Thursday, November 23, 2006

Michael Richards is no Andy Kaufman

Since I spent some time railing about Mel Gibson's vicious anti-semitic rant, it's only fair I comment on the latest "celebrity gone mad", Michael Richards. His deeply racist, hateful spew was captured on someone's cellphone camera. (I won't show it here, but you can see it just about anywhere.)

Here's what we know:
  • Richard's career has been moribund since Seinfeld went off the air
  • He didn't work stand-up in his early days. He was a sketch artist (If you're of a certain age, you might remember him from the short-lived SNL clone, Fridays. Larry David (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) was also on this show.
  • The heckler who first taunted him wasn't African-American.
  • A few days prior to the well-publicized meltdown, Richard's performance included vicious attacks on women and Jews (Richards is Jewish.)
Some comics pushed the envelope with great regularity - Andy Kaufman, Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Sam Kinison. These guys were genius. (I might add Sascha Baron Cohen (Barat) to the mix, as well.) Great art, comic or otherwise, forces us to examine our deepest selves and it isn't always pretty. In fact, most of time, it can be deeply disturbing.

But at some point, the comic alerts his/her audience to the joke. Richards, if he was attempting to walk in the giants of this comic art, failed miserably. If he wasn't, then he needs help. With his rage, his racism, and his misogyny.

Many moons ago, when I was very young, I did stand-up comedy. (Trust me, even with death, divorce, and childbirth in my history, stand-up comedy is harder.) Being heckled is part of the job. How a comic handles it marks him/her as a professional ... or not.

I liked Richards, thought he was a terrific physical comic actor. A first-rate second banana. But a little of him goes a long way. Now? A little of him is way too much. Richards should seek out his friends for help and intervention and stay off the stage until he gets himself together and into some serious therapy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

White Privilege Checklist: What's Your Score?

I've often said (and repeats) that when we adopt transracially, we are no longer a white family with a child of color. We become a transracial family.

But that's at home. When we're out and about in public, there's us white APs (if you're indeed white) and our Asian/AA/biracial children. Consider this checklist below and the privileges that are afforded us because of our majority/mainstream status:

White Privilege Checklist

Peggy McIntosh, Associate Director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, describes white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets, which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was .meant. to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks. (McIntosh, 1989).

___ 1. I can arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

___ 2. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

___ 3. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

___ 4. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization", I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

___ 5. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

___ 6. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the food I grew up with, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can deal with my hair.

___ 7. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial responsibility.

___ 8. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

___ 9. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

___ 10. I can take a job or enroll in a college with an affirmative action policy without having my co-workers or peers assume I got it because of my race.

___ 11. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

___ 12. I can choose public accommodation with out fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated.

___ 13. I am never asked to speak for all of the people of my racial group.

___ 14. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk with the"person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.

___ 15. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven.t
been singled out because of my race.

___ 16. I can easily by posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and
children.s magazines featuring people of my race.

___ 17. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in .flesh. color and have them more or less match my skin.

___ 18. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

___ 19. I can walk into a classroom and know I will not be the only member of my race.

___ 20. I can enroll in a class at college and be sure that the majority of my professors will be of my race.

As a Jew, change race to religion and I can personally relate to some of these questions. (Invariably depending on the news of the day, I was sought out for the "Jewish" opinion at a mid-size publishing company I worked at years ago.) I grew up in a decidedly non-Jewish neighborhood, as well.

But unlike the race you wear on your face, I can choose to "hide" my faith/ethnicity.

Being recognized as the "other" means you're not the norm. As a writer it's easy to spot. When an adjective is added to a common noun, like "male nurse, woman truck driver, adopted child", you can see what society views as normal and what it does not.

Take the test, share it with your spouse and other family members and friends. Hey, do it at Thanksgiving and you're really get the conversation going :=)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Birthmothers: Unspoken Side of Adoption

Look for this new documentary sometime in 2007:

"Resilience finally gives birthmothers who had to give up their child a voice about being single mothers, international adoption practices and society.

The documentary allows them to contemplate this serious, but often ignored and misrepresented, social issue in Korea. The personal stories about how and what happened are sometimes shocking and very emotional to the women. Only a few of the approached women had enough courage to participate. ``There are some birthmothers who are ready to speak up. The ones who participated usually met their child again.’’ The sensitiveness of the topic is illustrated by one young woman being filmed in silhouette."

Although it has a very religious tone which may be oft putting to some readers, the book, I Wish for You A Wonderful Life offers another useful glimpse into the perspective of our children's Korean mothers.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jewish Moms & Chinese Daughters

A good article with resonance for those of us with Korean-born sons and daughters.

Jewish Moms, Chinese Daughters
By Merri Rosenberg
Reprinted with permission from the Spring 2006 issue of Lilith Magazine. To read more or to subscribe, go to

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vanished! One day you wake up and your beloved has disappeared ...

We think we know what it's like to be uprooted from all we know, but we don't. At least not most of us. And of those who might know, almost none have experienced the dislocation and confusion of losing everything familiar to begin, yet again, anew and afraid.

Except for our children.

This article is taken from Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections. Please read and pass along.


A Different Perspective

Imagine for a moment ...

You have met the person you've dreamed about all your life. He has every quality that you desire in a spouse. You plan for the wedding, enjoying every free moment with your fiancée. You love his touch, his smell, the way he looks into your eyes. For the first time in your life, you understand what is meant by "soul mate," for this person understands you in a way that
no one else does. Your heart beats in rhythm with his. Your emotions are intimately tied to his every joy, his every sorrow.

The wedding comes. It is a happy celebration, but the best part is that you are finally the wife of this wonderful man. You fall asleep that night, exhausted from the day's events, but relaxed and joyful in the knowledge that you are next to the person who loves you more than anyone in the
world...the person who will be with you for the rest of your life. The next morning you wake up, nestled in your partner's arms. You open your eyes and immediately look for his face. But it's not him! You are in the arms of another man. You recoil in horror. Who is this man?

Where is your beloved? A Different Perspective continues here ...

Carrie Kitze, Publisher
EMK Press

Books that hit home for adopted children and informational guides that help parents on the journey! Find our new parent book “Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections” at AdoptShoppe.