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Madonna's adoption

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Mitchell Column: Madonna's adoption plays shamefully clear in black, white

October 26, 2006

BY MARY MITCHELL Sun-Times Columnist

I want to be happy about Madonna. I really do. But the truth is, I can't be happy about Madonna's decision to adopt a 13-month-old Malawian boy because it shames me, and I suspect that deep down inside, it shames the people who are making the most fuss about the adoption.

After all, how many of us knew a country called Malawi existed before this?

But Madonna's Raising Malawi charity funds six orphanages there and is setting up an orphanage that will care for 4,000 children near the country's capital.

I've traveled to Africa three times, and I haven't spent the amount of time with AIDS orphans that Madonna has spent.

Nor did I feel compelled to rescue a David Banda -- the birth name of the Malawian boy the singer intends to adopt -- from the harsh reality he was born into.

So I can't criticize someone else for wanting to take that child away from the disease and suffering that continues to claim so many of Africa's children.

Still, in turning to Africa to adopt a child, Madonna has opened the old wounds of slavery and colonialism.

That's what the fallout is really all about.

AIDS stigma still powerful
The allegation by human rights groups that the Malawian government allowed Madonna to flout that country's strict regulations governing adoption because of her celebrity status and wealth is merely a smoke screen.

Not even the well-to-do can afford to drop out of their lives for 18 months so they can adopt a child.

The groups might as well say it -- they don't want white foreigners to adopt African children.

Does anyone really believe that had Oprah Winfrey, an African American, gone to Malawi and wanted to adopt a child, she would have been required to live in the country for a year and a half?

Or that the media and human rights groups would have hounded her all the way back to America with ridiculous questions about her motives?

Madonna told Oprah via satellite TV that she was "stunned" by the negative publicity that greeted her when she returned home.

"I'm disappointed because, more than anything, it discourages other people from doing the same thing," she said. "I feel the media is doing a great disservice to all the orphans of Africa, period, not just the orphans of Malawi," she told Oprah.

The show's mostly white audience applauded.

And why wouldn't they?

To their way of thinking, before Madonna showed up, David was languishing under a slow death sentence.

The child has already survived tuberculosis and pneumonia. His 28-year-old mother, Marita Banda, died a week after his birth, and two siblings died in infancy from malaria -- according to published reports out of Malawi.

Although the reports claim the mother and children died of AIDS, the disease isn't mentioned in most reports prepared in Malawi, which goes to show that the stigma surrounding AIDS deaths in Africa is as strong as ever.

After his wife's death, David's father, Yohane Banda, left his son in an orphanage and went back to living out his hard life as a farmer. He was quoted initially in the media as wanting the adoption and blasting the human rights groups that were critical.

"I was alone with a baby. I had no money. I couldn't buy him milk. That's why I surrendered him to the orphanage," he said.

"Where were these people when David was struggling in the orphanage? These so-called human rights groups should leave my baby alone. As father, I have OK'd this. I have no problem. The village has no problem."

Now, however, Banda says he did not understand the adoption meant he would give up custody of his son for good, although he has not demanded that Madonna return the baby to the Malawian orphanage.

Need to save African children
It isn't surprising that Banda is trying to cover his shame.

In a perfect world, Madonna would indeed be applauded for adopting a child from AIDS-ravaged Africa -- as Oprah did at the end of her interview.

But this is not a perfect world. Many of us are still uncomfortable with the reality that rich white people can go to Africa -- or to the ghetto, for that matter -- and pluck up a poor child, even when that person is well-meaning.

Despite their hardships, the people who live in such environments still have a sense of community. It is how so many of them have managed to survive.

If adoption becomes the only way to save an African child -- what, then, will become of Africa?

The fear of creating a new Black Diaspora is driving the Madonna furor.

So, while her adoption of a baby from Malawi should be a gift of joy, for Africa, these adoptions also bring tears of shame.

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just get together with rush limbaugh & the kkk together and have a baby. you are two sides of the same coin. you do not speak for me, or my family, & yes, we are black americans.

If the belief is that a black child would be better off dead than with a white parent, that is very sad.

Previous people, it's interesting that your responses jumped from Mitchell's recognition of the painful racial tensions involved to a comparison to the KKK and suggesting that she believe this child is better off dead than adopted by white folks. I didn't read that all.
I read about people's discomfort due to the history and the contradiction involved.


Joseph, thank you for understanding my point.

I think Mary raises a good issue. The fact that this child is far better off with a white parent, if it even mattered, is just another symptom of what is happening in Africa- and that even depends on your view. Its an effect, not a cause. If that childs father had his choice, rest assured he would be prosperous with a family and live in peace.

Frankly, its a geographical problem. In short, Africa's soil will not sustain crops, and there is no base on which to build a society, when there is no food. That is all there is to it. We are all subject to the laws of nature, even with the best socio-political system.

So, yes, Mary is right, its just another sad chapter, effect, and result. Good for Madonna, for making a difference for one child.

Similarly, it would be unenlightened for whites, when talking about why blacks have "this problem or that problem" collectively, at a minimum to admit that there are effects from generally not permitting blacks to participate in our economic system for so long...

Whites may get frustrated when some use that reson to explain a criminal behavior, for example when the public defender representing the thug who beat the white kid in Beverly this summer. There is No escaping criminal intent.

But, it is a shame that such adoptions happen.

Some readers need to sharpen their comprehension before they post ridiculous comments. I wonder if Madonna asked Oprah why she has not adopted any African or African American children? Not to say that she has to, but that would go a lot further for this cause that Oprah is supposedly for wholeheartedly. I know Oprah does a lot with the riches she has rightfully earned. It just bothers me sometimes that her perspective seems misplaced on some real issues.

If this child had been a Romanian or Russian would we even be talking about this?

How sad is it that this has become a racial issue?

How sad has our society become that when a person tries to do a good thing we only see the negative in the situation?

What's wrong with you people? I'm no fan of celebrities, but Madonna is doing a good thing, or at least she is trying to. Until you are ready to shell out some cash to these families in Africa, or some of your time, mind your own business! I don't donate time or money to charities involved in Africa because they don't seem to be doing anything but keeping the status quo. I don't criticize others who do. Why can't you people just let others live their own lives the way they want to? Why does this matter to any of you?

I'm going to play 'devils-advocate' with everybody..As far as white-black discomfort. You do NOT have to go to Africa for a dispute, a controversy..Right here in Chicago several years ago Ald. Edward Burke and his wife adopted a black child. Remember? Anyway, remember all those black preachers, critics, etc. who thought the child was going to be denied his CULTURE. And here I had thought Chicago was in the USA (LOL). Come on, remember that? They preferred a black mother who was a coke-addict and who signed the baby away over a 2-parent successful household. So this Madonna situation is nothing new on that front. Plus, we'll never know how much money Madonna donated (LOL) to the Malawi govt. leaders, which may have influenced the adoption. Afterall, Angelina Jolie just got an African child, then Madonna figures she needs to keep up....However, here is something none of you folks have even thought about. It appears the African father loves his son. He only put him in an orphanage, from what I gather, because he's poor and couldn't feed him at this time. In otherwords, he's poor. But its HIS son. And he thought Madonna was going to just have him on a TEMPORARY basis to give him better schooling, what have you. In otherwords, he may have been tricked or nieve. So you all be the judge....Something else, a DOUBLE-STANDARD ! Remember Elian Gonsalez ! Remember, all these guilt-ridden liberals (Hollywood, leftist politicians and columnists, do-goodie clergy, TV commentators) lobbied and pressured the Clinton Administration and Janet Reno to send Elian back to Cuba (which turned out to be accomplished at gun-point). Elian's mom had given her life trying to escape the Cuban dictatorship so that Elian would have a better and free life in America. We all remember that a fisherman found Elian afloat in the Gulf of Mexico. But the critics insisted Elian be sent back to Cuba because his biological father was there. Well guess what, this little African's boy's biological father wants his boy back, also. Yet because Madonna is a multi-millionaire and entertainer pal of these folks, they don't say one word about sending the boy back to his father. Instead they say, "oh let Madonna have him because she can give him a better life." So why did they insist Elian go back to a totalitarian dictatorship with no freedom? Why are the rules different for an African child than for the Cuban child? Again, why the double-standard? Just asking.

I don't care for Madonna but this was absolutely a no win for her. If she goes there and leaves, people ask why she didn't do something for these people. Instead she goes there and plans to adopt one of these kids. Instead of seeing this as a loving moment, a gesture, and possibly a way to draw attention to the issues there, people take the negative view of this and somehow relate this back to slavery. To coin a popular phrase on this blog...I don't get it.

People who want to adopt a baby are interested in bring parents and loving and raising a child. That is their focus and consideration. I would bet that 99.9 percent of them, whatever their race, are extremely aware and sensitive of the child's background, and take great pains to respect and deal with that. I am not a big fan of Madonna, but I think Madonna is one of these people. The suggestion that someone with a loving heart is undertaking an unfortunate or even shameful practice is insulting, and it puts a burden on people who are doing something good and loving.

This is a blog about race, and how race plays into our interactions with one another. People who have a problem with the adoption issues you raised ought to put their time and money where their mouth is, and adopt a child. How many wealthy black parents are adopting poor Russian or Polish children? If a black couple adopts a Russian or Polish child, will it be a darned shame that the child won't grow up with an appreciation for its slavic heritage, language, and customs?

Although I am sympathetic to Madonna's efforts, I am as an African American a bit shamed when wealthy whites come to the rescue of individual African children. It seems like they collect them as tokens of their dedication. I'm sure that's probably not the case...I cant help feeling like that sometimes though.
There is a way (and a cultural imperative) for Black people to support causes and agencies that make it possible for Africa's children to grow up where they are born.
Again,so we dont misunderstand, I think that Madonna has shown great compassion, and is an example of the adage "to whom much is given much is expected," but I am in favor of Africa's future being afforded the opportunity to enrich Africa.

Although I am sympathetic to Madonna's efforts, I am as an African American a bit shamed when wealthy whites come to the rescue of individual African children. It seems like they collect them as tokens of their dedication. I'm sure that's probably not the case...I cant help feeling like that sometimes though.
There is a way (and a cultural imperative) for Black people to support causes and agencies that make it possible for Africa's children to grow up where they are born.
Again,so we dont misunderstand, I think that Madonna has shown great compassion, and is an example of the adage "to whom much is given much is expected," but I am in favor of Africa's future being afforded the opportunity to enrich Africa.

What's with Madonna's british accent? Isn't she from Detroit?

Good grief! What is it now? Colonialism? Slavery? Diapora? If this kids gets a break in life, you would think that most people would be happy. Connecting his good fortune to revisiting colonialism, slavery, and another Black Diapora is more then a stretch. Its wishful thinking for legions of over zealot far leftists who can't find anything else to cry about. Its a stretch for those among us who subcribes to the far right by making this a racial issue. Americans for years have been adopting in Europe, Asia and South America. Where was the outrage??? Please! don't give me that tired lame argument about these people not sharing the pass trama from slavery and Jim Crow abuses, American Blacks and African Blacks on the whole only share a skin color. If you can't be happy for the kid and any other kids that might gain fruitfully through these adoptions.....leave them alone for God sakes.

My first and only reaction to your article is shock. How can you, Mary, be so concerned about any white couple adopting a hopeless, parentless, whatever the situation is, in Africa, being so concerned about the "culture" - "what is to become of the African culture..." when here, in the USA, black men need to step up to the plate, and women too, (whites, hispanics, any race), that it is NOT ok to keep on having kids and just re-produce. I would be more concerned with the Black culture here at home, with producing so many babies, by so many that's what would bother me.

One less child suffering in Africa, adopted by any race, is giving that child a better life; no matter what race is adopting: white, black, Jewish, Japanese, whatever.

My point: fix the problems here at home and be concerned about where the African-Americans are dropping their kids off, fatherless, and where they are headed. Then you have a column. Sorry, you really have a grudge towards anyone outside your race. Your column is not hitting a's unclear what the content is trying to convey...

Any child saved from a crappy, foreign country, doomed to die deserves any parent that wants to adopt them and give them a crack at a real life. Shame on you. You have been really conveying a hatred toward other races, bringing up the race card...have you any white friends? Japanese, Jewish, Hispanic?
Culture...your culture calls for no two-parents according to the statistics. It's an acceptance, the norm. Why not start yelling out loud for changes in your "black" card race issues. Sorry, didn't agree with this view at all in your column. It's really getting on my nerves when someone tries to step up to the plate, you bring up "culture.." Where's the two parent culture in the USA? Particularly in the Black community...if you want to play the race card.

I think the essence of this opinion piece is that this child is going to lose something by being adopted by a so-called white person, no matter who that person is. If we are going to reduce these very pertinent social issues down to the false concept of "race" (note the false concept is race, not racism or its effects), then the entertainer should be applauded for attempting to right the past wrongs of colonization. Meaning she isn't stealing this baby and condemning him to a life of chattel slavery, she is raising him in a multi-cultural environment rich with education and opportunity. Shame on those who would perpetuate the “racial� divisions that this and other cross-“racial� adoptions would serve to eliminate.

Why is it that people think we should just accept something because Oprah Winfrey has put her stamp on it, I dont agree with the Madonna adoption. these superstars should subscribe to the theory that charity begins at home, there are lots of folks here in America that would welcome and appreciate a helping hand from publicity seeking Movie stars. How about throwing some money at Homeless issues or Job training and lastly ..."If you teach a man to fish..." that being said in the case of the lower economics of Africa, has it improved since Madonna stole the baby Banda?

I agree with you that many of us (afro-american) feel the shame of a white person adopting a black child. In the past I would be totally against this, an would have a passionate argument as to why only blacks should adopt black children. But after having adopted 2 afro-american children here in the united states, an seeing the huge number of minority children (few white children) in this system, I've completely changed my mind. In fact, just visit the court house on Roosevelt and Ogden in Chicago, an see the huge number of children going through various stages of the system, including the racial make up. It will provide a reality check of how bad things are. I realize there are larger forces at work here, drugs, unemployment and the breakdown of families. However the immediate problem are the kids. While I would much rather see these kids adopted by us (people of african ancestory), I think it better that someone take these abandoned kids, love and provide a home for them, regardless of their color.

I agree with Mary Mitchell's view of this whole affair. I also believe that at a time in history when there are more and more black millionaires, shame is the correct feeling we in the black community should be feeling. Where are we when it is time to help the African continent? Africa and its proud people have to be more than a photo opportunity. I believe Madonna's reasons for adopting were well intentioned but she may have been a little naive. It amounts to the feeling we get when we give a dollar to the homeless person begging on the street. It makes us feel better but in no way contributes or helps solve "homelessness". Africa needs help. You can't resolve this problem by taking its children away. I wish Oprah would have addressed that issue during the interview. It is also quite evident why she didn't.

we have many black or african american children here in the good old u.s.a who would love a chance at a better life no matter who the parentor what their color may be.Also inter-racial dating and marriage is up in the u.s.a and around the world among all races- check it out and wake up in 2006 already.

This Madonna adoption issue is a cryin' SHAME! We are an educated,free, and equitable society, or are we? The fact that the word "race" is even mentioned in this sad controversy, is proof positive that America is still a racist society. I hope David Banda will have the "better life" that all human beings deserve. Kudos to Madonna for making a positive difference in the life of David Banda.

The controversy surrounding David Banda's adoption by Madonna & Guy Ritchie is shameful. We all have second hand information, and yet we sit as judge and jury of Madonna's intent. Madonna and her spouse adopted baby David Banda "to provide a better life for him," PERIOD! This is what Madonna maintains, so be it. Kudos to David Banda's adoptive parents. May David Banda have the "better life" that he and all human beings deserve. The "race card" is again in the forefront of a social cause. How sad. The fact that "race" is associated with this adoption, and this particular blog, speaks loud and clear. America is still a RACIST SOCIETY! Elisa

A country's most valuable resource is its people. First with the transatlantic slave trade, now with adoption, Africa is doing it again.

Will they ever learn from their mistakes?

I personally do not care. The reason my family is here is because of Africa selling off it's most valuable resource. Sorry,I can't find sympathy.

As for Madonna - who cares?!??!?!?! Where was the furor when Angelina Jolie adopted her African and Cambodian kids? I wouldn't be surprised if the furor is only because it's MADONNA and she creates her own controversies in my opinion. If it was Gwyneth we wouldn't be talking.

Why is Oprah being dragged in this? Clearly, if she wanted a child, she would marry Steinman, if that was her purpose and goal. Instead, she walks her talk, spreading her wealth as she promised very early in her career before she became prominent. She vowed, and kept her word. What more of a message from a woman would one need? To adopt a black child? C'mon...her generosity helped millions and billions more than what adopting one black child from Africa could do. Shame on you particular people for bringing that point up. I have bi-racial relatives. We thought that would be unheard of years ago. I love them with all my heart. I do not judge the fact that my nephew is bi-racial, his mom is black and his father is white. I do not judge my second cousin had a bi-racial child out of wedlock. Her mother is a who are we to say this child will not grow up with values. As far as my nephew...I see no difference in color....he's a special man with a heart of gold, works hard, knows his heritage black and white. He knows all he needs to know and considers himself "BI-RACIAL" with the benefits of having a loving family who accepts him for who he is and taught him where each side of him came from...even though we are not blood-relatives.

Any child adopted by any race is a cause for applause. I do agree on one aspect: most people think that since celebrities adopt or one adopts a child from a different race in the manner that Madonna (whom I dislike) are starting a does it, the other follows. But, lest not us forget... I just dear niece was rescued from Korea and adopted by my dear sister-couzin over 23 years ago.

Had she not been adopted, I wonder often, what would have become of her. She's so beautiful, down to earth, and we don't see her as nothing but a flourishing flower in our family tree.

If it would make you laugh, when she misbehaved, her mother used to jokingly say, "If you don't behave, I'm sending you back to Korea..."

She successfully owns her own business. Otherwise, I am sure, she would have been left in that orphanage and had been deemed "gone" by now.

Can't we, as a nation, quit this race card stuff? Life is so short...think about it: we'll meet in heaven someday and will we judge our "spirits?" Saying that, I would like to add, I am not a very religious person. Any child that gets adopted by anyone who is unselfish enough to open their arms, homes and lives and devote any race, will certainly see to it that the child will know his background and culture. Why? Before you adopt, you have to pass that test.

I totally understand Mary's point and I agree with it. To go further, people have a problem when white families adopt black children. That's sad. Race, in this instance, shouldn't matter. What matters is that a child who was in a dire situation is now given a chance to become a model citizen because he will be raised in a loving and caring home. Everyone deserves a chance to live a healthy and prosperous life. In a perfect world, race wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, though subtle, it is the issue. David is at a place now where he will have a chance to be healthy, happy and a great contributor to society. That's all anyone, especially a child, could ask for.

I disagree that if Oprah would have adopted a child from Africa (by the way, it is a continent, not a country..and I knew of Malawi before the great Madonna descended upon it) we would all be cheering her on. Oprah is as self-serving and righteous as they come for those who have been out of touch with everyday people. The point is that there are plenty of orphans here and in the UK with just as harsh lives. Why not adopt them? Madonna's efforts to sponsor the orphanage and health care for the children there are commendable. Go for it. But I think trying to break this down to a throwback to colonization and if a black person would have done it there would be no problem issue is a little too simple for my taste.

As an African, I am absolutely amazed that one person's decision to adopt a poor child living in Africa, somehow recolonizes the continent and re-enslaves blacks. please take it easy. I don't think Madonna was specifically out to adopt a black child. She wanted to adopt a poor child from the third world -- and Malawi (being the 10th poorest country in the world) seemed like an ideal place to go. Please leave her alone. God bless her for her efforts. Guess what? David Banda not growing up in Africa is not the end of the continent. There are millions more children on the continent and millions of them are not in orphanages. Millions of them are not even poor. I grew up in Africa, I lived a healthy and normal life. I am now here in the U.S., and still living a healthy and normal life. This is not to say there aren't millions of poor children on the continent -- of course there are. But, Madonna's mission was not to save the entire continent of Africa, she wanted to show love to some needy children. David Banda has gone from one of the poorest, ignored, forgotten, insiginficant people in this world, to one of the most recognized, wealthy and priviliged -- overnight. Please leave Madonna and her family alone. we Africans don't see Madonna or whites as a savior. Whites have never saved us from anything in Africa -- they've done the opposite. As for Madonna, she's not a savior -- just a wealthy woman with a big enough heart to love a needy child.

Can't white and blacks interact and love each other without slavery and colonialisim being brought up? By the way, Malawi has no history of european slavery -- Slavery was a West African ordeal.

I am impressed with this article. Madonna should be held as a hero. I am ashamed as a black man that I have not done enough to help mankind. We have so much poverty in our country and across the world. It should not matter what color of a person is that wants to help someone else. Thanks Madonna for making me a better christian and man.

I hope the reaction from blacks towards whites adopting black babies wakes up white America. Instead of blacks thanking whites for taking on their problems, they instead demonize us and insult us by saying a black child shouldn't grow up outside of the "black" culture. I hope this teaches white America to stop trying to adopt black babies.


Obviously all blacks haven't said a black child shouldn't grow up outside of the black culture.

Lets get one thing out of the way! If a child is hungry, homeless & parentless, adoption by any ethnic group regardless of the child's ethnic background is understandable.

NOBODY wants to see a child dying from hunger! Okay?

With that said, the history of European colonization, especially of Africa, does not make me comfortable with Madonna's adoption, or any white person adopting children of African descent, be it in the United States.

Does that mean I want the child to starve and die, simply because the parents cannot support their children, and white people want to adopt? No it does NOT!

What this dilemma portrays is the ETHNOCENTRISM of a culture who placates at every turn, "I don't understand why THEY get upset over such issues?"

Adoption: Would White people feel compel to adopt children of African descent, if EQUALITY was actually a REALITY within the Global Spectrum of Humanity?

I think NOT!!

There is a European ethnocentric ideology on how the world should be; it BENEFITS europeans moreso than any other ethnic group.

This is a salacious, but reasonably CONTROLLED stuctured system regardless of how much other ethnic groups acheive in this conservative-liberal layers of democratic lies and deceit.

Ms Mitchell, speaks from the soul of a Black woman, seeing yet again, REGARDLESS of how well intentioned white folks think it is, another Black Child is stolen from us! Yes, history of Slavery, Jim Crow, Segregation, Human Rights Abuse(not Civil Rights), and the mere thought Black people have to sit around waiting to see if white people are going to sign the VOTING RIGHTS ACT Bill, is enough to make any person of African descent turn and go "NOT AGAIN!!"

White people, your system has privileged you for so long, the blinders worn don't allow to see the mere hurt and pain of others. You wonder why people make bombs and fly planes into buildings? It is because europeans blindly push forward their agendas with callousness and not a thought of others! This is regardless of country or continent!

Deal with me equally and fairly, and there will be no need to mention the fatherless children in Black communities. I KNOW there are many White teenage girls who have children out of wedlock, but they are murdered(not aborted), but your system does not play up to this.

The lies of Black fathers not being responsible is a hard one to chew, especially when searching for work, and always being told, "WE ain't Taking Applications!"

So the already under-empolyed, barely employable Black man, can't send a resume in, because this is the NEW TRICK OF THE SYSTEMIC Game of Ethnocentrism.

These men on the fringes are overwhelm, but people don't see this, yet they can see all the other ills of our communities.

I know a lot will feel, "What does this have to do with adoption?" Everything, when having to give your child up because the oppressive philosphies don't seem to comprehend, "HEY, if we get DADDY a job, HE can take care of his OWN children?"

But I guess it's better to continue leaving African communites, and the African continent with little economic hope of importing and exporting goods and services to build itself up ONCE again to its Glorious statue, before being RAPED of HER precious people, minerals, and other resources.


And people, regardless of color, attack Ms Mitchell, instead of understanding the system, and attack it instead.

I don't care what color Madonna is, she cared enough to take the time and touch another human being. Why are we still addressing each other with racial descriptions and profiles. One day America will be colorless, a true melting pot; and we will look back on the words and descriptions used to create the negative mental state that currently surrounds us as a country.

couple of points... reportedly Madonna gave the village $3 million dollars. We will never know how far that money will go to save lives and improve living conditions there. If that kicked her to the top of the line...then good for her!
I think the black community can forgive Oprah for not adopting one child. She has chosen to help thousands in Africa and here (Katrina)to improve their quality of life. If all middle class black people adopted just one American child, that would go far in sending a message to the world that we take care of our own.

This is a Human issue, a HUMAN issue. Not a race issue. This is one human reaching out with compassion to another human. One mother reaching out to a child who is in need of compassion.

As humans we need to put down the race card and TAKE OFF OUR BLINDERS! If we continue to hate and judge and criticize we will never find peace in this world that is in such need of compassion.

Congragulations Mary. We expect nothing less from you.
Of course nothing good can come out of a situation in which a white person is involved! How dumb of anybody, especially Madonna, to think any different. Heaven forbid the gift of opportunity is given to somebody.
And let's live in reality for a minute here despite you'r protestations, America is the land of opportunity.

Why isn't Madonna adopting a child in the US? Why must she go to Africa to find a child?To me it is for one reason alone, publicity.

Certainly the child will have everything he could ever want or need, but will he have a parent who truely is there to raise him? I suspect that a nanny will do all the child rearing.
Is Madonna just seeking to boost her liberal reputation? Bosst a sagging career? Is she trying to prove that she is a champion of black people? These are the questions that come to my mind.
I would think that the only shame blacks should feel is that they might buy into to the deception.
It is hard to fault someone for taking a child out of poverty, but I still feel that she is using the child to shine up a tarnished reputation.
The famous,rich and powerful will do anything to stay that way. No matter what they say are the reasons, you can bet that they look at a situation from every angle to maximize THEIR benefit.
Good advice for the comming elections...Who is out for their own benefit and who is out there for the benefit of this nation? If you say the other guy is wrong, you better have a solution to the problem. If you don't, then you are no different than Madonna. Looking for praise/respect/votes without really doing anything to earn them....

To nero_ceasar_xiola: you are obviously a "Black American" with very limited reading skills. To equate Mary Mitchell with Rush Limbaugh shows you simply are incapable of comprehending what she said in that article. She obviously does not speak for you. She's actually got something to say.

once again mary, your article is reaching. you mean to tell me there was nothing culturally worthy on the west side for you to write about?
if you are so concerned about the african culture and the orphans why don't you stand up to the plate and adopt a child yourself (african or american)? oh wait, that is a selfless act, not to mention proactive. because, after all, being reactive sells more papers. and in the end isn't that what it is all about.

The only Black people that should be ashamed that people like Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Alderman and Mrs Burke are adopting Black children are the people like Oprah Winfrey and many others who have the means to adopt and give these children a better life but prefer instead to treat their pets like royalty and chatter senselessly about bra sizes, etc.

Kudos to Magic Johnson and others like him who actually build in the communities and are trying to ensure Black families here and abroad have the opportunity for a better life! Not to mention living with HIV every day.

Oh, and by the way, Mary, I am certain many of your readers knew Malawi existed before Madonna got there.

I don't know Madonna or this little boy personally. Frankly i could care less. It has nothing to do with my world. Or any of yours' for that matter...

As an older, single mother of two internationally adopted children I have experienced my share of criticism. Most of my critics are clueless and have made assumptions about my intentions to adopt, the horrible conditions that many orphaned children
live in (in the US and elsewhere), and the many issues my adoptive, transracial family contend with. On occasion, an open-minded soul allows me the opportunity to educate and advocate for adoption - my calling and my passion. Most often I simply ignore their misinformed, and often rude, comments.

I often wonder what humanitarian calling my critics have poured their owns hearts, souls, and finances into? I'd like to
inquire - but that would be rude. Truth be told - most stone-throwers do just that, criticize. Those who are actively involved in any ministry know there's enough misery in the world (and even in our own neighborhoods) to go around. We realize our limitations and we do what we can with what we're given. And rather than be critical of another's choice, we rally around and support those who have chosen a different calling.

I've actually read up on this case. One of the main issues is that David does have a father. "What we agreed with Madonna was that she looks after my child until he finishes school, becomes independent and comes back home to us" That is a quote from David's father from CNN
This gives some details other reports did not. He didn't understand that Madonna was going to adopt him as her own son when he agreed to her help.
That's what I see as the main issue here.

She is willing to follow the requirements for adoption and live in Malawi for 18 months. I think she has a big heart and really does want to help David.

wow. why does it MATTER what race the kid is?! if the sense of "community is what is keeping the kid alive" then why adopt any kid? clearly NO ONE is in need if they have 'community.' RACE SHOULDN'T MATTER.

i don't see why it is a BAD thing that madonna is trying to raise awareness to the aids crisis. just because she is rich doesn't mean there is something wrong with what she is doing. under that guise, why do people have campaigns for aids testing in africa? why have poverty campaigns targeted on africa? aren't we interfering with their sense of community?

clearly they don't need awareness brought to their cause because oh yes the western world knows sooo much about what is going on in the rest of the world that they don't need things like this -- they'll go over to africa and help out the country themselves. *sarcasm*

Why go all the way to Africa to adopt a child? that's my question. We have plenty of children that are homeless and starving here in America, and plenty of them are black. She would not have gotten the same attention were she to adopt here in America the legal way. How many people can actually afford to FLY on a private jet to Africa and hand pick whatever child they want skirting the laws with their million dollar checks [no matter how unfair the laws may seem there], its still their laws. We have them here. It seems to be the fashion thing to do in Hollywood to"adopt" the poor black folk in Africa to help show the poverty there to all Americans. Well, I don't need Madonna to show me anything. Im not rich at all, in fact just the opposite, but I have been donating to African Orphanages for years, and she didn't make me aware, nor did Brad or Angie. I don't know Madonna's heart, but the fact that Ophra made the comment that "Maddona was brave" in doing what she did is ridiculous. Brave is what the boys father did; he had to give his child to an orphange, which I am sure took a lot of courage to do. Brave is giving birth to a child you know will probably starve to death. I don't see Madonna as brave, just privileged. She can do what most of Americans cannot do, fly around the world with her fanfare and news media coverage so that everyone can see what a great person she is. I bet there are thousands of Americans who donate whatever they can to help, whether all the money donated helps remains to be seen. It sure doesn't look like it. The fact that she chose to go there to adopt instead of an underprivileged American child makes me question her I sad it seems like the "latest" fad. And how, like she said on Oprah is this negative media, going to stop others from adopting an African child? How many Americans can financially do what she did? And just how many African children can be adopted out of that country. Let's be realistic, I'm sure the boy will have a good life, and he's been blessed for some reason, and, having said all this, nothing BAD could come out of what happened. God works in mysterious ways. Maybe, he has a plan for the little boy, and Madonna was used for that plan. I don't like her, I think she has been a poor role model for our youth. But, the fact is, he's' here, he has a new family, and I'm sure he will be loved and cared for. Enough said.

Also, those of you who keep saying America is "still a racist" society are so full of hot air. The fact is, racisim is a WORLD phenomenon. However, most cultures, including the black Americans [they are not Africans], tend to keep that race card playing, they won't let it die, henceforth, it lives.

She is doing this when she is launching her new children's book release and relauch her husband's film career which died one or two years ago, now he is going to make a film about poverty in Africa, you surely do not think she is doing this for nothing?

As a Latina woman, I understand where Ms. Mitchell is coming from. I have several friends who have adopted internationally and I have shared their joy of becoming parents after years of hoping and waiting for a child. I know that they see these children as blessings and have made tremendous efforts to teach them about the countries and cultures where they were born. However, when I see Latino children with their white upper middle class parents I can't help but feel a little sorry for them because they will never have the experiences that I had being raised in a Mexican family. Being surrounded by the language, experiences and shared view of our culture and American culture as a whole does give you a special bond with other people from your community of origin. The fact is that we live in a world where people are judged by the color of their skin and it helps having close family members who identify with your experiences. For the most part though, I know that children who are adopted benefit from being raised in a loving family no matter the race.

yer but what about madonnas chidlen? how do they feel about thins

As for white celebrities going to Africa and picking up babies... Madonna said that if someone goes to Africa and sees what the children are going through, then they too will want to bring back an African child... THIS IS SOME BULL, it almost sounds as if Africa is comprable to an animal shelter.

ONTO OPRAH, and that she is not adopting these children... heck no, because unlike white celebrities she doesn't see the need to distance these children from their rich culture. Depriving them of who they are is just a bad as depriving them of anything else. Instead Oprah chooses to give to the community of the African people, by building schools, health centers etc. Something that will not just help one, but save all. Change doesn't happen when you take away one, it occurs when you build up an entire people.

Dont dbe mad at Madonna. She is only trying to help.I say we let Madonna do what she wants because she is only trying to help

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on October 26, 2006 1:33 PM.

Race issues obscure nation's economic divide was the previous entry in this blog.

Guest Essay: Why be a victim. is the next entry in this blog.

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