I'm Mad On Her
This is an unusual posting and not one that I would normally do. A few blogs ago Kelly Elizabeth Sloane sent me a question. So here I include both her question and my reply. It's the first time I have done this and may intrude on my developing style of blogging but I think her question merits it. I will begin with her comment and my answer will follow:Mr. Sissay,Forgive me for posting this inquiry to your festive cake blog. I just read your comments re. adoption on BBC News website and hoped I might encourage you to expand on them a bit. I am curious to know if you believe your adoption experience would have been better if you had been adopted by a black family? Or, would it have been better if you had been adopted by a family of any colour if they were able to provide you with a more culturally relevant childhood - rather than the religious extremists you were placed with. I have many questions as I think this is an important subject to discuss.I'm American and feel very strongly that there has been a great disservice done to black children who until recently were generally not adopted by white families because if was frowned upon. Unfortunately, many of these children languish in poor foster care or group homes rather than enjoying the benefit of growing up in a household with adoptive parents. As a mixed race woman, I know that my mother (who was Irish/German/Spanish) could not always relate or guide me through my experience as a "brown;" nonetheless, having the benefit of a multi-racial household was really priceless in my view.Thank you for sharing your perspective.Best regards,Kelly Elizabeth Sloane
Ms SloaneMany thanks for posting here. On the contrary I think your question is perfectly placed. Before I answer I think this may have started with your reading of The BBC world article available here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6044294.stm
Though you had “just read my comments on BBC News Website” I didn’t see you quote me in your question. I am very careful about my words regarding this, or any other issue, and would be interested to know which words I said that would lead you to your questions – otherwise the question itself is not rooted in my comment. Hope this makes some sense. However I am going to try to have a go…
Fortunately or not I am unable to answer the question in part of “ would life have been better with a black family” as I find hyphotheticals in this context to be sort of Bermuda triangles in which I prefer not to find myself lost. When in doubt, walk away from the Bermuda Triangle. However, should the social worker, who stole me from my mother and illegally named me after himself, had the foresight to place me with foster parents of my own race it, though may not have been better, would have indicated that he was thinking more about the adopted child than the needs of the adopters. Unfortunately in my case it was the latter. And their need was to show that they care and to display their Christian values hence elevating past their own neuroses regarding their place in their own family with their own mothers and fathers. My then grandparents.
I had little to do with the foster parents virtually feral need to display basic human instinct through the Baptist church. . Human instinct alone can be a dangerous thing except when tempered with understanding. It is the understanding that I hold dear and the love that I expect as a prerequisite to any adoption, in any form. Hence to say “I did this because I love children” is by far and away a long distance from what a child needs. The fact that this is a declaration is in itself a possibly dark moment and weighs heavy on many a Childs conscience.
I, however, was never adopted but essentially, stolen – all of which I have proved in documentaries on TV and radio over the years. My mother never signed the adoption papers because in the end she wanted me fostered and on that level alone it is difficult to answer your question.
The subject is emotive because we are born. It is primal - The idea of birth and the trade of babies. Hearts race opinions form battle lines are drawn and a fight ensues, meanwhile depression, like gas in a small room, seeps under the door while we adults argue. I hear the Malawian government will decide in two years that Madonna can take full and total charge of the baby. But it isn’t after two years that the boy shall ask questions – and it may be never. It may be on his deathbed and it may not be on his deathbed. But the questions will come and they will rise from this fermentation - that would happen whether Madonna was famous or not. But the question is this. What will the answers be?
And finally, Madonna is Amazing. What she has done for years is to push taboos. Not just to push them but to show them for the secretly insidious oppressive and violent things that they are. She has done this with sexuality, Gender and Race. She has pushed an industry (the music industry) which is conservative by nature. She has done this so that young girls will not be scared of themselves and their own development, so that black and white people can see a representation of a black person castigated for the inner power, namely Jesus. All this on MTV. It would take a brave rap artist to do such a thing. She has made a difference to the industry but most of all to Culture.
And I want to let you know that some of my best friends are black and mixed race and were adopted by white families.;-o Some great writers artists and designers too. Many in the media etc. The others, they were bathing in bleach to get the dirt off and some are rocking back and forth in mental institutions around Britain. There’s one here in London who paints her face white and red and walks up and down Oxford Street in London talking to herself. And then there is the thing that cuts across all of us - we were all very, very popular as children - we all had "nice smiles".