true. I know it's screwed up. But, that is a whole other bucket of worms, perhaps for an entirely different time. I haven't told anyone in my family. Why? Not because I'm afraid to or anything. Honestly. But, rather because I don't like to rock the boat. My family life is screwed up enough. When I move out and collect whatever inheritance is due me, then they'll find out. Cold? Probably. But it's also the safest route. My dad wouldn't understand and my mom would have to deal with him. That wouldn't be nice. Regardless, I don't have to prove myself to anyone. Maybe I'm just making excuses, but hell they're working for me right now; everything's under control and that's what counts.

My sexuality isn't an issue for eight months of the year, while I'm here. Besides, the eye candy is pretty sweet too. (What? There I said it.) There's always a risk that just because I'm gay that a friend (obviously a guy) might think that I'm attracted to them. But, let them think that. If they can't handle the fact that I "might be" then they wouldn't be my friends in the first place. Let me give a logical explanation as to while I can appreciate that others may find people I consider friends to be attractive (mostly by the opposite sex I suppose) but that I don't: Can you think of a more irksome and even painful situation to be in than to stare every day at someone you know can never love you back in the same way as you love them? It's just not a factor. I can't find people attractive who don't also find me attractive in that way. I can appreciate attractive qualities as others see them, but find no sexual attraction myself to any of those people. I just wanted to make myself quite clear, if only to get it out in the open for myself. I hope that wasn't too awkward for anyone reading still.

Originally I wasn't sure what the response would be when I let the cat out of the bag. In many respects I didn't care and in many others I was pretty sure they didn't care. But you never know, you know. It takes a leap of faith and there comes a point where you're willing to take it. I took it for my 21st birthday. It was my present to myself, probably the best I've ever given or received. I don't care, as I said, what most people think. And those I do care about don't seem to have a problem.

So, for rocking the boat, it wasn't too bad a ride. If I've learned one thing regarding this or other secrets it's that they are the most unnatural thing you can make. Man is not meant to keep secrets. They do nothing but bad for all concerned. I think I've learned my lesson. Then again, probably not. No more secrets? Yeah, even I can't delude myself into believing that. I suppose that's why I'm writing this here now. I need to let go of some things. No emo jokes please.


Who Has Time?

If ever you meander around the web like I do, it has to have struck you by now. Who has time for all this crap? Seriously, think about it. The Internet today is polluted with tons of pure crap. Crap that someone has to take the time to think up and take the time and effort to publish. Then, someone, some woeful someone, has to come by and look at it. If no one looked at it, it wouldn't exist. If no one cared that someone's dog does naughty things to the mailman, or perhaps visa versa, then no one would bother putting this crap online. In the end, that is our legacy isn't it. Not the Internet, but what's on it just as the legacy of a chef isn't the meal they prepare but how good it tastes. Believe me, the Internet is a sour pill today, which leaves me with just one question: Who has time?