Saturday, December 12, 2009

Left and Right for Immigrants and adoption

New Jersey Church Works with U.S. to Spare Detention, from the New York Times mentions how immigration isn't a divisive left versus right issue. As the article illustrates, the clergy have largely been supportive of immigrants and sympathetic to our plight. This is only logical as all religions teach compassion and advocate for justice. This is where the conservative religious institutions and the progressives meet. The exact interpretations and actions often diverge, but on this issue there's surprising agreement between the usually contentious groups. Other examples of times that people of such a breadth of beliefs came together are the fight to end slavery, segregation, apartheid, and adoption.

White Urban Liberal Yuppies (WULY is a term I coined and suggested for Urban Dictionary. What do you think about it?) and the Christian Right want to save children. The former from living a life of poverty, toil, and exploitation. The latter from heathens and eternal damnation. Both see their motives as selfless, righteous, and justified. Although I welcome the allies, I question their real reasons.

The Christians who work with immigrants may or may not actively proselytize to those they're helping,, but  it's interesting that the immigrant communities here are far more Christian than their countries of origin. Korea is about fifty percent Christian but the Korean American community is between 80%-90% Christian. China barely registers Christianity among its population yet here significant Chinese Church communities exist. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation yet the article is about Christian Indonesians. Adopting children because their birth families and countries aren't Christian enough creates a justification for separating children from their families instead of advocating for reforms that could keep families together. It stifles discussions about family planning, support for single mothers, social safety networks for poor families and, indigenous solutions. It even judges native institutions as inadequate because they're measured against First World norms such as nuclear families and material measures.

WULY people also think that they're doing "what's best for the children". They see children who will not have a chance at an education and want to provide them with that. They see children who will have to go to work at an earlier age than they did and think that it's terrible. They will want to save "just one child" from a horrible life or an early death. What they don't really acknowledge is that they're creating a system that caters to their consumerism. Everything they want, the can buy. Just as the only reason that prostitution exists is because there are customers, the adoption industry, not orphaned children, exists because there are First Worlders who will pay for kids. And the argument about "saving one child" and "making a difference for one child" also doesn't stand up to scrutiny. When a system is bad, we should work to abolish the system. Helping individual slaves escape might have helped individuals, but if they were recaptured, they'd be sent right back south. Ending slavery, not the Underground Railroad, removed a race from bondage.

Liberals also advocate for immigration reform because They should have a better life. They have been wronged by US foreign policy.  They have great restaurants and beautiful cultures. They're poor, ignorant and noble. They don't know how to advocate for themselves. They're oppressed by the system. We should help Them.

Both the Right and Left think they're doing the right thing for "orphans" and immigrants but I'm wary of people with such motives yet we need allies. They have so much more power than we do. How can such differences be reconciled?

1 comment:

  1. '"WULY people also think that they're doing "what's best for the children".'

    WULY here.

    I think you're being too generous - I think WULYs adopt primarily to have kids, and the "benefits" you mention come along with in the process. I think the consumerism is far more overt here. I wonder if that may be why it's hard to get a WULY legislators to acknowledge the ethical problems with intercountry adoption or closed records right here at home.