August Rush

Did I ever write about this movie here ? It is one of my favorites.

While not the story of an adoption, it is the story of mother child separations. It is about a baby taken by deception shortly after birth and placed in an orphanage. It is about genetics. About deep bonds. Both of his parents are musicians – one classical and one modern. It is Robin Williams as a villain.

The music is wondrous and the music brings his natural parents together at a moment of improbable but tear jerking reunion.

I highly recommend it.

White Fragility

This is a very personal post about me and my daughter. We got into a huge fight last night over the n-word.

We were driving in the city listening to her songs. I personally found the songs disgusting and demeaning to women. Every other word was p—-y, Ho, b—ch and especially nig-er. Not nig—a. But nig-er.

To me there’s a huge difference. And I told her that NO ONE, black or white, should ever use that word. I also told her that I think it’s disgraceful to hear singers use it in their songs.

My daughter told me that I was acting like a racist. She said white people can’t use the word. But that black people can because they are taking back the word. They are taking ownership of the word.

I have no clue what that means. And if I’m wrong I’ll be the first to admit it. But I think using that word under ANY circumstances is wrong. And that includes rap stars.

I’ll be blunt. I think the way these rap stars talk about women is despicable and demeaning. They are NOT ho’s, bitc—s, and nig-rs.

They are beautiful women who deserve our respect.

So, wonderful that he cares about this young woman and wants her treated well. But it appears that he’s trying to tell her she can’t use words from the culture she’s scrambling to belong to because she’s been raised outside of it ? If you are the Caucasian parent of a Person of Color, it matters not what way, shape or form, it is NOT your place to tell your children about their own culture or what is racist to them. As a parent, it is ESPECIALLY your job to listen.

The Sin Of Being Poor

Georgia Tann felt disdain toward poor, white, single mothers directly related to their class difference.  She divided people into two types –

Poor people, including single “cow” mothers, were BAD.
Wealthy people “of a higher type” were GOOD.

Georgia believed that poor people were incapable of proper parenting. Their children needed to be rescued.  Tann could “save” them.  She did it by seizing them and placing
them for adoption.

It would appear that was her perspective regarding my maternal grandmother and the cause of my mom’s adoption.  My mom was not unwanted and her parents were married.  It was the Great Depression and there was a superflood affecting Memphis at the time my mom was born.  Her father, WPA, was out shoring up levees in Arkansas and couldn’t be reached quickly enough to save my mom from the inevitable.  Her mother never got over losing my mom.

In a 1935 article in the Memphis Press-Scimitar, Georgia Tann described the first time she placed children for adoption.  She was only 15 years old.  She had found two children in the corner of her father’s courtroom.

Rather than send them over to the Mississippi Children’s Home Society, she convinced a respectable Mississippi couple to adopt the 5 yr old boy and 3 yr old girl. In the newspaper article, Georgia didn’t reveal the process by which she separated the children from their birth parents.

Yet, her description of the family was indicative of her attitude –

“The father was a man of intelligence but of a mean disposition, who was always getting into trouble. The mother was an ‘ordinary’ woman, from a poor family.”  That was certainly true of both of my maternal grandparents.  Their only sin was poverty.

The children placed for adoption were sweet and attractive in appearance. The girl eventually received a degree in music.  Thanks to the financial resources of my mom’s adoptive parents, she also eventually received a degree in music from the University of Texas at El Paso and that began the profession she practiced for the remainder of her life, right up until her death.

The boy in Georgia Tann’s story received a law degree and practiced his profession as a lawyer.  My mom’s “brother” was also a Georgia Tann adoptee.  He didn’t become a lawyer but still leads the life he has chosen with financial support from his inheritance.

These early placements by Tann, including both my mom and her brother, were given opportunities of wealth and all of them made the most of it.  Some of her later efforts produced some horrific outcomes.  My mom and her brother were very lucky regarding the adoptive parents they received.  In no way would I say that the wounds of separation from their original mothers were not deep within each of them.