Stories Matter: Contextualizing the Black German American Adoptee Experience(s)
The aim of Chapter 9 is to bring into focus the complex mosaic of historical, political, and social systems within which the post-World War II cohort of dual-heritage German African American adoptees have negotiated their individual identities. As a member of this subject group, an adoption scholar, and the founding president of the Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA), for nearly two decades the writer has represented the interests of the Black German American adoptees to a multidisciplinary, international public. No ethnography is available yet, and life narratives from adult adoptees are just beginning to appear in multidisciplinary scholarly discourses. A collective experience situates this adoptive cohort both apart from and within the context of a broader transnational/transracial adoption experience. Exploration of their collective experiences and concerns will contribute to a more nuanced look at the constructs of race, nation, and culture—key topics in the intersectional discourses in Childhood, Adoption, Migration, and Black German Studies. Black German adoptees indeed share a sociopolitical history that is specific to their cohort, along with the ubiquitous emotional challenges inherent in transnational adoption. There is, however, no overarching narrative or monolithic Black German American adoption experience. The chapter proposes a view that Black Germans are also transracial adoptees, since many comment that as foreign-born, biracial children coming of age in 1960s’ America, they experienced race and racism differently in the United States than did their African American generational peers. Adoptee testimonies suggest this difference impacts identity and one’s sense of cultural belonging.
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