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The myth of colorblindness in contemporary Korean American adoption narratives
Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3020-7814
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the first decades of the 21st century, a range of autobiographical narratives dealing with adoption from Korea to the U.S. have been published, such as Katy Robinson’s A Single Square Picture (2002), Jane Jeong Trenka’s The Language of Blood (2003) and Fugitive Visions (2009), and Soojung Jo’s Ghost of Sangju (2015). These texts all share one or more of the following motifs characteristic of the transracial/transnational adoption narrative:  the search for roots and a return to Korea, including the reunion with parents and siblings; the revelation of hidden facts or distorted truths surrounding the adoption; and a critical look at the patriarchal structure of Korean society. In addition, color is an important theme and this paper discusses how the myth of colorblindness and the discourse of rescue—two common adoption myths—are debunked in the narratives.

My analysis shows that while well intentioned, the notion of colorblindness rests on the erasure of racial identity which, as Eng and Han (2000) have shown, may lead to “racial melancholia.” Furthermore, rather than invalidating the significance of the color line, colorblindness has often served to reinforce racial divisions (see for example Arissa Oh, 2015). In other words, the denial of the adoptee’s difference hinges on upholding the ideal of whiteness. The paper concludes by considering how these observations relate to the adoptees’ negotiation of an Asian American identity and sense of belonging.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-19840OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-19840DiVA, id: diva2:1345072
Conference
Nordic Association of American Studies (NAAS), American Colors: Across the Disciplinary Spectrum, SDU Odense, May 22 – 24, 2017.
Available from: 2019-08-22 Created: 2019-08-22 Last updated: 2019-08-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf