I’m a paralegal because I always thought current events and government was interesting. As a kid I enjoyed learning about America because this was the country where I was given a chance at a better life. Also, my grandparents both served in the Army during World War II so patriotism was a large part of both my mom and my upbringings.
Growing up I would have probably identified as a democrat because I believed the government should help people if they were having problems. Later I realized that government had its own problems. When my uncle graduated from Metro with his BS in Computer Science, the Mayor of Denver spoke. At first I thought, “How cool is it to be in the presence of the Mayor!” Later I thought, “Hey wait, he talks a lot about his accomplishments. Isn’t he here to congratulate the grads such as my uncle?” My uncle broke the news to me that politicians start out with good motives, but they have to campaign to keep their jobs. Therefore, selfishness is inherent in government. My uncle enjoyed poking holes in my ideological bubble, but he made me think critically about what I believed. So I considered myself a moderate when I first registered to vote.
In college I joined a Christian college group and to belong and conform, I thought I had to go full on Evangelical Christian Values Voter. Not wanting to lose my new found friends and not wanting to have my beliefs go against God’s commands, I went full on Christian Republican. It was… interesting and my college friends who believed differently than I did put up with me.
As an adoptee, I needed that sense of belonging that my college group gave me. I needed that sense of solid identity, and I needed to feel like I belonged in my Christian family (the church members often referred to each other as brothers and sisters). Wait, haven’t I said that already? Oh yes, in the Conform to Belong post. That’s why I didn’t question a lot of my switch until I moved from Fort Collins to Denver.
Not to get into a political debate, but I found myself swinging back toward the center. My disability keeps me from having some jobs (any that require driving and I probably shouldn’t go into surgery haha), I take public transit, so yes, I think government safety nets and government organizations are good where they need to be. As a paralegal, I also know government can equal a ton of paper pushing, so it really shouldn’t get too out of hand. Also, yes, government should protect people’s rights to safety and access to fairness in things like housing, safety-net programs, employment, education, etc. because people are naturally selfish and we all tend to carry our prejudices and we treat others with our own assumptions in hand whether we admit it or not.
Ah, I mentioned my own personal experiences in that last paragraph. Well, thanks to my Transracial Adoption Perspectives Facebook Group , I learned about terms such as People of Color (POC) defined as anyone not white, and the politics of fighting against oppression that we as non-whites have experienced. I found myself delving into identity politics. Yes it put a voice to the feelings I felt when I experienced prejudice. Yes, it reminded me that not everyone experiences America the same way. It reminded me to show compassion to those I would look down upon because yes, I do have my prejudices because I grew up in a white middle class home.
However, I don’t want to be the victim of my own life. This is why I stopped blogging for a bit. I didn’t want every post to turn into, “I’m not white so my life actually sucks in America even though I’m adopted and I have opportunities I never would’ve had and I am currently living the typical suburban middle class working mom life.”) I don’t want to look at the world like it’s out to get me. That’s just super depressing and I have enough in my past to sort out, so I don’t want to add that to it.
So I’m back to the middle. Yes, I’ve experienced people doing or saying stupid stuff because they made assumptions about me because I’m Asian. Yes, I do experience moments of racial tension where someone makes an offhand comment about race that hurts, or someone does go out of their way to tease me based on race, and yes, I do get mad. However, I have seen our country progress. It’s not perfect, and sometimes people say stuff that make me think race relations might be set back a bit, but looking on the bright side helps me see the good in other people and keep my sanity.
I know life in America is not perfect for everyone, but I see the opportunities we are given here, and I want to do my part to make it better.