Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Holiday announcement for (white, particularly) APs:

Traditional dress items from our children's heritage(s) are NOT appropriate Halloween costumes.

Some of these parenting decisions really are no-brainers...I'm amazed/appalled/embarrassed-to-the-core that a question of having one's child dress in hanbok for Halloween is even up for discussion. I wouldn't be angry except for the 'excuses' people come up with to try and justify their decision, such as, "it's a chance to educate...". Yes, In My Very Humble Opinion, it's a chance to tell the rest of the world how completely stupid and clueless white adoptive parents can be about anything and everything related to our children's birth culture. There's no 'educating' about hanbok during Halloween; only the chance to draw attention to your exotic little Korean girl or boy.

Each of us, when we decided to become parents of transracially adopted children, took on the responsibility to educate ourselves about their birth cultures and to really think about what this means for our families. In certain situations, it means that we parents don't have the 'authority' to decide to do certain things for or with them - and dressing them in hanbok for Halloween is something that a white AP does not have the authority or the 'right' to do. If Korean/Korean American parents think it is appropriate for their children - well, if nothing else, they are 'qualified' to make that decision. If (some) Koreans in Korea (such as your child's foster parents) think it is "cute" (even though they might not be telling you the truth when they say that, out of respect/politeness), that is still different.

This is a perfect example of the type of misappropriation that was addressed in the book Beyond Good Intentions. Sometimes it's a fine line. Other times, there will (should) be alarm bells and red flags and people screaming, "nooooo!" that will give us little clues about how we should proceed.

Please....for ALL of us....just don't do it (the Halloween thing). Do read the book.


At 11:05 AM , Blogger Kahlan said...

I 100% agree. I can't believe people even *think* it might be okay.

At 12:48 PM , Blogger Third Mom said...

Some people think it's OK because they don't understand how this turns their child into an object, how it takes an important part of one culture and weaves it inappropriately into the fabric of another.

Plus on a completely unrelated level - for those who celebrate Halloween, isn't is about letting kids' imaginations go a bit? How does dressing your child in a hanbok do that?


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