Shut Up, Tama Janowitz.

c1Sometimes I can be articulate. Sometimes I just can’t. Right now a lot of other people are expressing themselves better than I can. I’m just frothing at the mouth, writhing around, clawing at my eyes and wishing I could punch this woman, many times, right in the face.

I was going to write a whole long blog post about November being National Adoption Awareness Month, and how so much has been overwhelming me, both good and bad, but right now I can’t really focus on anything except this which has been the worst of it.

There’s been an ongoing series of blog posts about adoption in the New York Times, ranging from the sappy to the truly eloquent and poignant.

And then there was an absolute horror show of a post that made me shriek out loud in disgust, dismay, horror and distress.

Tana Janowitz, in her trademark sarcasm and f-you attitude that made her a once-famous author in the heyday of the late 80’s, writes:

A girlfriend who is now on the waiting list for a child from Ethiopia says that the talk of her adoption group is a recently published book in which many Midwestern Asian adoptees now entering their 30s and 40s complain bitterly about being treated as if they did not come from a different cultural background. They feel that this treatment was an attempt to blot out their differences, and because of this, they resent their adoptive parents.

So in a way it is kind of nice to know as a parent of a child, biological or otherwise – whatever you do is going to be wrong. Like I say to Willow: “Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!”

And she says — as has been said by children since time immemorial — “So what, I don’t care. I would rather do that than be here anyway.”

Not surprising. That poor child would rather be ANYwhere than living with a mother like that (and a name like Willow?!?). Well, I can’t say anymore right now because I’m about to start spewing vitriol all over the keyboard, but I will link you to others who have expressed it better.

First, note Jae Ran’s documentation of the many adult adoptees whose posts in protest of Janowitz’s piece were not published censored by the NY Times. If this isn’t outrageous I don’t know what is. The thing that really got me, and made me feel like I can’t bear living in this country one more minute is the number of “Hey, lady, you are funny!” comments that she got. Oh, the shame. The SHAME.

Lisa Marie tries to educate Tama and others. More power to ya, teacher lady, but have you heard the story of the pearls and the swine?

Carmen at Racialicious has a really articulate commentary on the whole series.

I am really glad to see that adoptive mother Dawn spoke up, too. This whole thing is just so sick and outrageous.

AND: Breaking News! Twice the Rice has come out of retirement to comment on this as well.

I’m going to leave y’all on a bright note. Before sinking into utter despair, read Sumeia’s beautiful, true and poignant piece in the same series.

Edit: one of the editors of the above-mentioned “recently published book” responds, and brilliantly.

And Sarah Kim wrote an incredibly powerful and moving letter to Willow.

Finally, Harlow’s Monkey analyzes which comments were “allowed” on the NYT and which weren’t, and why. 

21 thoughts on “Shut Up, Tama Janowitz.

  1. So, I just looked, and at 128 comments, comments are now closed! 😦

    I’m sorry, but as someone who works in this area for a living and knows all sides of the debates over user commenting on newspaper.coms, this is just screwed up–if you moderate comments, fine, but you moderate them in order, you don’t filter things back in later, especially on a site that numbers comments! And then to shut down commenting without any explanation, without any notation anywhere… Not the way to do it, NYT, not at all.

    BTW, a new post is up by Hollee McGinnis, dated 11/13/07 , 8:01 p.m. At first glance, pretty good, and begging for like-minded comments.

  2. Thanks for bringing this whole dialog to my attention. I read some of the other, more thoughtful and sincere blog posts, such as Sumeia’s, and many of the comments to her. They were very moving.

  3. O M G. I agree with Ji In, “shut up Tama…” is right on the money in this case. Culture is more than skin color. (And I have to agree with you on “Willow”…no offense to Willow.)

  4. Hi… I write a blog for the Louisville Courier-Journal’s weekly edition, Velocity. I posted a bit about the NY Times series (with a link to your site) and my own experiences as a Korean American adoptee.

    If you’re interested, the post is here.


  5. Hah, seems like many people have the same feeling as me. She makes herself a savior, not a mother

    Why I cant see any disagreement in the comments of her blog?

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