At the time of decolonization and when the New Left was born in the 1960s and 1970s, the desire to live with and become the Other was transformed into an antiracist discourse, then later on morphed into the loosely defined world of New Age. The American author Jack Kerouac, who sometimes claimed that he had Native American blood, wrote in his classic novel On the Road that, “I wished I was a Negro, a Mexican, or even a Jap, anything but a white man disillusioned by the best in his own ‘white’ world.”
In a similar manner, Jim Morrison, the singer of the rock music group The Doors, boasted that he was connected to the North American continent by the way of his psychic contact with a Native American shaman.
Among the numerous examples from the same period reflecting this desire to live with, grow up with, and get taught by the Other are all the books written by New Age authors like Marlo Morgan and Olga Kharitidi, telling about their encounters with Native Americans, Aboriginals and Siberians, movie titles like The Last Samurai (2003) and Avatar (2009), and television shows like BBC’s Tribal Wives (2008) and Swedish Television’s Den Stora Resan (2009). Also, the literary genre of white women who marry and procreate with non-white men, such as I Married a Korean (1953), Not Without My Daughter (1987) and The White Masai (1998)[…]
Last but not least, the whole repertoire of subcultural phenomena, white youth and white adults who dress up and act like African Americans or East Asians, and the numerous individuals and companies that offer so-called “Oriental” quasi-spirituality, as well as associations like the Sioux Indian Club Sweden whose members dress up and roleplay as Native Americans.
[…]Canadian scholar Terry Goldie writes in Fear and Temptation: The image of the Indigène in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Literatures that representations of the native “savage” oscillated between an abject nausea and a will to exterminate, to fetishistic desires and wish to create family ties to “it.” This reflects the white European colonizer’s more or less permanent attachment problem to the world outside Europe, the fear and hostility of being in the presence of non-Europeans, and the almost eternal need to wanting to become the Other, which results in ambivalent attitudes towards the natives, who are sometimes demonized and sometimes romanticized.
In the contemporary era, transracial adoption thus exclusively signifies the adoption of children of color to white Westerners on both international and domestic levels.
- Tobias Hubinette,“Transracial Adoption, White Cosmopolitanism, and the Fantasy of the Global family”