Over 40 years ago, Malcolm X made this last speech before he was assassinated, which is still relevant today. It’s very interesting to see the way his thought developed after his pilgrimage to Mecca.
Here is a wonderful introduction to Malcolm X, a BBC video that you can watch right on google called Make it Plain.
From the Black Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., I am interested in, in the context of adoptees and Korean natural mothers and single mothers:
- racial pride
- cultural education
- peacefulness as well as self-defense
- access to education
- abolition of practices that hurt us
I’m also reading about Won Buddhism. In the context of adoptees and Korean natural mothers and single mothers, I’m interested in Won Buddhism for its emphasis on:
- alleviating human suffering
- helping others
(I also like that Won Buddhists meditate upon a circle instead of Buddha images, since that part about worshipping Buddha always felt no different than Christianity to me.)
How can single mothers in Korea access education and jobs that will pay them a decent living wage so they can keep their children? How can adopted people work together with single mothers to enable them to keep their children, whether through childcare or private tutoring? Since adopted people earn such big salaries in Korea speaking English, could we start some kind of micro-lending program or credit union for single mothers? Many adoptees are coming to Korea with other skills; how can those skills be harnessed for the benefit of our community? How can we adopted people develop ourselves in a way that will lift us psychologically, spiritually, economically? What kind of leadership is needed in this incredibly diverse and fractured community? What kind of actions will produce material results that we will see within our lifetimes? How can adoptees be awakened to the class differences and global imbalances that have created them? Because we have so many adopted people living in Seoul with such diverse backgrounds and talents, could Seoul be the Harlem of our own Harlem Renaissance? How can we expand our imaginations and those of others to introduce new knowledge and especially, compassion?
I’m also revisiting Other Kinds of Dreams: Black Women’s Organizations and the Politics of Transformation, by Julia Sudbury (aka Julia Chinyere Oparah) to get some ideas. (In England, “black” also includes Asian.)
Bedside reading also includes Crossing the Danger Water: Three Hundred Years of African-American Writing ed. Deirdre Mullane.
Also read a bit on Simone Weil. I am not crazy about her — something about her seems very decadent and perverse to me — but I do agree with this quote from Lectures on Philosophy:
One can never really give a proof of the reality of anything; reality is not something open to proof, it is something established.
So how can we establish realities that are now unknown and overlooked? This could be through writing, through activism, through the dissemination of pamphlets or use of the media, etc.
Adoptees will come together this summer to the Gathering, and I think one of the reasons why the atmosphere with adoptees can be so charged is because we are affirming each other’s formerly unestablished realities. How great it is to feel finally real!! But after that necessary work of establishing and affirming our own reality, I think we must also look outside ourselves and help others to establish their realities as real in the world so that we may help alleviate their suffering.
Hardly anyone cares about the suffering of, say, Korean natural mothers because their reality has not yet been established. Hopefully Tammy’s film Resilience will change all that. But I am reminded that really, the only reason why people know about Korean natural mothers at all is because of the existence of adopted people. If we were not here establishing our reality, people would not know that there are perhaps 150-200 thousand birth mothers out there, somewhere, who have been silenced by society.
I wish my Korean mom were still alive. I can attribute all of my coming out of denial about race and class to her. All she had to do was be my mother and that did it, though it took some years because I was so brainwashed into thinking I was white and middle-class. I think mom and I could be fantastic on the adoption lecture circuit and no doubt she was VERBOSE. You know, when she was living, no one I ever met in her presence was ever surprised that I existed. She told her Korean friends and I’m sure she would tell Americans too all about the reality of a natural mother and she would I’m sure not be ashamed at all to come out and organize a meeting of natural mothers and they would ESTABLISH themselves and their reality IN THE FACE of all of those who wish they’d just shut up and go away but keep proffering up their children for adoption.
Well mom, I raise a glass to you. You were an amazing woman and I am proud to be your daughter. 잘 가세요, 엄마.