How I Found My Biological Family & Tips For Your Search

Around this time (well, in November) 2 years ago, I started the search for my birth family. It was a tough decision to make, I put it off for years, not feeling that it was the right time, and partially afraid of the unknown. I decided to go about this alone, I didn’t want the involvement of my parents, and with only knowing the name of the agency and the first name of my birth mother, I began a several month long search. Having been through this process myself, I decided to share my experiences and provide some tips that may help others on theirs.

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Why I Refused To Watch 'The Hate U Give'

About a year after I moved out to Los Angeles from Boston, I got a text from my cousin. She asked me for my mailing address because she found a book she thought I might like. My cousin, (who is also a TRA but from Taiwan) and I share a mutual love of film and reading. When we both lived in Boston, we frequently swapped book ideas and went to see films together. Naturally when she told me she was going to send me a book, I was all for it. New book to read, I’m there.

A couple weeks later, her package arrives. I open it and it’s a brand new copy of the book by Angie Thomas, “The Hate U Give”. I had heard nothing but praise about the book from pretty much every black person and activist I follow and look up to. I should have been excited to read the shit out of it. However, when I opened it up, instead of the normal feeling of excitement, black power and joy I usually get from supporting my fellow black women, I felt immediately exhausted. I don’t know if you remember, but this book came out just last year, in February. This was also the time that we had an influx of police shooting, and brutality videos hitting us what felt like every hour, on the hour. Every time I opened up anything that was connected to the internet, there was a new video or story about a black person being murdered by police. We were also right off the heels of movements like Ferguson, and Flint, not too long afterwards, the rally in Charlottesville riot happened, and so many other instances of black people being brutally abused by white people and the law. It was and still is an overwhelming non-stop wave of violence against my people. Despite how much I really do want to read the book and support this young black woman, I mentally cannot take anymore stories about the abuse of my people. Especially fictional stories.

This is exactly why I did not watch the film adaptation either. In fact, I made a deliberate pact with myself that I wasn’t going to watch any movie about the violence against black people. Especially ones that are fictional. I have always been very outspoken about my disgust with Hollywood’s black representation. Furthermore the fact that the only big ‘black films’ that seem to get greenlit are ones where we are victims and suffer at the hands of white people or in which white people get to be saviors. That is why we made such a big deal out of Black Panther. An almost 100% black cast and crew, majority dark skin cast and we have our own narrative that has nothing to do with white people? It’s literally unheard of for a movie of that scale. Jordan Peele had to fight tooth and nail to get a shit budget so he could make Get Out and they still pushed back against that movie. Had he made another slave movie or a movie about a white person killing black folks, every movie studio would have signed on to fund it in 30 seconds.

So just like I skipped 12 Years A Slave, Blindspotting, and whatever other black film hollywood has tried to give us, I refused to watch The Hate U Give too. They could be great films, I don’t know or really care. Shout out to the people involved, get your money and your IMDB credits, good luck. I wish them no ill will at all. I however, shall not be there. I simply cannot sit through another movie about the killing of my people when we already are dealing with that in real life. Why would I want to go watch my people face racism and death on screen for entertainment when I can literally just walk outside and have it happen to me 15 times a day?

Just last week as I was walking down Sunset blvd to my car after work, some white man driving past yelled “fucking nigger” out the window at me, minding my own business. He sped past cackling, and I caught a glimpse of the multiple Trump/MAGA bumper stickers on his car. Yes, even in fake progressive Los Angeles, people are still calling us niggers. My point is, we as black people—me personally, am living this reality, I don’t want to pay $18 for a movie ticket to watch a fictional story about it on screen too. I just don’t and I don’t have to. This is why I will always support shows like Atlanta and Blackish, shows that allow black people to simply just be regular damn people living their everyday lives. I’m tired of every piece of black media needing to be a political movement or statement in order to be validated. Our daily lives are not political movements, we’re just regular people out here trying to work and pay bills on time like everyone else. Where are our movies and shows that allow us to be human beings? Those are the pieces of media I will go out to support.

One day I will get around to reading “The Hate U Give” but I have a feeling it’s going to be awhile. Until we get out of this hell hole we’re living in which black people can’t even walk into their own apartments or have a BBQ in the park without being harrassed by racists, I won’t be consuming these pieces of literature or film. For my own mental wellbeing, I simply can’t.


Support Me Maybe?

Hey folks, I want my work to be accessible to all those who need it, thus why I do not create paywalls for my blog. That being said, creating content costs a lot of time and money. If you can make a contribution to help support my work, know it is very much appreciated, and I'm sending you a virtual high-five.

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5 Ways To Participate in National Adoption Month Without Being Selfish

As some of you may know, National Adoption Month takes place every November, which is right around the corner. The purpose of this month is supposed to be to raise awareness of adoption and foster related issues. However, from my experience it seems to have turned into a month for adoptive parents to pat themselves on the back. This is not something that sits well with me as an adoptee. The way it’s commonly celebrated is why I don’t tend to care about it much. Everything seems to be focused on the parents, as a result, adoptees are silenced and left out of our own experiences. Now, I’m not saying you can’t celebrate your adoptee, but how about you ask them if they even want that first and include them in the planning process?

Not to worry though, I’m here to provide you with some different ways you can actually help flip the narrative and be less selfish this National Adoption Month.

Talk to Your Adoptee

Wild, I know, but we can actually communicate and do have thoughts and opinions. Why not talk to the actual person who is adopted and see how they would like to acknowledge this month? Come up with something as a family that y’all can do together every year.

Educate Yourself and Others

Whether you’re an adoptive parent or not, everyone should be trying to learn at least the basic of the adoption experience. Share information about adoption, read some books about adoption you’ve never read before. Challenge yourself to do more research on a specific topic you want to know more about. After you do that, share that information with family and friends. Even reposting a link on facebook, helps get the information out there.

Join A Local Event

See if there are any local events happening around your area your whole family can participate in. This website lists some Adoption Day events that happening around the United States. If you can’t find one near you, consider hosting one yourself or with a few friends for you local community.

Volunteer or Donate

Find an organization that is doing work in the adoption and foster community and see how you can contribute. Find ways to actively do work in the adoption community and if there is nothing local, you can always donate to a cause.

Highlight Adoptee Voices

Uplift and share the voices of those who are unheard in any situation. We’re talking about adoption and for some reason the key piece in the whole process, adoptee, are always the ones pushed to side and forgot about. Challenge yourself to highlight our voices and share our stories. Use your privileges and platforms to give those who don’t have one, a boost. You should be doing this more than one month out the year but, it’s a start at least.

Basically, just don’t be selfish this National Adoption Month. Try to put yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to raise awareness and get educated.


Support Me Maybe?

Hey folks, I want my work to be accessible to all those who need it, thus why I do not create paywalls for my blog. That being said, creating content costs a lot of time and money. If you can make a contribution to help support my work, know it is very much appreciated, and I'm sending you a virtual high-five.

Contributions can also be sent via VenmoCash App or Paypal.

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I Watched Eve's Bayou For The First Time and I'm Not A Fan

Since the first time I ever met a black person, I have been hearing about how great of a film Eve's Bayou is. It's was always every black person I’ve ever met, favorite movie. The reviews online of it are great, it won quite a few awards, you could consider it a "black classic". So, naturally, when The Underground Museum here in Los Angeles, announced it was going to screen it for their garden movie night, I decided to go with a couple of friends. None of the 3 of us had seen it before. However, as soon as the movie started, I was confused as to why this is considered a such a great film and it just got worse throughout. I will say the performances of the actors were amazing, of course, they are, it's a great cast, and the way the movie was filmed was also beautiful…but the story lost me. 

The opening monologue

After reading some articles online, post my film viewing, apparently this monologue is considered the deepest part of the film. The monologue, explains what "Eve's Bayou" is. Long story short, Eve was a slave woman she saved her master's life with her "powerful medicine" aka voodoo and as a reward, he gave her this piece of land (the Bayou) and her freedom. The monologue goes on to say, that subsequently she bore 16 of his children, yadda yadda yadda, they stayed there in love and this currently family we are about to follow for the duration of the film, are descendants of the two. I'm sorry but you can't have a slave, a slave master and love all in the same sentence. This isn't loving. Why are we romanticizing slave masters? Even if she was “freed” she isn’t really free because no slave on any planet falls in love with a slave master who has beaten and rape her and her family for god knows how many generations. I don’t care how many acres of land he gave her, this is not a normal, loving relationships and I’m tired of romanticizing white people abusing black women.

The dismissing of abuse

Pretty much this entire movie is about how abusive and fucked up the family is. This was my main issue with the film. If you're going to present us with an abusive, shitty family, then there needs to be some discussion of it or resolution at the end. This had none, it just ended like "Well that was anyone"? Meanwhile, these two horrible shit parents have abused sexually, mentally, verbally and physically to the point where they all no doubt have some serious mental health issues to deal with, and there was no discussion of it. I can't subscribe to the normalization of abuse. It’s this exact reason why I no longer watch any slavery or police brutality films/shows. We just don’t need it, we have such a larger narrative and history than just being abused. It also makes me wonder why so many of our “black classics” are about black suffering. I personally, am just not on board to bond in misery.

Along this subject, is the blaming of Cisely for her father molesting her. After seeing this film, all three of us went to get dinner and discuss the film, at the restaurant, other black folks joined our discussion (it’s a real black and local community spot, this happens regularly). Additionally, I have discussed this scene in particular with other black people and literally almost every single person calls this child a hoe, “fast” “acting grown” etc and zero blame is placed on her shit father. I’d say I’m confused but not really. Sexual abuse is swept under the rug really everywhere but in the black community in particular. I don’t care if that child walked downstairs naked, that man is a GROWN and knew it was his daughter yet allowed it anyways. Not to mention the mental abuse he already caused on her to get her to that point. Sorry, but anyone who supports that is pure garbage and so is this narrative.

Why Is Everyone's Response to Kill Each Other?

I lost count on how many times people in this family are presented with a problem, and their first response is to suggest murder, like whet? Why? At one point, the aunt threatens to kill Cisely and she meant it. You gone kill your niece because YOUR brother is a cheating, abusive pedophile? What are we watching?

What Was The Take Away Here?

Finally, what was the message? We discussed this at length and none of us could figure out what we were supposed to walk away from that movie knowing or feeling. Fine, you want to make a film about abuse, cool, but where is the message or the point? I was waiting for some sort of a “we survived this fucked up situation and overcame” type resolution but instead we literally just started another day like nothing happened. Maybe this only made sense in 1997 when it was released, but in 2018, I don’t see the take away. I didn’t come out the otherside with any more or less information than I had when I started it. I was just left confused.

I know this will probably cancel my black card but I don’t really care. I don’t get the hype and I’m not interested in cosigning movies about black abuse. For all these commentary and praise I’ve been hearing for 27 years, I was severely underwhelmed.