Are we, as a population, just no longer capable of understanding context and applying logic? The country (in a furious charge led by the patriots at Fox News) has lost its collective mind over statements made by Rep. Alvin Holmes of Alabama about transracial adoptions. At first I thought it was just a few right-wing, reading-is-for-dummies types jumping on the Fox News ‘He Must Be A Racist!’ train. Then Jezebel published an article about it, and I realized lots and lots of people are idiots, regardless of political affiliation.
Rep. Holmes said "I will bring you $100,000 cash tomorrow if you show me a whole bunch of whites that adopted blacks in Alabama," he said then. "I will go down there and mortgage my house and get it cash in $20 bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase."
Was this statement clumsily made? Yes, probably. But is it wrong? No. No it’s not.
In 2013, about 21 percent of domestic adoptions in the US were transracial. That’s up from 8 percent in 1987, which was the last “official” estimate, (and it was 1 percent for white couples adopting black children). And the increase may have to do with the fact that black/minority children cost less to adopt. Also, starting in the late 1990s, the use of racial preferences in adoption agencies that receive federal assistance became more heavily regulated because 60 percent of the children waiting in foster care at the time were of a minority race (which does not match the general population breakdown).
Rep. Holmes’ statement came up in the context of an abortion debate (probably a very polite, reasonable discussion, since it was being led by white male Republicans in Alabama /s), who were trying to argue that abortion should be eliminated because adoption. Holmes also pointed out the “my abortion is valid, hers is not” dichotomy of white conservatives, which comes up so often.
While the argument that adoption negates the need for abortion is wrong on so many other levels (the woman still has to carry unwanted/unsafe pregnancy to term, the woman still has to incur COST of unwanted/unsafe pregnancy, etc.), Rep. Holmes was still RIGHT. It’s not a catch-all solution because minority children – PARTICULARLY black children – are still significantly less likely to get adopted than white children.
Calling Rep. Holmes a racist or claiming he hates interracial families is just so obviously wrong it makes my head spin. This is the man who introduced legislation to make interracial marriages legal in Alabama. In 2000. Because there was still a statute on the Alabama books in 2000 banning interracial marriages. As in, this century. That’s the Alabama we’re dealing with here.
Interracial families should be championing this man for (albeit histrionically) calling attention to the fact that there are still huge race disparities in our foster and adoption systems in the US.
The only mistake Rep. Holmes made was saying so in a way that was so easy for Republicans desperate to detract from their own stupid statements to misconstrue.