Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bedeviling Advocate

*Update above*

In the grand scheme of things, one t-shirt is not a big deal.
But is unnecessary, which is really what rantotheweek is about. (Kind of why they are merely rants and not full-blown polemics or diatribes, and are far from reasoned arguments). And b.the grand scheme is made up of lots of little things that no one stopped.

MomEtc. commented on my last post:

Unfortunately we are up against aparents in our Yahoo group who are defending this shirt because they really don't see the message in it and how ugly it is. I'm trying to gently explain it to them....that adoption is not "hip", nor "cool" nor some "fad". Hopefully they can understand that. If not, I am going to let them know how adoptees are reacting to the shirt to try to bring them around.

I'm surprised that any aparents would defend it. So here's what I need to know:

How would aparents defend this tshirt?

Someone asked after my Imus post whether I was opposed to censorship, still for freedom of speech. I most certainly am. But I don't think everyone deserves the privileged venue of a network radio show. And I think had they let it go on long enough, the market probably would have taken care of Imus. The firing just expedited the process, and brought even more positive attention to the young women of Rutgers's basketball team and their power.

This t-shirt, too, could just be taken care of by the market. It probably isn't funny enough to sell, and would probably have disappeared on its own. When Signals/Wireless pulled their "Up for adoption" adult t-shirt, it probably didn't have a huge impact. It wasn't funny; it probably wouldn't have sold. But what they were probably thinking was "You know, like puppies," which has its own enormous problems. They needed to be reminded: "No, like people." And they apologized.

This shirt isn't any different from Entertainment Weekly comments and other popular culture references to celebrity adoption. And we ourselves have made celebrity adoption jokes here at home. If they/we can say it, why can't UO?

UO probably won't pull it and won't apologize -- they've proudly offended much larger segments of the world population -- arguably targetting whole nations and entire races before. (As Swerl notes in the comments, they have also pulled offensive t-shirts before.)

There. Have I gotten the defense right?

And: Am I wrong in thinking my kids would be bothered by this?

Is that part of the defense that a response to this is "overly sensitive"?

I really don't get that. It seems to me that parenting requires us to be ever-sensitive.

As Swerl said,
"If we can't get some action on this, we're losers."


Swerl said...

I run a blog from the perspective of parents adopting transracially from Africa:

In my own efforts to spotlight this issue and ignite a campaign to end this shirt, I came across your blog yesterday. (Hi! Nice to meet you!)

I was horrified when I came back today to read that parents were DEFENDING this shirt. I loved your last piece because I also got into some message board fights about the Comedy Central bit, but now find this shirt disgusting.

Please read my posts on this and feel free to use it at will to defend your position.

The ADL SUCCESSFULLY got the "Jewish Girl" and "New Mexico" shirt pulled. If we can't get some action on this, we're losers.

abebech said...

Hi Swerl, welcome to my world! Nice to meet you too! I'll visit shortly.

Kohana said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog and luring me back here. ;) I appreciate your perspective. I'm pretty new to this adoption thing in that my son isn't yet two. I mostly look at things from my perspective as an adoptive parent right now: whether or not I find things offensive. Your opinions helped me to see this shirt from my son's point of view...and it isn't so pretty.

AMH said...

How the heck are aparents defending a message like that???? ::shaking head::

And I usually like UO stuff. Never will shop there again.

MomEtc. said...

Here's some of what I saw: (let me say that these people were the minority)

"I think we are living in a great day and age. Adoption is no longer a dirty little secret that families are encouraged not to talk about. I applaude anyone who waves adoption out there as being hip. That is right adoption is the new black"

"Yes, it's good to get the word out that adoption happens all the time, it's a fact of life, and nothing we have to hide. Simply another way to add miracles to our families"

"Like others, I am very proud of being a soon to be adoptive parent. And saying that its hip and "cool" is taking away some of the mystery and shame that has been associated with adoption in the past"

abebech said...

Kohana, I will say that my feelings about how my children will react to things (and whether they will or not) has changed since my son learned to read, opening up whole new worlds for him and all new worries for me.
And MomEtc, thanks so much for cluing me in. The one I can kind of understand is a paparent. When we were preparing for Miss I, I wanted the whole world to know -- and to think it was wonderful.

Michelle said...

I don't get it! I guess it's AP that buy "Born in Guatemala" onsies too. I'm off to bang my head against the wall.