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Adoption Blog: Talk to AF

Jeremy Lin and Subtle Stereotypes

For the past few weeks, I have, I admit, been taken over by Linsanity. Jeremy Lin's astonishing prowess on the basketball court, after years of dismissal by coaches, has every element of a Horatio Alger story. Moreover, Lin is straightforward about the likelihood that his skill went unnoticed for so long because he's Asian. In a recent interview, Lin said, "I am frequently described as 'deceptively quick' or 'deceptively athletic.' What part of me doesn't look fast or athletic?"

Such stereotypes, often subconscious in those who hold them, can be much harder for our non-white, transracially adopted children to live with than acts of overt racism. For many kids (and adults), it's hard to recognize small biases for what they are, especially when their existence is largely denied. Anti-Asian racism—what are you talking about??

The key for my daughter was comparing notes with other adoptees. In workshops, at the Holt adoptee camp, and at our wonderful FCC's Girls Connect program, they validated each other's experiences and developed coping mechanisms. That's why we were so pleased to find the extraordinary quotes from teen adoptees that came out of psychologist Tony Tan's longitudinal study of adoption from China. These teens are wise beyond their years. Read what they say in this article from the March/April 2012 issue of Adoptive Families, then share their advice with your children.

Has your family discussed Jeremy Lin's feats on the basketball court, or the adversity he faced to get there? Have your children faced subtle racism? How have they responded? Did the advice given by teen adoptees resonate with your child? With you?

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