January 15, 2014

The Epic Fail: NPR's Transracial Adoption Interview

Angela Tucker

Last week, NPR requested to interview my friend and fellow Lost Daughters blogger, Angela Tucker,  on the issue of transracial adoption. 

Angela was the perfect choice for their interview, not only because she is a transracial adoptee but also because of her powerful story that has been chronicled in the documentary, Closure.  

After completing the interview, NPR made the decision to not feature Angela's interview. Instead, they featured a white adoptive parentRachel Garlinghouse, to discuss the issues transracial adoptees face.  Even the title of Garlinghouse's blog, White Sugar, Brown Sugar, is offensive. The sad reality is, many in our world today still need to be educated as to why such a title is problematic. Evidently, Garlinghouse herself doesn't get it.

The reasons for the outcry over NPRs decision have been articulated so well by several bloggers, I wonder what I could possibly have to say on the issue that hasn’t been said. Nevertheless, I don’t want to let the opportunity pass to raise my voice with the chorus of those who are speaking out about this injustice.

It is wrong that Angela's voice was dismissed but I also believe it's a matter of lack of common sense. 

NPR simply lost their mind on this.

If you want to know something, go to the source.

When I first heard about what happened to Angela, it was a trigger.  One of the things I most often hear is, “What does your adoptive mother have to say about this?”

I'm 47 years old. I can speak for myself, thank you.  

The millions of transracial adoptees who exist in the world can speak for themselves, too. They don't need adoptive parents to do it for them.

Asking AP's, and particularly mothers, seems to be the world's default setting and its not only maddening, it's bewildering.

 As Angela Tucker said in her follow up piece:

“The adoptive mother was asked by NPR host if she fears the stereotypes her black son may face as he grows. Why not simply ask a trans-racially adopted man how discrimination has affected his upbringing and adulthood?

BREAKING NEWS: We no longer need to speculate about the challenges trans-racially adopted children may face as they grow. The first hand answers for these important questions can be answered by qualified, educated, articulate adult adoptees (or birthparents) found by doing a quick Google search.”

Following NPR's decision there was a backlash, as well there should have been.

As an adoptee and a Christian, I am disappointed in Rachel Garlinghouse's response. There was no recognition whatsoever of transracial adoptees' feelings.  In her follow up post, I counted the word "I" or "my" no less than 66 times! It's clear that for Garlinghouse, adoption is all about her.  There was precious little there about her kids and how transracial adoption affects them, and instead a diatribe of her feelings regarding criticism and a weak biblical defense of how she responds. The twisting of scriptures in a warped attempt at painting herself as some sort of victim in this was disheartening. Ironically the title of her post was, "Learning to Listen."

For anyone who wants to gain insight from those who have shared on the NPR debacle, I highly recommend:

Do Trans-racial Adoptees Know Anything About Trans-racial Adoption? 

Get it together, NPR. This was an epic fail.