"60 Minutes" strikes again. Earlier this month, the program broadcast a segment on international, "transracial" (black/white) adoptions involving American-born babies.
It turns out, according to "60 Minutes," a growing number of families living out of the country now adopt American black babies. As for the reason, "60 Minutes" interviewed Walter Gilbert, CEO of The Open Door, a private adoption agency. Gilbert's agency has placed more than 200 American children in British Columbia. Many of these kids are black and are matched with white Canadian parents. Why? "Especially in Canada," Gilbert says, "people are just color-blind.... We would tend to tell them [birth mothers] that our experience has been there's less prejudice. They know what they experience here."
Never mind that our unemployment rate is 5.2 percent versus Canada's 7.0 percent, or the Canadian GDP per capita is $29,700 versus our $37,800. It's better up there.
But wait, the "60 Minutes" piece grew even more baffling. Correspondent Lesley Stahl never even suggested another big reason why adoption agencies might look outside of America for parents to adopt black children. For decades, the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) and others called transracial adoptions "cultural genocide." In 1992, the NABSW issued a paper condemning "transracial" black-white adoptions between Americans, warning against "transculturation . . . when one dominant culture overpowers and forces another culture to accept a foreign form of existence," and stated that "children need to be with those who are most familiar with their culture, heritage and family system." I attempted to determine whether NABSW still maintains its official status against "transracial adoptions," but as of final editing of this article, no one from the organization returned a phone call or e-mail.
Responding to the opposition of organizations like the NABSW, adoption agencies pulled back. After all, who could understand the dramatically different "culture" of blacks better than black social workers?
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