You know, I had just finished watching The Help (2011), a movie about mass discrimination against black people during the civil rights movement. Thank god our world isn’t like that anymore, right? Well, then I decide to check the news only to see that there is a perfectly decent couple over in Berkshire who, in 2017, are not allowed to adopt a white baby. Because they are of ethnic minority.
The British-born couple, who are British, were born in Britain – just so we’re clear about that. But as far as Britain is concerned, if you have one drop of ethnicity you are not considered British. I love how this country pretends not to be racist until there’s a situation where minorities are asking for equal treatment, then suddenly the KKK hats come out.
But, just so we’re clear, this lovely couple don’t specifically want to adopt a white baby. They’re not racist or weird. They don’t care what color their future child is. They just want to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet in their currently silent and empty five-bedroom home. They just want to wake up to a bundle of joy bouncing up-and-down on their bed in the morning. And fall asleep with an innocent, warm, little body wrapped snugly in their loving arms. They just want to be parents.
But they are denied this opportunity because their local council only has white babies desperately in need of loving homes, and their council, like all councils in England, is allowed to “prioritize” white parents for these white children. Some people believe this attempt to ensure children grow up with their own race is beneficial to their development. Personally, I think it’s a harmful outlook. It’s separatism.
Around 87% of the UK population is white. I think these white kids will have plenty of opportunities to socialize with their own color, say at school perhaps? Or in the playground? In the stores, at the movies, at the dentist and the doctors, in the streets, at their friend’s parties? They’re not exactly going to be short of white people around them. It begs the question of what exactly the council thinks is going to happen to a white child raised by ethnic minority parents? God forbid, the child might grow up to believe in equality and inclusion. The child may grow up to believe a person’s skin color does not define who they are as a person any more than their hair or eye color.
The council says a child would benefit from exposure to their own “cultural” background. Now culture is a funny word and we must learn not to get “culture” mixed up with “race” as we so often do. Or to use “culture” as an excuse and cover for racism. Culture is not influenced by a person’s skin color. Culture is influenced by where you live, where you were born, your upbringing, where you go to school, what kind of job you have, who you hang with, who you idolize, which religion you practice, what football team you support, and many other random things which usually stem from chance. A white kid raised by white parents is not necessarily going to be exposed to the same “culture”. That’s not a guarantee.
The truth is, if a white person wants to adopt, they can adopt a baby of any color. They can have themselves a Chinese baby, a black baby, an Indian baby, an African baby, a Siberian baby… whatever they want! But, a person of ethnic minority is only allowed to adopt a child of ethnic minority. They are not allowed near the white babies. Because our society still has this view that white babies are pure and somehow “better” than other races; that a pure, white baby deserves nothing less than to be raised by equally pure, white parents.
You’d have thought we’d have moved on from the Pear-Soap-mentality of the nineteen-hundreds, but apparently not. Anyway, the couple are fighting this ruling. As they themselves state, it’s not just about them, it’s about all people who want to adopt children, and it’s also about the children themselves. Children are not born racist, they don’t judge people by the color of their skin. They just want to be loved. And these children in adoption centres across the country, they need to be loved, they need someone to have their back in life, someone to tell them everything’s gonna be alright, they need parents. It is us adults who teach children to be racist and we are the ones who have to change our ways. It won’t solve everything, but a good place to start is by letting ethnic minority couples adopt white babies.