The Guardian comes out for Jim Crow on inter-racial adoption

The Guardian bestowed its blessing on a giddying U-turn this week on the subject of inter-racial addoption. It's as if the progressive rulebook has been turned on its head

Lemn Sissay has slammed coalition policy on fast-track adoption this week
Henry Hill
On 15 March 2012 12:12

For someone who doesn’t spend their life obsessively tracking the mutation of what is or is not ‘progressive’ from one week to the next, it can be quite difficult to keep up.

Take race, for example. As a white student in the achingly right-on University of Manchester Student Union, I was constantly reminded by certain lefties that I must be a subconscious white-supremacist by dint of my race and social position.

Naturally scandalised by this, I double checked my views and they seem to conform to what most people would define as ‘not racist’. I don’t believe that the colour of one’s skin is or should be an integral part of who that person is. As an individualist I deplore racism as a particularly awful species of collectivism and deplore systems that make a fetish of race.

So to paraphrase Martin Luther King, I judge people not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. So far so good, right?

Apparently not. I read this week that the progressive vanguard over at the Guardian has bestowed its blessing on a giddying U-turn. The source of this U-turn is an article by Lemn Sissay on Comment is Free entitled “On inter-racial adoption, Cameron is wrong. Colour blindness is a disability.”  The author’s fundamental assertion is that white people cannot and must not adopt black children.

It’s not long, and is worth reading before continuing here.

It’s as if the progressive rulebook I’ve been trying so hard to learn (*ahem*) has suddenly been turned on its head.

First, are we allowed to say disabled again? Should it not be ‘differently abled’ or some such? More seriously, are we supposed to disinter our grandparents’ habit of fixating on race?

The language that underpins this article is at times really, archaically distasteful. For example, here is the opening line:

“The most valuable resource of any ethnic group is its children.”

How long has it been since it was acceptable to publicly make the case that children are ‘resources’ to be used in service of ethnically-defined collectives? I thought that modern mores considered such thinking beyond the pale.

If I read that sentence without context my natural assumption would be that it was an off-the-record indiscretion by a BNP figure, and the Guardian would be using the quote in a condemnatory fashion. Again, apparently not.

The full quotation is as follows: “The most valuable resource of any ethnic group is its children. Nevertheless, black children are being taken from black families by the process of the law and being placed in white families. It is, in essence, 'internal colonialism' and a new form of the slave trade, but only black children are used.” This was a statement by the Association of Black Social Workers and Allied Professionals

It was evidence made to a House of Commons Select Committee in 1983, and now perhaps you can begin to see where this article is going. Mr Sissay does not back up the fairly extreme nature of these claims. He references the difficult and sometimes traumatic experiences had by some black children in care in the Eighties, but nothing remotely close to justifying the absurd parallel with colonialism and the slave trade. Yet the quotation is left to adorn the top of his article, setting the scene.

Mr Sissay uses the supposed but unsubstantiated fact that white families adopting black children is a racist, colonial act of enslavement to defend the racialist preoccupations of the state adoption service and claim that “adoption policy is going backwards, ignoring decades of research-based practice” in light of the Coalition’s proposed changes.

Mr Sissay then reports about how, in the mid-Eighties, the experiences of some black children in care led to the release of the Black and In Care report and the adoption of racial segregation as best practice by the care authorities.

Why he supports the segregationist option, rather than trying to bridge the divisions between blacks and whites that caused such difficulties, isn’t explained.

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