Facing the Challenges of Asian American Boys and Men with Glenn Morey - Ep 95
Release Date: 05/29/2023
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In this episode, filmmaker and adoptee Glenn Morey discusses the painful experiences and anger felt by Asian American adoptees like him. In this thought-provoking podcast episode, he delves into the realities of growing up in a homogeneously white environment and the damaging effects of negative media portrayals of Asian boys and men.
If you are the adoptive or foster parent of an Asian child, do you want to help them develop a strong sense of identity and community? Glenn Morey has the solution to empower Asian adoptees through fostering supportive networks and building a sense of belonging.
📆 Community Calendar: UnravelingAdoption.com/Calendar
💌Sign up for our Unraveling Adoption email list: http://eepurl.com/hVIAVX
In this episode, you will be able to:
Delve into the critical importance of adoptee voices when exploring Korean adoption history.
Examine the complexities of identity development for Asian adoptees within white communities.
Acknowledge the harmful effects of negative stereotypes on the well-being of Asian American boys and men.
Embrace the essential role of transracial adoptive parents in fostering their child's sense of identity.
Appreciate the power of community and shared experiences in strengthening Asian American adoptees' identity.
My special guest is Glenn Morey
Glenn is a passionate filmmaker and Korean adoptee from Denver who, in his retirement, has made it his life's work to bring the stories of adoptees to the forefront. Together with his wife Julie, Glenn has created the impactful film project, Side by Side, which features the heartfelt stories of 100 Korean adoptees from around the world. Glenn's own experience as an interracial adoptee has given him a unique perspective on the challenges and triumphs faced by Asian American boys and men, making his work truly invaluable.
The resources mentioned in this episode are:
Visit the Side By Side Project website to watch all 100 Korean adoptee stories in their entirety: sidebysideproject.com
Check out the nine stories in the 38 Minutes compilation or the ten different thematic montages on topics such as seeking identity, motherland, and aging out of the Korean orphanages: https://sidebysideproject.com/11-short-films
Listen to 15 of the stories in an Audible original compilation titled Given Away: https://www.audible.com/pd/Given-Away-Audiobook/B08KWRMHTZ?asin=B08KWRMHTZ&source_code=AUDOR2221105209T9J
Here’s the YouTube recording of a discussion with therapists who viewed the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYpBMrXZcio&t=72s
Transracial adoptive families can attend PACT Camp: https://pactadopt.org/pact-camp/
Here are the two books Glenn recommended:
APtitude Support Group for Adoptive Parents Facing Adoption’s Challenges: UnravelingAdoption.com/APtitude
Other Parents Like Me - https://www.facebook.com/other.parents.like.me
Heather Ross - Life Coaching for Parents of Addicted Teens: https://heatherrosscoaching.com/
Find a Tele-Therapist: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/online-counseling
Unraveling Adoption is produced and hosted by Beth Syverson
Music written and performed by Joseph Nakao
Email questions or comments to [email protected]
Growing up Asian in a Homogeneously White Community
The experience of growing up as an Asian adoptee in predominantly white areas can lead to feelings of isolation and a struggle to develop a sense of identity. Adoptees often face challenges in connecting with their racial and cultural background and may feel like they don't quite fit into either world. This sense of displacement can have lasting consequences for their personal and social development. Finding ways to expose adoptees to their native culture and building connections with others from similar backgrounds can be essential to promoting a strong sense of self and fostering understanding between adoptees, their families, and the broader community. In this podcast, Glenn Morey shares his personal journey growing up as a Korean adoptee in a white community. He particularly emphasizes the importance of connecting with other people who share a similar background, as this helped him to embrace his heritage and feel more at ease with his identity. Many of the adoptees interviewed for the Side by Side project also expressed similar feelings of displacement and isolation, showing that this is a common issue faced by many Asian adoptees. By creating opportunities for connections to grow and supports to be put in place, it can help adoptees develop a greater sense of belonging and connection to their roots.
Model Minority Myth and Individual Needs
The model minority myth perpetuates stereotypes about Asian Americans as a monolithic group that materially succeeds in overcoming adversity. This misconception disregards the individual needs and challenges faced by adoptees and other Asian Americans. However, each person's experiences are unique, and the expectations put upon them by society may hinder their ability to find personal success and contentment. Recognizing and addressing the wide range of experiences and emotions among Asian American adoptees can help break through the model minority myth and promote a more compassionate understanding of their lives. During the podcast, Glenn Morey and Beth Syverson examine the impact that stereotypes such as the model minority myth have on adopted Asian American individuals. They discuss the challenges faced by adoptive parents supporting their children's unique needs and emphasize the importance of education and understanding around these often complex issues. Through conversations like these and the continued sharing of experiences, adoptees and those supporting them can work together to counteract this flawed narrative and create a more informed, empathetic, and supportive environment for everyone involved.
Timestamped summary of this episode:
00:00:00 - Introduction,
The host introduces Glenn Morey, an interracial adoptee from Korea who created the Side by Side film project, an online installation of 100 Korean adoptee stories.
00:01:00 - Emotional Stories of the Adoptees,
Glenn talks about how nearly every adoptee he spoke to during the filming of the project eventually talked about their adoption experiences and feelings in painful terms, even if their journey had been positive.
00:06:43 - Becoming a Filmmaker,
Glenn talks about his career in filmmaking and how he retired in 2012, giving him the opportunity to focus on the Side by Side project.
00:09:09 - Impact of the Film,
Glenn talks about how the film gave many of the adoptees a chance to have catharsis and divulge information they had not expected to share. Many of the adoptees had told very little of their story to their family, partners, or loved ones.
00:12:00 - Aging Out of Korean Orphanages,
Glenn talks about how difficult it was to find people willing to tell the aging-out story. He emphasizes that the stories are important for adoptees to fill in the blanks of what would have happened had they stayed in Korea. The stories are difficult but educational.
00:15:12 - Growing up Asian in a Homogeneously White Community,
Glenn talks about growing up in Littleton, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, which was almost entirely white. He shares how adoptees try to live as if their adoption and race don't matter, but being in a homogeneously white community presents challenges that are hard to ignore.
00:19:50 - The Effects of Negative Portrayal in Media,
Glenn discusses how Asian men have been portrayed negatively in the media for a long time, making it hard for them to be seen positively or as potential romantic partners. He argues that these portrayals contribute to Asian adoptee's difficulty in seeing themselves positively when they look in the mirror.
00:23:14 - The Anger of Asian American Men,
Glenn shares an interview quote from actor John Cho, who says Asian American men walk around with clenched fists, ready to fight because people have been treating them poorly all their lives. Glenn believes adoptive parents must understand this anger and support their child's identity development.
00:27:03 - Coping with Being Asian American,
Glenn encourages adoptive parents to do more than heritage camps to help their child thrive as an Asian American in America. He believes acknowledging and discussing the challenges of growing up as a child of color in a homogeneously white community is crucial for healthy identity development and successful adulthood.
00:31:31 - Importance of Community for Adoptees,
Beth shares how attending a school with predominantly Asian students helped her son feel like he belonged -- and this school was only ten miles away. Glenn and Beth stress the importance of finding a community for adoptees where they don't feel like they're the only one.
00:33:42 - Finding Strength in Community,
As an adult adoptee, Glenn found strength in his family, the adoptee community, and the Asian American community. He believes that it takes the love and support of other people to fight shame, isolation, and alienation.
00:35:04 - Resources for Adoptive Parents,
Glenn recommends PACT Camp as an organization for parents and families in transracial adoption. He believes that adoptive parents need to get a better grasp on how race affects people and that it's a life and death situation for adoptees.
00:37:02 - Model Minority Myth and Individual Needs,
Glenn highlights the issue with the model minority myth and how it's not helpful to assume that Asians are doing fine. He emphasizes that every individual needs to be met where they are, and it's not a competition from one race to another.
00:40:25 - Takeaway Messages,
Glenn stresses the importance of finding a community for adoptees, finding strength in community, and for adoptive parents to get a better grasp on how race affects their interracially adopted kids. He hopes that this conversation will help Asian American men and boys and other people of color.