All Articles Tagged "black children"
I was raised by a Black family. I go to a Black church. I live in a Black neighborhood. I did my undergrad at a Black college—finishing my master’s degree at one, too. Teen Girl has been educated in schools where White students are welcome, but none ever enrolled. We are surrounded and cushioned by Blackness aplenty. I never saw anything wrong with it. I still don’t. We celebrate, enjoy and appreciate other races, cultures and communities but, when it’s time to come home, we revel in our own. The other day, however, she brought up an interesting point during an otherwise fruitless conversation about her plans for New Year’s Eve.
“Last year, I hung out with you and your friends like I was one of the ladies in Waiting to Exhale,” she snarked in her teenage drawl. “This year, I want to spend the night at Beth’s house. Like a cultural exchange.”
Beth is her one White friend, a girl she met at summer camp at a very ritzy and very privileged private school in a very monied section of the city. My child was there on a let’s-make-a-conscious-effort-to-be-more-diverse scholarship. That wasn’t the official name, of course, but it surely was the intention. Female. Check! African-American. Check! Single-parent household. Check! And, according to their old wealth and upper income bracket standards, we’re also considered po’ folks, so check for that too, thank you very much. The costs of camp are no joke, so if it wasn’t for that come-up, homegirl would’ve surely spent her days schlepping through the Janelle Harris You Gonna Be Anything But Lazy Internship Program. We were both thankful it didn’t come down to that.
Beth, on the contrary, was there on the strength that her parents could afford to send her on a whim simply because she decided at the last minute she wanted to go.
I don’t begrudge the girl her money or her privilege. She was unknowingly born into both. I do resent her effort to counter it by trying her darndest to pretend her way into Blackness based on what she absorbs on reality TV and World Star Hip-Hop. Between her fledgling Ebonics, her little colored, cornrow-wearing boyfriend and now a friendship with my daughter who, bonus! has dreads and lives in the ‘hood, she is a certified carrier of the storied Black pass. She’s all set.
Skylar thinks my apprehension about their new girlfriendom is the rearing of some sort of reverse discrimination. “You don’t like her just because she’s White,” she accused.
I sucked my teeth. “Oh, on the contrary,” I retorted. “I suspect she only likes you because you’re Black.”
That girl has my blessing to be friends with as many people who represent as many differences as the wide world offers. I just don’t want her to do it at the expense of being the token Negro friend for folks who just want to live the vicarious life for curiosity’s sake. Everybody wants to be Black until the cops come or the paychecks are cut. Then it stops being hip and trendy. It becomes an inconvenience.
Read more at Essence.com
Just the other day, I was talking to a man who described himself as “as white as he could be.” We were discussing the Kieran Romney adoption. I was explaining that although I have my concerns, I’m generally happy about the Romney family adopting little Kieran because far too often black children are the last children to be adopted. The likelihood of them finding a permanent family becomes even more slim as they get older.
This was news to the white guy.
And though, it’s something I’ve known for quite some time, associating a human face to what often comes off as just a numbers and percentage issue, makes it all the more real and all the more heartbreaking.
In a beautifully written story published on NaplesNews.com, we learn about 15 year old Davion Navar Henry Only, an orphan who’s looking for a home.
The reporter, Lane Degregory of the Tampa Bay Times writes that Davion’s names mean “beloved, brown, ruler of the home and the one and only. He’s memorized all of them. Though one of his names means ruler of the home, Davion told a St. Petersburg church on a Sunday morning in September that he’s never had a home of his own.
“My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born… I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either.”
This was the beginning part of the speech Davion delivered to the members of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, in which he petitioned the congregation to adopt him.
Davion, who was born while his mother was in jail, says he can’t count all the places he’s lived in; but right now, he resides in the Eckerd Carlton Manor, a residential group home for teenage boys.
While Davion has a place to stay, he wants privileges and even standard allowances other children take for granted.
From Naples News:
“Davion wants to play football, but there’s no one to drive him to practice. He wants to use the bathroom without having to ask someone to unlock the door. More than anything, he wants someone to tell him he matters. To understand when he begs to leave the light on.”
In the past, Davion has had issues with anger management. He had thrown chairs, earned poor grades and pushed people away. But all of that changed when he searched and found his birth mother, this past June. Davion went to the library and found a mug shot for La-Dwina Ilene “Big Dust” McCloud, age 55. Shortly after that, he found her obituary. The article on Naples News explains that Davion learning of his mother’s passing and that she wasn’t coming back to get him, made him change his behavior. Davion’s caseworker said after he let go of hope of his mother’s return, he wanted to show everyone who he could be so someone would want him.
Throughout the summer he worked on his temper and dropping his defenses. He lost 40 pounds and as a current 10th grader, he’s earned all A’s except in geometry.
As he was speaking to the congregation, he said, “I’ll take anyone. Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”
After hearing that God helps those who help themselves, it was Davion’s idea to appeal to the members of St. Mark. Before he spoke, he told his caseworker, Connie Going: “I know they’re out there. Maybe if someone hears my story…”
At the time the article was published on Naples News, on October 15, there had been two couples who asked about Davion. But no one has come forward to adopt him yet. If you want more information about Davion, or other foster children in the Florida area who are awaiting families, you can call Eckerd at 866-233-0790. If you’re unable to adopt but want to donate time or money, you can call Eckerd at 727-456-0600.
In 43 states, child poverty has increased significantly since The Great Recession settled across America. The only states that saw a decrease are Texas and Illinois. African-American and Hispanic children under six, according to The Children’s Defense Fund, have suffered the most through the nation’s slow-moving economic recovery.
Thirteen states have a child poverty rate higher than 25 percent, according to data pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau. In Mississippi, 34.7 percent of toddlers live in poverty and 29.3 percent of New Mexico’s children live with hardship. Both states have the highest rates of child poverty.
These statistics will be sure to rise if the proposal to cut $40 million SNAP benefits over the next 10 years is signed into law. (More on that in a coming story.) “How is it possible when millions of children are poor, Congress could for one minute consider cutting their food assistance,”asked Marian Wright Edelman in a press statement, president of the Children’s Defense Fund.
Elise Gould, an economist, would agree: “Now is no time to be considering cuts to the safety net.” Gould’s analysis using data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the important of federal assistance for curbing poverty. “In 2012, 1.7 million people were kept out of poverty by unemployment insurance and 15.3 million elderly Americans were kept out of poverty by Social Security,” Gould added.
“All Americans including those in Congress have to recognize that Black and Hispanic children already are a majority of our babies and are the face of our future. We need them to be productive,” Edelman said. “Every year we keep over 16 million children in poverty we are losing hundreds of billions of dollars. Children did not cause the recession and they should not have to suffer from the recklessness of others.”
Between 2009 and 2012, only the wealthiest five percent saw income gains. For more than a decade now, poverty levels have been on an ascending trajectory. “The poverty rate increased between 2000 and 2007 from 11.3 percent to 12.5 percent, then continued to rise through the Great Recession,” according to Gould’s report.
With the recession leaving 24 states with a quarter of impoverished children (under the age of six), Edelman concludes,”[c]hildren’s ability to survive, thrive and develop must not depend on the lottery of geography of birth. A child is a child and should be protected by a national floor of decency. We can and must end child poverty.”
We love watching fights. Whether it be Tami Roman on “Basketball Wives” or someone fighting on World Star Hip Hop, our culture thrives on viewing a beat down. Sometimes these fights get too graphic, even for our numbed out minds, and petitions are drawn up and a channel like CNN reports on it. But sooner or later, we are right back to where we started, supporting the violence; using something so alarming as a form of entertainment.
Most who use these television shows and viral videos for escapism will admit that they are having profound negative effects on our youth. It’s common knowledge that high school and middle school students are notorious for filming schoolyard and neighborhood fights just for a little cyber fame. But a few weeks back, I realized just how dark this new found culture has gotten. Flipping through news channels, I stopped to watch a news reporter on Headline News where they discussed a YouTube video of a young mother cheering on the physical altercation of two toddlers. My heart sank for about five minutes as I watched the news segment in disbelief.
It was reported that the mother filming the ordeal is from St. Louis. She can be heard in the background egging on the inappropriate behavior with exclamations such as, “Y’all better ball up some fists!” A friend of the mother reported the video to their local television station, and Social Services got involved. As I shook myself out of my state of shock, my mind began to race with thoughts of how much we have embraced barbaric physical acts as a norm. We fight over comments on social media, celebrities fight over the women they’re sleeping with, and every reality show gains viewers by allowing cast members to haul off and slap the crap out of one another. The culture of fighting is being embraced on these shows, and it’s not only making young men and women think that getting violent to solve disputes is cool, but it’s painting us all in a horrible light. It’s bad enough we have Erica scrapping in a parking lot with her man Lil Scrappy, but to have a real-time video of a black mother urging two babies to fight? What is the world coming to when your thirst for entertainment and fame allows you to go so far?
I know that reality shows with violence aren’t going to go anywhere anytime soon. Petitions will be drawn up, people will protest, but these programs will be here to stay as long as there is an audience that desires them. What I am concerned about is how much of these shows we have internalized. This video of the two babies fighting screams that our appetite for violence and using it as a way to settle issues is bigger and more complex than we ever imagined. I can say, with a heavy heart, that common sense, tact and maturity for many has flown completely out the window, and the more we say this ratchet behavior is just “entertainment,” the more we can expect scenarios like this to happen again. We’ve become too desensitized to the violence, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is not a good thing.
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By Rachel Garlinghouse
I’m an adoptive parent. I’m white. My two daughters, ages three and one, are both black. It’s glaringly obvious that my kids and I don’t “match” and that they are adopted.
We have been asked a slew of questions. “Are you girls REAL sisters?” “Did you hear that Katherine Heigl adopted another baby?” “Are your kids full or mixed?” “Why didn’t their birth parents keep them?” “Why couldn’t you have your own kids?”
One question that I found incredibly interesting, and one that the media is asking more than ever is, “Why didn’t you adopt one of your own kind?” (Yes, this is exactly how the question was asked.) It has been implied that there are plenty of white babies who need good homes, so why would we, as whites, pluck a black child out of the mix of available kids? (This is actually not true. Many adoption agencies have a tremendous need for families to be open to adopting black children, including sibling groups and kids with special needs, as many white parents only want to adopt healthy white infants.)
The media and the public are asking these questions of transracial adoptive parents: Are you trying to capitalize on some sort of trend? Why are you stealing a black baby away from her racial culture? Are you trying to make your child white? How in the world can a white family raise a black child properly?
The increase in media attention on celebrity adoptive parents, particularly transracial adoptive celebrity families like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Charlize Theron, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, and Katherine Heigl, has brought transracial adoption to the forefront of pop culture. I have read, much to my dismay, article after article that begins by prompting the public to question the integrity and intent of such parents.
I have to admit, I don’t necessarily blame people for their assumptions and skepticism regarding transracial adoption, particularly white parents who are raising black kids. Whites have a long history of treating blacks and other races in degrading, dehumanizing manners. There is a seemingly natural and underlying distrust between whites and all other races. Despite people claiming to be “colorblind” and spouting that “the world is a melting pot” which is magically full of harmony and unity, I know otherwise.
You might question if parents are adopting minority children because it’s the trendy thing to do. Here are some truths, from my experience, regarding transracial adoption:
1. Transracial adoptive families are double-minorities, facing endless discrimination.
Until we adopted our first daughter, I was, unknowingly, enjoying white Privilege. No one ever looked twice at me in a shopping mall or restaurant, no one questioned my motives, no one asked how authentic my family was, if we were a “real” family or not.
But when my husband and I brought our first daughter home, we were quickly inducted into the life of a minority. We have been asked by an airline to provide our youngest child’s birth certificate to prove that she is actually our daughter prior to us boarding a plane. When we went to obtain a social security card for her, the attendant gave us several glares, making it clear she didn’t approve of our transracial adoption. She then asked, quite judgmentally, a question that had nothing to do with the application for the social security card: “Do they [our daughters] have the same parents?” I’ve been asked about the girls’ “real” mom, as if I am the fake mom. A cashier at a local store asked why the hell my girls’ birth parents would “give them away” because after all, the girls were “so pretty.” My family deals with, on a daily basis, discrimination related to adoption and race.
2. Transracial adoption is a path to parenthood.
Individuals and couples adopt because they want to be parents. Maybe they couldn’t have biological kids, couldn’t have more biological kids, had always wanted to adopt, didn’t want to wait for a partner to have children, or chose to adopt to avoid passing a genetic condition on to any biological children. The reasons are many.
When I was twenty-four years old, I was diagnosed with an incurable disease: type I diabetes. I am dependent on insulin for life; without it, I will die. Type I diabetes can be accompanied by a slew of dangerous side effects, all of which can impact the life of the diabetic’s unborn baby. My husband and I chose not to have biological children because we felt the risks outweighed the benefits. So we filled out paperwork to adopt, marked “open to a child of any race,” and waited. We were chosen, twice, to adopt black children. Without adoption, we wouldn’t be parents. We wanted to be parents. So we adopted. It’s really that simple.
We’ve all criticized BET for their less than stellar programming and decisions; but when they get it right, we have to give props. And yesterday BET did a great thing by transforming their hit show, “106 & Park” into an hour long special with Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin and Trayvon’s younger brother, Jahvaris Fulton.
Being that “106 & Park” speaks directly to young people– it was actually a favorite of Trayvon’s– it’s only appropriate that his parents speak to their son’s peer group. They sat down with BET’s newest talent, T.J. Holmes, to offer advice to the young audience members, share memories of their son and their hopes for the upcoming trial.
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The way people grossly underestimate children never ceases to amaze me. Children are people, with brains that develop at a much faster rate than ours. Sure every once in a while they may say things that will catch us off guard but we should never underestimate what they are and are not able to comprehend.
We re-learned this lesson in the clips from CNN’s upcoming special, “Kids On Race: The Hidden Picture.” In this video psychologists and even some of the CNN journalists, including Anderson Cooper and Soledad O’Brein, spoke with a diverse group of children and even their parents to discuss the issue of race in their schools, in their friendships and in their homes.
Check the video clip below:
The video found that while both children recognize differences in race, black children are more likely to be open and optimistic when it comes to interracial friendships.
Are you surprised about the results from this video?
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All the little ones want to experiment with color it seems. Zahara, daughter to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, was recently spotted out and about with her blue box braids.
No shade seriously, but I have to know did anyone else notice that this is the same shade of blue Lil Mo rocked in her Superwoman video?
Check out more pictures of Zahara’s new hair extensions at StyleBlazer.com.
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African-American children make up 30 percent of the 500,000 children currently in the American foster care system, despite being only 14 percent of the U.S. population. On top of being over-represented, these youths are less frequently selected for adoption compared to other kids.
Could the skin tone of black children play a role in whether they are chosen — especially if the family considering them is black? Mardie Caldwell, founder and CEO of the Lifetime Adoption agency, says this is true — and that this bias is exclusive to African-Americans.
“We’ve found that many African-American families have definite preferences for the type of children they want, whether it’s newborns [or older children], and also in terms of their physical appearance,” Caldwell told theGrio. The author of seven books on the adoption process, including her latest, Called to Adoption, suggested that the finicky tastes of black families made private agencies reluctant to work with them.
“A lot of organizations and other adoption professionals have actually stopped doing African-American adoptions. We’re one of the few centers, Lifetime Adoptions, that does African-American and biracial adoptions, and we’re one of the largest in the United States,” she explained. “When families come to us they will actually give us preferences and say ‘we want to stick with a child that looks like us, and we’re lighter-skinned or we’re darker-skinned.’ It does make it difficult at times.”
By contrast, “if we have families that may be biracial — one partner is Caucasian and the other is African-American — we can come to them with any black child, and they’re more open,” Caldwell said. “The same is true with Caucasian families, which is why you’re seeing more Caucasians adopting children of color, because they really don’t care about the shade.”
Read the rest of the story at theGrio.com.
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Just days after Lucky Mulumba gave birth to her first child Carol, she learned her baby had sickle cell anemia.
“Doctors said she had the most severe type and they told me she would have a hard life. Some doctors told me she would not live past ten years,” said Lucky Mulumba.
Two years later she learned she was pregnant with her second child Mark. Her doctor suggested she bank his umbilical cord blood in the event one day it might be used to help Carol.
Cord Blood Registry, based in San Bruno, California, paid for Mark’s cord blood to be stored and saved as part of a free program called “Newborn Possibilities.” Meanwhile Carol, now 10 years old, struggled through daily pain as her condition worsened.
Find out Mark’s umbilical cord saved his sister’s life at theGrio.com.
Parents out there, did you save your child’s umbilical cord? Do you think this procedure will become more and more common in the future?
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