All White

I still remember the beggar girl craning her neck as the couple walked down the road, foreign tourists with straw hats, fair with golden hair. There was a girl with them. A girl as dark as the urchin. A girl who looked like an add-on, who did not seem to belong. Both girls were turning to look at each other, their eyes widening. One had her hand clutching at her adoptive mother’s dress; the other’s had been outstretched a while ago hoping for coins to drop in it.

This was at least ten years ago and the eyes of those kids still haunt me. It can be a story of hope for one, but it isn’t always.

It is not surprising that whites choose to adopt non-black children. This is the reality of choice, not the celebrity market that flaunts different colours.

The data was collected over a period of five years from a website by an adoption agency by a team from the California Institute of Technology, the London School of Economics and New York University.

It showed that non-Blacks were seven times more likely to be chosen over Black kids. It is easy to term this racism, but think about ordinary middle-class homes in the suburbs. If the kids look different they would be ostracised. There is likely to be a bias, but the bias is driven by a need to protect the status quo as well as the social dynamics within which such families operate. Would black parents opt for white kids? The question is not even addressed and is all the more revealing.

The elite can go scouting for babies in Africa, Korea, Vietnam, India because they live a different life. Besides, at one level it would appear that they are doing a good deed and get imbued with such legitimacy that is politically correct. Ever wondered why they do not adopt black kids in their country?

Middle class couples who have to furnish all sorts of papers to show they are capable of looking after the child will not have it so easy. Therefore, they want someone like them.

The study also revealed that girls were preferred to boys even by gays and lesbians. I think that despite the need to bond, there is always the feeling that the child is not genetically the same. The inheritance of name and perpetuity seems to rest on the male and perhaps the parents are a bit reluctant to let an outsider have that privilege.

Gay men might just be more comfortable bringing up a girl to avoid any questions about impropriety and lesbians would quite likely think along feministic lines as also avoidance of the male principle in their scheme.

One could judge the biases harshly but individuals in general choose what is non-threatening and they think mirrors them.

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