Drawing on bell hooks’ classic essay Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance
, this article discusses ethnic consumption fantasies of white Swedish international adopters. The article uses deconstructive narrative analysis techniques to explore racial desires concealed and revealed in adopters’ descriptions of international transracial adoptee bodies in published Swedish adoption texts. Taking the use of food race metaphors (for example, almond eyes, chocolate skin) as a “positive” means of describing race differences in a supposedly post-race, colour-blind discourse as a starting point, the article discusses how ethnic consumption desires are reflective of white adopter fantasies of becoming something more than white Swedish, and even a bit “Other” themselves. The symbolic consumption of both the adoptee and the first mother enable the adopter to imagine internalising a spirit of primordial Otherness, which can fundamentally change them and enable them to step outside the confines of Swedish whiteness. It also gives them a claim to a connection with the adoptee that goes beyond biology. While the desire to consume the adoptee-Other body is imagined as progressive and anti-racist, this paper argues that such fantasies are dependent on maintaining and reinforcing the status quo of the white supremacist patriarchal structures that enable international adoption in the first place.
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