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GVSU professor speaks about experience as Asian adoptee, stopping Asian hate

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Posted at 8:30 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 20:30:40-04

ALLENDALE, Mich. — GVSU Associate Professor Dr. Kim McKee was recently quoted in the L.A. Times in a story about the negative experiences that Asian adoptees have faced in America.

Dr. McKee, who specializes in Critical Adoption Studies and Asian American Studies at GVSU, spoke with FOX 17 about her interview, the hate she has faced and how West Michiganders have been protesting to stop Asian hate in this country.

After the tragic shootings in Atlanta that killed six Asian woman, Dr. McKee was one of many adoptees who was approached for the story.

"After the tragedy that was happened in Atlanta, various folks within the Asian American Studies community were contacted by different news outlets," Dr. McKee said. "I myself ended up talking with a reporter from NPR Morning Edition and then adopted friend of mine also passed along contact information from the L.A. Times reporter looking to chat with adoptees about what happened."

Adopted from South Korea when she was an infant, Dr. McKee preached the value of rehashing your lived experiences in order to help others learn more about the hate that often goes unseen.

"I think what's important when we are having these kinds of conversations about a particular subgroup within a larger community, that we not only take the time to really understand the history of that particular subgroup, but also are able to sort of see how that fits in within, in this case, broader Asian American history," Dr. McKee said.

Dr. McKee reiterated that both racism and misogyny have likely played a role in these recent acts of violence against Asian woman.

"One of the things that I think a lot of folks don't realize is that how so many Asian American women and Asian women have experienced examples of different kinds of racialized misogyny," Dr. McKee said. "And because of that, what happened in Atlanta really resonated with so many women, because we've all could reflect on an incident that happened in our own lives. And for adoptees in particular, it was difficult because sometimes we, I think, lack sometimes the language to have these kinds of conversations about what happened, and how what happened is a form of racism and sexism."

Dr. McKee was encouraged to see many West Michiganders show their support at the Stop Asian Hate rallies that occurred last month.

"I always think that when communities can be called to action, we're going to start seeing systemic change happen. And moving forward, I think we also need to be considering how anti-Asian violence is part of larger forms of systemic inequities," Dr. McKee said. "So as folks are being moved, to really engage and reflect on what's happening, both within the Grand Rapids community as well as nationally...I also encourage them to get involved in other kinds of adoptee organizations that are also having these conversations specific to how adoptees are experiencing what's going on."

Dr. McKee's 2019 book, Disrupting Kinship: Transnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States (University of Illinois Press), which according to Dr. McKee looks at "the development of the transnational adoption industrial complex, the neocolonial multimillion-dollar industry that commodifies children's bodies," can be found anywhere books are sold.

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