In a previous post, I asked what strategies we have discovered for addressing those sorts of occasions when we find ourselves face-to-face with with people expressing “opinions” (they almost always call them opinions) that dehumanize, wound, or reprise in the present patterns of abuse associated with our experience of adoption that occurred in the past. At the time of writing this, Mirella Warren had offered to the value of asserting and maintaining boundaries.
By “address” I meant specifically in what ways we might confront or field or blunt the effect of such encounters. Beyond this, we have also the (social) project to “redress” these offenses as well.
Mirella’s previous response managed to anticipate this point, and she proposed starting a blog as a way to redress the offense. I see in that context how the typically unequal power dynamics between the minority or subaltern voice (in this case, the adopted) relative to the dominant voice or narrative at least has the means of ultimately controlling the content of the discourse, even if specific interactions with commentators to the blog at times reek of the dominant narrative. In one’s blog, the playing field seems evened in a compensatory sense, even when still not absolutely level.
My purpose in asking how can we address offenses, however, did not intend only to point at the content of the offense–the specific claims about adoption or whatnot that a speaker makes–but rather to the character of the interaction in which those assertions occur, to how the dominant narrative addresses me and us.
Similarly, in asking here how we may redress these offenses, I do not mean to point only to how we might, for example, get more accurate information out into the world that counteracts the ignorant or innocent misinformation regularly bandied about, but more to what means we might identify for redressing the dismissiveness of the dominant discourse, or, more precisely, to counteract the claim on the part of the dominant discourse of a right to control and frame how the discourse gets discussed.
This obviously suggests a solution: to arrogate to ourselves the right to control and frame how the discourse gets discussed. We might further fret if anyone should arrogate such a “right,” or whether we reproduce undesirable dynamics by such a gesture. We might debate and contend over this point in multiple ways. I don’t ignore that. Already, the hierarchical inequality of subaltern and altern in culture guarantees that subaltern “arrogation” does not function in the same way or even socially mean the same thing as “altern arrogating,” just as claims (typically by whites) about “reverse discrimination” are almost invariably ridiculousness and disingenuous.
Meanwhile, in the actual construction and maintenance of a public structure like a blog, we grant to ourselves that means (normally arrogated only to members of the dominant discourse) for framing the content of that discourse on our blog. In our action of doing this in itself, and not so much whatever interactions we have with people on our blogs, do I see the gesture of redress.
What are others?