I was orginally planning to post this blurb about Brad Pitt endorsing a line of hair care products by a company owned by a black woman
in a humorous manner. I can usually pick a black or bi-racial child who has a white mother out of a crowd because of the state and appearance of the child's hair and skin. I somehow once ended up on this topic with a white co-worker whose sister adopted a black girl (in lily white Iowa no less) and when I mentioned the hair thing, she was like "she just brushes it down." Uh, that's a problem. Depending on the texture of that child's hair, there is no way brushing "it down" will leave that girl looking anywhere close to groomed. She didn't get it
but I warned her that in addition to being the constant object of curiosity by whites (which happens regardless of how the hair looks), she was most certainly going to get ridiculed by blacks (once she finally meets some) for not having her hair adequately combed and styled. It's not nice but it is true.
I'm glad that Brad and Angelina got some inside info on "black-person hair." That will be one less thing Zahara will have to endure as she grows up and gets out into the world. (I wonder if that is why he also called MTV and got the DVD of Run's House
? Does he think it will help him raise "black-person" children)?
But, while surfing a little later, I came across a link to this article by a Jewish woman
who adopted a daughter from India and I found it positively frightening. I almost thought it was a joke but it is every bit of why I think people need to be heavily screened, counseled and examined before being allowed to adopt a child - no matter what the race or nationality.
Back home, after a couple weeks had passed, I stared at Vaishali's naked bottom -- her darkest part -- and tried to ignore the insistent whispers of fear. Instead of brimming with pride, I felt like a trespasser, performing ablutions on this private flesh with color so foreign from my own. It was one thing to swoon over her photographs for months, but now she was in my home; she was my family. How could this be my daughter? I looked at her and tried to find similarities between us, relieved that her hair was straight, her lips not too full. Just thinking these thoughts made me feel horribly ashamed. I tried to sort emotion from fact: was it the dark color of her skin that was making me uncomfortable, or just that she did not look like me? I ached to talk to someone about it, but I was too afraid people would disapprove, would doubt my ability to be a loving mother.
She went to India and adopted a child of color for crying out loud! Why would there be a resemblance? She goes further:
I can't help but worry -- I'm a Jewish mother! -- and yet so far, our non-traditional family has been met with a surfeit of loving acceptance. My fears about disapproval from the Black community for adopting a dark-skin child seem laughable now. Before, riding the subway, I received no special response, but now, Black men and women offer me and Vaishali warm smiles; they give up their seats. Do people just, as a friend hypothesized, love babies? Maybe, but this never happened to me when I toted around my equally adorable niece, nephew and godson, all of them white as snow.
What kind of kook is this lady and why would random black people, or the black community at large, give a rat's ass about her and her Indian baby? Again, do they do mental evaluations of these people? She sounds like a neurotic dingbat and how she is going to raise a healthy child of color escapes me!
I am apprehensive but supportive of transracial adoptions. Children, regardless of race, need good homes. People who want children, as more than accessories or extentions of self, should adopt any kid for whom they think they can provide a good home. BUT, it's more than a notion to adopt a child of a different race if a) you haven't had much exposure to their culture or physical traits b) you are harboring your own biases for or against people outside of your culture. The kids are going to pay in the end.