Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Diary of an Expat: Culture Shock

A few weeks ago, I was planning on posting a blog about a cultural difference I'd noticed between the US and the UK. It all got started when I was watching Breakfast on BBC (similar to The Today Show, for those of you in America, except with slightly more news content and slightly less Al Roker acting like a tool), and there was a piece on interracial adoption in the UK. The moral of the story was that there were many children in foster care across the UK, and many families wanting to adopt a child, but they couldn't be put together because parents can only adopt children of the same ethnic background. If you're interested, you can read some of the facts here (I couldn't find the original piece I saw on Breakfast)

Hearing this, I was absolutely shocked. I thought to myself (and even said to Joe) this would never happen in America! What really matters, I thought, is for children to have loving parents, no matter their ethnic background. I was all ready to post away, when I thought to myself, "I guess I don't really know if America has a similar policy in place." With just a quick check of Wikipedia (most trusted source in the world!), I learned that there actually IS a similar policy in America. I also learned that there were many people - of all races - fighting to stop interracial adoptions not because they think there is anything inherently wrong with parents of another race adopting a child, but because they think it makes it difficult for children to understand their own identity.

Now, with any of my opinions aside, this whole issue brought something entirely different to the front of my mind. I originally had thought there was no way this would fly in America - when, in fact, it had been flying in America for quite some time. The difference in culture had much less to do with each country's adoption policies and much more to do with each country's norms on discussing race in public forums and the media. Not that we don't talk about race in America - racially motivated crimes are a frequent topic on the news. But it's rare that we have a discussion about race. And by discussion, I mean something civilized, without each side accusing the other of something.

I wish I had something more substantial to offer in terms of a conclusion about the topic, but I can understand both side's views and I haven't had enough time or done enough research to firmly form my opinion. Really all I can say is that it's things like this that make me enjoy living in another culture. You think you have such a firm understanding of the world that you've lived in, and it takes living in a different world to fully understand where you've come from.

No comments:

Post a Comment