ABC Pushes View Whites Should Not Adopt Black Children

On the Wednesday, March 3, World News on ABC, inspired by current efforts to adopt orphans in Haiti, correspondent Ron Claiborne filed a report promoting the view that black children may be harmed psychologically from being adopted and raised by white parents. Claiborne focused on the case of black filmmaker Phil Bertelsen who complains that "he and other black adoptees tell a similar tale, of feeling estranged, cut off from their own racial identity and culture."

Ironically, on the Monday, March 8, The View on ABC, as the group discussed the film The Blind Side which features a white family taking in a black teen, co-host Barbara Walters complained about those who criticize interracial adoption as the more left-leaning Joy Behar and guest co-host and actress Vanessa Williams complained that the film portrayed white parents as being the answer to social problems of troubled black kids.

On the March 3, World News, after recounting that black social workers used to "condemn" interracial adoptions as "cultural genocide," Claiborne passed on that, although that view has softened up, there are still those with concerns:

GLORIA BATISTE ROBERTS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK SOCIAL WORKERS: Children deserve the right to be with people who look like them, who can understand what they are going through, understand their culture.

CLAIBORNE: At the Spence Chapin Adoption Agency, counselors urge white parents adopting a black child to integrate their lives, even if it means moving to a racially diverse neighborhood.

RITA TADDONIO, SPENCE-CHAPIN ARC: If you look around your table and your guests are all of the same color, then you shouldn't be adopting a child of a different color.

After briefly giving voice to a white couple who adopted two black children whoto defend their point of view, Claiborne again summarized the views of interracial adoption critics: "Not wrong, say some of those who grew up black in a white family, just not easy."

On the March 8 The View, during a discussion of the Academy Awards and the film The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock, guest co-host Williams complained: "It brings up a theme for black folks that, okay, here's another white family that has saved the day in terms of another black story that has to have a white person come in and lift them up. And I'm not saying that it's not true and it didn't happen, but it's one of those, do I really want to see the same theme again?"

Walters defended the willingness of couples to reach out to children of different races: "I have to disagree with you. Yes, it is a true story, but I would hope that we would get to the day where the fact that a black family could adopt a white – or that a white family could adopt a homeless black child and it would not be applauded by all the races, I think to say, ‘Oh, it's one more white people helping.’ It was a wonderful story, and it was a story of closeness between two races."

Behar soon jumped in and seemed to agree with Williams. Behar: "But the issue with [The Blind Side] is that it gives the false impression that the problem of poverty and homelessness can be solved by the largesse of some liberal good family ... Liberal meaning, I wasn't referring to liberal as the party. I was referring to liberal as an open-minded and loving gesture. ... But I believe that that does not address the systemic differences in the races, in homelessness, in poverty in the country. And it puts a band-aid on the situation, and it's lauded as a solution to the issue, and it's not."

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Wednesday, March 3, World News on ABC, followed by the Monday, March 8, The View, on ABC:

#From the Wednesday, March 3, World News on ABC:

DIANE SAWYER, IN OPENING TEASER: Race and reality: What really happens to a black child adopted by an all-white family?

...

SAWYER, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: And still ahead on World News, we probe new questions about adoption and race: Should a black child be raised in an all-white family?

...

SAWYER: Tonight, provocative questions about black and white and adoption, raised again by all those adoptions of Haitian children after the earthquake. A lot of people of both races have been asking, are we sure what's really best for the child? Here's Ron Claiborne.

RON CLAIBORNE: They are images of joy, images of happy endings amid so much tragedy. In January, Duke and Lisa Scoppa adopted two Haitian orphans – four-year-old Erickson and six-month-old Therline.

LISA SCOPPA, MOTHER: I just always felt like it would be a really enriching experience for us and for everybody involved, really.

CLAIBORNE: For these children, it is certainly a better life, materially, and a chance to grow up in a loving family. But many black children who were adopted by white parents say there's another side to the story.

PHIL BERTELSEN, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: I didn't feel like I was seen or understood.

CLAIBORNE: Phil Bertelsen was four when he was adopted. He and other black adoptees tell a similar tale, of feeling estranged, cut off from their own racial identity and culture.

BERTELSEN: It creates a lonely feeling.

CLAIBORNE: Bertelsen made a documentary about adoption and race, and the issues of identity that he himself is still grappling with.

BERTELSEN: Ultimately, I am a part of your family. I use my name with pride. But I am also an African-American man in your family. And, you know, you have to see me as that.

MOTHER OF PHIL BERTELSEN: Maybe we were naive, Phillip.

BERTELSEN: I found a moment to say what I had always wanted to say.

CLAIBORNE: Which was?

BERTELSEN: Which was, "See me. This is who I am."

CLAIBORNE: For years, trans-racial adoptions like Phil's were rare after the National Black Social Workers Association condemned them as "cultural genocide." The group has softened its position somewhat.

GLORIA BATISTE ROBERTS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK SOCIAL

WORKERS: Children deserve the right to be with people who look like them, who can understand what they are going through, understand their culture.

CLAIBORNE: At the Spence Chapin Adoption Agency, counselors urge white parents adopting a black child to integrate their lives, even if it means moving to a racially diverse neighborhood.

RITA TADDONIO, SPENCE-CHAPIN ARC: If you look around your table and your guests are all of the same color, then you shouldn't be adopting a child of a different color.

CLAIBORNE: The Scoppas do not apologize for adopting black children.

DUKE SCOPPA, FATHER: If there are no black families that want to adopt them, and we want to adopt them and make them part of our lives and give them as much love as possible, then I don't know why that's so wrong.

CLAIBORNE: Not wrong, say some of those who grew up black in a white family, just not easy. Ron Claiborne, ABC News, New York.

SAWYER: And let us know what you think. We want to hear what you have to say.

#From the Monday, March 8, The View on ABC:

VANESSA WILLIAMS: And I have to be honest, the one thing about it – I’m sure I have a, I know it’s based on a true story, she won an Academy Award, I’m sure she did a brilliant performance – but it brings up a theme for black folks that, okay, here’s another white family that has saved the day in terms of another black story that has to have a white person come in and lift them up.

JOY BEHAR: Right.

WILLIAMS: And I’m not saying that it’s not true and it didn’t happen, but it’s one of those, do I really want to see the same theme again? You know, Finding Forrester-

BARBARA WALTERS: I’m not sure when you said, I have to disagree with you. Yes, it is a true story, but I would hope that we would get to the day where the fact that a black family could adopt a white – or that a white family could adopt a homeless black child and it would not be applauded by all the races, I think to say, "Oh, it’s one more white people helping." It was a wonderful story, and it was a story of closeness between two races, so I don’t agree with (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

WILLIAMS: I’m just telling you what people have said.

WALTERS: One of the other things that people objected to was that Precious was a bad depiction of black people, and we asked Monique about that because that had been a criticism. And she said it could happen in white and black families.

BEHAR: Lee Daniels, the director, said that it was produced, I believe, in London, with a white cast, so, obviously, but the issue with Blind Sided (The Blind Side) is that it gives the false impression that the problem of poverty and homelessness can be solved by the largesse of some liberal good family which basically does not, does not attack-

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: It wasn’t a liberal family. It was actually a Republican family.

BEHAR: Okay, Republican family.

HASSELBECK: Not that it matters, I’m not going to fact check there.

BEHAR: Liberal meaning, I wasn’t referring to liberal as the party. I was referring to liberal as an open-minded and loving gesture. ... But I believe that that does not address the systemic differences in the races, in homelessness, in poverty in the country. And it puts a band-aid on the situation, and it’s lauded as a solution to the issue, and it’s not.

...

WALTERS: This was not saying this is how, everybody should go out and adopt a homeless white child or a homeless black – it was not a documentary, it was one story of reconciliation and love.

HASSELBECK: And it actually shed light, if you read the book, which, okay, Tim read the book and we’ve been picking his brain about this since this subject has come up many times, and I think that he said he remembers in reading it that it was, it did shed light on the fact that it was the foster system that failed Michael Oher, it was the Memphis school system that failed him. So, in some ways, it actually was a call to action in showing, like, look, these systems which are supposed to help kids like a Michael Oher left to his mother who is dealing with drugs and other children and homelessness, regardless of race, this system is failing kids, and so I think it did shed light on that.

WALTERS: And the other black young people – whatever, they weren’t, they were sort of – were tearing his life apart and picking on him, it wasn’t the whites, it was, anyway, it’s interesting that you had both of these movies that have made-

BEHAR: Stirred up a lot of issues. ... It starts the conversation which we sorely need.