In that particular story, Chuck, it was to keep her with her biracial half-sister, also adopted by the black woman in question.
Abby - No reading the text - that's cheating.

It's wrong because it's white slavery. You know those white babies are going to be scrubbing floors and stirring up big pitchers of grape kool-aid while some overly-opulent mother-overseer fans herself and remarks on how, "my, my, it sure is a moist heat today, my, my"

The natural children of the mother will ride the white baby like a pony, tiny saddle and all. It's cruelty! CRUELTY!
really? So anytime a white couple adopts a black baby, they're just trying to deliver them from poverty?

And here I thought interracial adoption was all about breaking down racial boundaries from both sides... how silly of me.
Maybe I'm misinformed, but I've always heard that there are far more African American infants up for adoption than there are African American families who can qualify to adopt them, and that the inverse is true with whites: demand from qualified parents vastly exceeds supply of healthy white babies. Consequently, until we live in a genuinely post-racial society -- which Charles has repeatedly asserted is basically an impossibility -- it makes sense for all African American families who qualify to adopt African American infants, and for some white families to do likewise, while all white infants go to white families (in order to avoid taking a spot that would otherwise be better suited to an African American infant).

I'm not going near the "pity" thing.
Isn't all of this old hat. Didn't Josephine Baker have this covered with the Rainbow Tribe decades ago?
Mr. Mudede what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Yes, but in the more general sense of the way these things signify, I think Charles has a point. If, say, Bill Cosby adopted a white kid, it would be hard not to see it that way. Like, he's so successful he doesn't have to worry about race anymore. Isn't that nice. Whereas if it were a regular, working class black person, it would seem a little confusing. The thinking might be, there must be a reason.

With Sandra Bullock, you don't need to ask that question. It seems obvious, and yes, it does seem... benevolent. Which is a problem, because her reasons might be a lot more complex than that, just like in the story pictured.

What people don't seem to understand when Charles talks about signs and signification is that he's talking about general ideas, the currents of thought that shape us, sell stories and movies to us, and yes, underlie prejudice. When you scratch beneath the surface, you almost always find more complexity, but the larger framework remains, and its changes come much more slowly.
BTW, I was responding to @1
Irena, thank you. really, thank you.
@ 5 - I agree

@ 8 with Sandra Bullock, isn't it sort of benovolence no matter what color baby she adopts? No matter what, that baby is going to be FAR richer than they would have been with their own parents or just about any other adoptive parents.
@8/9: but when you bring the particular details of the image in question to the discussion, it makes it a more interesting discussion, I feel. The issues become different. She was adopted by her mother so she could stay with her biological half-sister, the biological relative she had left. How does the fact of her mixed-race family play into the narrative of power and prestige?
You're welcome. I thought this was a great post.
If we agree whites have better economic advantages, wouldn't it make perfect sense for a black couple to adopt a white baby?
@12: True. But the child's ethnic background does make a difference. It is more newsworthy for SB to adopt a war orphan from Poland than a child from an American orphanage. A black child makes even more of a visual impact. People are fascinated.

@13: It's just a different way of thinking about it. I'm interested in the larger cultural forces at work, because they are a huge force that shapes us -- and because they do a lot of damage. They need to be examined. I don't know why we can't talk about them both. We need to talk about them both. But I think the main reason those larger impulsed are interesting here is because of that movie Bullock was in. Now her life mirrors the movie. And an awful lot of people go, Aw, isn't that nice. And others react in a completely cynical way. And the truth is somewhere in between.

I haven't read the story of the other family, but I think it's an interesting question as well.
Jesus fucking christ what a racist pile of shit. Ya, I agree that black people have been wildly oppressed, and that needs to be acknowledged. But to jump to those conclusions--adoptions being out of pity, or an attempt at a status symbol--just makes me squirm. There is a time and a place for being blind to skin color, and this is it.
I knew two different black families that had adopted white children. I never thought it was unusual or thought it was confusing until right now, but I'm mostly just confused that it's an issue.
The analysis of how something looks says less about the actual act of adoption and all of the complex and situationally-specific considerations involved in that adoption process, and more about the person doing the looking--in this case, Charles' particular prejudices and assumptions. And the illogical assumption that if a certain adoption can't be about prestige (which is specious to begin with) then it must be about pity is insultingly stupid and intellectually lazy.
@16: I'm more interested in the other family and how it fits into the general story. The CNN article didn't go into enough detail, instead it decided to focus on the white girl (surprise!). We hear mention of the sister, and of a black brother as well, but not a lot. Her sort of situation would be an interesting thread to follow in these kind of discussions. Whomever the sisters were adopted by, the other would be "left out."
The reality is that the culture of african americans DO NOT adopt. period. If any of you have experience working in the world of adoption, you know this. And african american and mixed race babies are the hardest to adopt out. Many white adoptive parents would prefer a drug addicted white baby than a healthy mixed race baby - this is a reality, folks. Which is why many are chosing to adopt white babies from Russia, it's quicker, easier and cheaper, although what we have not learned from the 'news' is that fetal alcohol syndrom is an epidemic in Russia - so these children are coming with their own set of issues. My friend who works in adoption is working very hard at challenging the culture to get more african americans to adopt but it's not easy. Anyone who is willing to adopt a child who is desperately in need of a loving family is doing a wonderful thing, despite the many ignorant opinions expressed here.
I sure am glad that adoption is realy about status and power. And here I thought it was because a couple wanted to share their love with a child.

Damn, I am one stupid fag!!
I'm on side with Irena on this. She articulated it so much better than I could. Thank you. There's a meta-narrative here ripe for closer scrutiny.

As to ddecounter, your button got pushed. Time to rewire your circuits so next time nothing happens when it's pressed again.
You are a fucking ignorant hack, pulling it out of your fantasy ass again.

You said "it is an act of kindness or pity and, in terms of appearance, a show of solidarity".

while there is something strange about these hollywood transracial adoptions, in truth, the vast majority of non foster care adoption of black kids by white families are because the parents just plain want a kid, or another kid, no pity or kindness involved, only a selfish desire to parent. You do a great diservice to those families by putting forward your assumptions with such certainty. And most of the from-foster care adoptions are because the foster parents fall in love with the kids, not falling into pity.

I swear, at least half the slog writers have access because they are outrageous trolls who can't stop themselves from saying stupid shit.

Awww, what's the use? sheeesh
Ok, I overstated a little. You are "acting like" a fucking ignorant hack, pulling it of your fantasy ass again.
@19, 22, 24 -- One more time: These are not Charles' views as an individual. He's talking about how these issues are viewed in general. He's not bringing in his own assumptions, he's bringing in cultural assumptions. He's reading American culture. The point here is to take issue with the different messages our culture sends us: a movie about a white woman "saving" a black boy is a hit. Rich white women are celebrated by the media for adopting beautiful black babies and, what? Rescuing them from their downtrodden state? Why is it such a big deal? How does white guilt play into the cultural response? And why are people so blind to the idea of a white girl with a black family that when they see it, they assume she's been abducted? Because our culture doesn't know how to make sense of it.

The problem here is not what one individual thinks, it's how these issues are debated in American culture. Read the story. It's not about Charles.
I think Charles is trying to make a point about white colonialism and the reaction of seeing it in reverse.. He's just terrible at expressing it.

I don't take issue with some of the points you bring up. I do take issue with Charles' interpretations of what that means. The idea that a white woman adopting a black baby can not be about prestige don't ring true. Wasn't Madonna lambasted in the media during her attempts to adopt a son from Malawi? Because everyone thought she was just doing it for media exposure (aka a form of "prestige")?

Also, the assumption that if it's not prestige, then it must be about pity, is also a big generalization and a point Charles is making, not society. He's taking a very deeply personal process, bringing an individual into one's family, and taking the personal out of the equation to say it must be about one of two things--prestige or pity. There is no room for love in it, which is ridiculous.

I agree that it is important and thought-provoking to look at the issues that are brought up by the article and what that says about our society. I just think Charles' analysis of those issues (all of his last paragraph, basically) is ridiculous and facile. Unless he's trying to speak as some sort of "voice of society's viewpoint", in which case it is poorly written--it comes off as his own analysis and conclusions.
you know, a lot of people have 'mixed' backgrounds, asshole.

most people in the US have a 'white' and 'black' tag because they have family members from many backgrounds.

black / white? how about mixed?

look at their face and tell me what you think they are! I'm white but most people think i'm black because my ancestry is from the caribbean and southern europe. I'm not a racist asshole like you.

you can't tell from the picture, but both of those people have mixed backgrounds so why does it matter to you what their skin looks like?
Has no one brought up the fact that adoption is incredibly expensive, difficult, and often required a long, long wait? Wouldn't some people just choose to adopt the first baby that they can - regardless of race?

I find Charles charictarization of adoptive parents raising children for "prestige", "pity", or "belevolance" very disturbing. Does he think that all adoptive parents have some sort of sinister motive for adopting their children? It smacks of the kind of crazy retoric that the right spews about gay adoption. You are not helping anyone's cause here, Charles, philosphy or no.
charles, let's sit down at the next slog happy so i can tell you about my interracial family, and an insider's view of transracial adoption. you don't believe me? Ask Jen Graves. and this isn't america's view, Irena, it's Charles'. dan told him to write something controversial to get them page hits. follow the money!
@28: He doesn't say it's about one of two things. And he certainly doesn't make any claims about "one's family". He says, "Even if there are good reasons for adoption (which seems to be the case with the two people captured in the image), how can this picture or reading be avoided?"

I think people are taking this post way too personally. He's discussing this issue in an abstract way. Scary, you are a smart person, but I still say you're missing the point. This post has nothing to do with individual stories about interracial families. It's about images and discourse.

@30, you are taking this WAY too literally. Charles isn't advocating anything, and he's NOT doing the characterization. Our culture does that perfectly well. Look, Mittens points out that Madonna was lambasted for trying to adopt that boy from Malawi. To that I would maybe tweak Charles' last point by saying people read that as Madonna trying to gain prestige through the appearance of pity -- she appeared to be doing something benevolent, and she was accused of being hypocritical, of doing it to make herself look good. So yes, scary and singing cynic, this discourse of suspecting the motives of people who adopt IS a part of American culture. Do you see what I'm saying?
All of that said, I think it's really great to hear people challenging these views with stories that show the variety and complexity of individual experience. I just don't understand why Charles is the target. He's just the messenger.
only when the adopter is famous, irena. only when they're famous.
Yeah, scary, but it's the famous ones that everyone hears about. That's what I'm saying.
scary, I wish we could hash this out over drinks. So much easier that way.

Anyway, it's Friday, and I've got a pint waiting for me. Cheers!

Black don't formally adopt as the same rates at whites, but they do foster/adopt informally outside the courts and family services system. Just because it doesn't happen legally on paper does it mean it doesn't happen at all. Informal family support cares for more children than the state does. Children being cared for by relatives are much better off than the ones being shuffled around in foster care.…
Aren't there also a lot more black babies available for adoption than white ones? That would explain why it seems odd.
@16 I don't know about war orphans from Poland, but I know a couple who looked into adopting a war orphan from Croatia. They were told that they would get no say in which child they were given, and that child could be as young as an infant or as old as fifteen.

Adoption is complicated, and different countries have different rules. Maybe Ms. Bullock preferred the U.S. system.

It seems that Mr. Mudede's article attributes some things to race (or entirely to race) that are at least partially about wealth.

@30 I agree entirely. Not everything is about colonialism. Sometimes, the simplest or most immediate answer really is the right one.
no one's going to mention The Jerk?
Hm. Charles perhaps it is seen as more normal because when a white woman and a black man get together the baby is 'black'. I have not yet seen a black woman have a 'white' baby - maybe that is just less common.

I am talking biologically. Anyway - that is the way it worked with me!!
I can only imagine what people response would of been if it said asian not white children .-.
What a pile of racists all of you are!!! The bible tells us that God is not partial but the man who observes his commands is acceptable to him. So why do people get into a frenzy when a capable black person decides to adopt a white child and raise them with love and with all the good intentions? Why are white people so steepled in their superiority complexes? No one is better than the other because at the end of the day, whether you are white or black or brown, pink, green or blue, as humans we all sin and are imperfect.

So really we should all view each other without the colour spectacles. Skin deep, we are all flesh and blood. Therefore, if a black person can adopt a white child and manage to give that child a safe and decent life, then no one should say anything. A child needs love as the main key to a happy livelihood and if they can get that from a black person then I do not see where the problem is.
It's white people who have a problem, says I the black man. And the bigger problem among white people is abortion; there reason why there aren't many white Children on adoption is because millions of them were aborted 'safely' and were never given a chance to be born. Black people do not have acces to 'safe' baby murder aka abortion hence there are many black kids available for adoption
I agree with black man 100%.
@3 I would like to address the idiot that said its reverse slavery for a black woman to adopt a white baby. My son is white, and I'm black. I love him more than words can say. He is my little blessing because his WHITE, biological mother was a junky whore and is unable to take care of her children. You're ignorant.
This article and these comments are ALL DISTURBING!! I am offended, I am a black 19 year old female who plans to have children of my own and adopt one as well. I am currently in college and I am going to get my Master's for nursing, to say that blacks have limited resources or are not successful etc is pure IGNORANCE! It is almost racist of people to assume that because I am black that I should adopt a black, HELLO! IT IS 2014 PEOPLE! Furthermore, most of the small children I know living in poverty with crack heads as parents are in fact WHITE! There is NO hidden agenda behind a black adopting a white or Hispanic child. Also my family is very mixed, I have white and Hispanic cousins and they are not adopted. I'm assuming most of you people are against a black marrying a white as well!? 99% of the time my cousins bring home a white girlfriend, and guess what? We ALL embrace her, we don't give a flying fling what race she is! You people need to get over yourselves! I will kindly adopt my white child and she will be fortunate to have a loving family and a well privileged life!
All of these comments were interesting to read. My husband and I have been raising our foster son since his birth. His mother was addicted to drugs and did not seek proper prenatal care during the pregnancy, so of course the baby was born addicted. The also drug addicted biological father of our foster son was in jail for assault on his then pregnant girlfriend. They have a daughter who has been left alone for extended periods of time without food, in a filthy apartment without electricity. Our foster son on now 13 months old, happy and healthy. His parents will have their parental rights terminated soon because they don't care enough to change their lives. We plan to adopt this awesome little boy that deserves to be raised in a loving family no matter what their faces look like. He is white and our family is BLACK.
Some of you black people, and white hating white people need to go find a volcano and jump into it. A very SMALL percentage of White people adopt black children out of pity. if I adopted a black child, I wouldn't treat the child any different than my son. You closed minded old fashioned racist, reverse racists and closet racists need to pass away in a fire or something. Thank you KaiKaiLogic. I loved your comment.
When I think of a family adopting a child who doesn't have one, I think of love and giving from one human being to another...the comments here are disheartening and discouraging about where are society's priorities are.

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