Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pragmatism Trumps Racism In The Adoption Process

“It’s important to me that my child looks like us.” As soon as I said it I thought we’d be thrown out of there. It smacks of intolerance and that subtle New England brand of racism. We love the race but hate that ethnic family that lives down the street and cooks strange food. Ok, we like the food but that family is sooo “not our kind, dear.” Imagine my surprise when I learned that there is one institution that formally accepts racism. In fact they demand a level of honesty that is hard for the politically correct modern American to admit to.

Being a white male it’s absolutely forbidden for me to talk about race, as if my perspective is some how marginalized. Decades of institutionalized “reverse racism” to make up for past injustice still has “white privilege” to blame for our societies failure to lift the standard of living for the minority community. I am to apologize for my fortunate birth. So OK I’m sorry. I’m not sure what I’m sorry for but I sure am sorry about it.

I make my living judging children on the merits of their scholarship. I’ve only taught at schools which are predominantly white. I’ve seen kids that are lazy and kids that are driven. I haven’t seen too many minority students but I can say that of the few I’ve taught, they’re exactly the same as the majority. Some work hard, some don’t.

Maybe the kids at the privileged schools have more opportunity and I’m seeing the minority students take advantage of opportunities they wouldn’t have in less affluent communities. The most recent data from federal testing suggests that minority communities still offer less opportunity.

Obviously we need more leveling. Despite electing a black president we still aren’t out of the woods in terms of racial equality. There are pockets here and there where we’re beginning to mix. The Echo Generation is very color blind when it comes to choosing their friends. Much more so than my own. It’s much less shocking to see mixed race couples and it doesn’t take quota laws to get children to play together. They just do.

Still there is an inequality between the races in this country. One that still needs coercion to rectify. I don’t think we should think about relaxing anti-discrimination laws for a while. This is were the shock hits. As demonized as discrimination has become in the public arena, that it exists in the private arena can not be ignored. Rather than punish racism, the adoption process acknowledges it and tolerates what some consider racist views. Racial discomfort is forgiven. The alternative is to either drive away otherwise wonderful parents or start a childs life with a family who were so wanting to be parents they denied their basic human nature. That can’t be good for a child.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Harriet said...

Dean,

In England now after years of trying adoptions of colored children by white parents, they now insist on ONLY placing children with parents of the same race. If the child is mixed race, e.g. Indian and white, the child goes to a couple with one Indian and one white (and there seem to be a lot more mixed couples in England, luckily). I don't know the whole background to this but I think that they found that putting children with parents who are clearly of a different race to the child ended up being bad for the children. It must make for fewer choices of families for each child, but I assume that they do this for some very good reason that we don't even understand, in the child's interest which always has to come first...

Good luck, I look forward to the eventual happy ending of this parenting story. Harriet XX

Jul 19, 2009, 1:22:00 PM  
Blogger viperfish said...

another area where racism seems to be accepted as nomal is in the world of dating and dating sites, it seems perfectly acceptable to require mates to be of a specific race....

Apr 12, 2010, 5:28:00 PM  

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