N.Y. Times on Mathew Luce, Asian-American Identity and Transracial Adoption

New York, N.Y.  Mengwen Cao photographed and interviewed New Yorkers who were adopted from Asia and grew up in white families in her piece, “Reconciling Asian-American Identity Within Transracial Adoptions,” published today in The New York Times (link).

Mathew Luce - NYT - croppedMathew Luce, now 25, in front of masks bought from Indonesia at his Roosevelt
Island apartment. Adopted from Indonesia by two dads, he grew up in New York.
May 2017. Photo: Mengwen Cao.

The Times reports:

After Mengwen Cao moved to New York from China, she started to feel like she was straddling two different worlds. To her friends and family back home, she had become “too American.” In New York, she said, she was “always a foreigner.”

Wanting to grasp what it felt like to grow up around family members who “don’t look like you,” she set out to photograph adoptees who were born in Asia and raised by white American parents for a series called “I Stand Between.”

An analysis by the Institute for Family Studies found that the proportion of adoptees in the United States with Asian backgrounds nearly tripled between 1999 and 2011, while the majority of adoptive parents were “white, older, well-educated and relatively affluent.”

Ms. Cao found that most of the people she met shared that concern over authenticity, that question of what makes a “real” Asian.

“It kind of indicates there’s only one real truth, but talking to them made me realize that there’s no one way to be Asian or American — or just a person,” Ms. Cao said. “It’s so important for us to embrace our differences.”

Mengwen writes:

Other interviewees agreed: Mathew Luce, who was adopted from Indonesia and lives on Roosevelt Island, doesn’t take insults or ignorant comments to heart. “I’m proud that I’m Asian, and I’m proud that sometimes I act white,” he told Ms. Cao. “It’s just me. That’s how I grew up.”

See link for audio recording.

The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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