The Dance of Identities
Korean Adoptees and Their Journey toward Empowerment
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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I was raised to believe in the American way of life—one that was founded upon the beliefs and values of meritocracy, freedom, and justice for all. With my classmates I pledged allegiance to the flag, learned about the great White explorers who discovered America and the founding fathers who fought for independence, and sang songs that upheld the belief that “this land was ...
Chapter 1. Dance of Identities
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In the summer of 1999 the first Gathering of Korean adult adoptees was held in Washington, D.C.; more than four hundred Korean adoptees came from around the world to share their life experiences, rejoice in their accomplishments, reveal their sorrows and pains, and develop...
Chapter 2. Wanting to Be Like White: Dancing with a White Cultural Identity
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Charlotte and Brenda, like several of the other adoptees, were challenged with offhand remarks about being bananas and more serious taunts of being sellouts. Most participants held fast to the belief that assimilation into the White middle-class culture of their ...
Chapter 3. Opening Pandora's Box: Dancing in Between and Nowhere at All
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At some point in their lives the Korean adoptees of this study encountered a racial experience that sent them into a spiral of angst and uncertainty. Underlying this debilitating pain from being called a “gook” or “chink” was the shattering of their sense of reality—that the world is not colorblind. In 1903 W. E. B. DuBois stated that Blacks were constantly...
Chapter 4. Engaging and Reflecting: Dancing with a Racial Identity and Transracial Adoptee Identity
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Dancing with a White cultural identity is a time when Korean adoptees are lulled into a state of denial and disempowerment about their racial and transracial adoptee identities as they grow up within the status quo of their culturally White-informed homes and communities...
Chapter 5. Questioning What I Have Done: Dancing with Tensions, Conflicts, and Contradictions
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If “dancing in between and nowhere at all” can be considered the opening of Pandora’s box, then dancing with a racial and transracial adoptee identity should be regarded as rummaging around inside that box. The adoptees’ explorations to discover their...
Chapter 6. Empowering Identities: Dancing with Empowerment and Executing Social Change
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The previous chapters illustrate how the participants’ identity journeys ultimately led some to gain empowered identities. Indeed, I described the process and the initiating factors that allowed the adoptees to develop these identities. This chapter discusses in further...
Chapter 7. Linking the Dance of Identities Theory to Life Experiences
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The dance of identities theory appears to resemble Cross’ (1971) established racial identity development model that includes the stages of pre-encounter, encounter, immersion/emersion, internalization, and internalization-commitment. The pre-encounter stage is evident in the ways the Korean adoptees assimilate into their White cultural identities...
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Index of Korean Transracial Adoptee Participants
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Publication Year: 2011