Should Black Children Only Be Adopted by Black Parents? Yes, They Must Be Taught Coping Techniques to Deal with Racist Practices

Article excerpt

The adoption of African-American children by families in the African-American community is important in raising healthy children and crucial to making the community a strong, positive force in this society.

My conclusions are based on my professional practice as a Child Protective Services supervisor for 29 years and my position as leader of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW), whose primary focus is the preservation of the African-American family.

African-American infants and children being adopted by non-African-American families is not in the best interest of the children because we live in a society where African-American people are ascribed an inferior status based solely on race. This attitude and thought process can be traced back to Africans brought to this country, legislated as three-fifths human, and considered as stock. Though legislation has attempted to erase some of this degradation, laws cannot change the hearts and souls of a people. For African-Americans, this reality is often a vicious, insidious, dehumanizing and degrading form of racism and oppression.

African-American children should be reared by African-American families because they must be taught from an early age highly sophisticated coping techniques in order to deal with racist practices. African-American children should not have to live in an environment where their hair texture is likened to a "scouring pad" or where their hair is cut off because the parents don't know how to care for it; or they have an ashy appearance because the parents don't understand the nature of Black skin.

Singled out for its position on transracial adoption 36 years ago, a position that has been distorted and misunderstood, NABSW has always maintained the importance of finding culturally grounded options for children of African ancestry before giving consideration to placing our children outside the community. The position was not based on racial hatred or bigotry. It was not an attack on parents of other racial backgrounds or the belief that White families could not love Black children. A former president of the group, the late Dr. Morris F.X. Jeff Jr., once said, "Love is not enough to give a child a sense of belonging, to hold him safe against the experiences of isolation and alienation, of feeling adrift without a sense of anchor in the world. Love is necessary, but it is not sufficient. …