Monday, January 08, 2007

CNN show...

Joe and I watched Paul Zahn's Now on CNN this past Friday evening and were totally disgusted with her coverage of the CCAA's guideline changes and the discussion she lead with her panel of three. I'm not sure if you happened the catch the show, but if you did you were probably equally insulted by it. I found myself actually yelling at the TV screen...that's how worked up I was listening to the panel discussion.

They showed a short video piece with a CNN correspondent in China talking about the recent changes. They focused on just certain changes including the body mass index limit of 40, no more singles, no anti-depressant drugs, the income level change, and that prospective parents can't have facial deformities (which they twisted into sounding that only beautiful people need apply). After the video piece, they spoke to a female attorney who works on weight-discrimination cases and wrote a book on this topic. She spoke about how unfair the new body mass index limit is and made absolutely no valid points.

At this point, Paula Zahn turns it over to the panel including one female (Maldonado) and two men (Cenk Uygur and Roland Martin) who turn the entire idea of Chinese adoption into a sickening racial debate. Here's the transcript of the panel discussion from CNN's website.

ZAHN: Obviously the Chinese government is making it clear it wants to be more selective will prospective parents, it wants to place these children in the best family environment it can. Isn't that justified?

MALDONADO: Absolutely. I think we all know that China is a sovereign country. It has the right to place whatever restrictions on foreigners who are seeking to adopt their children that it wants. And adoption is really about supply and demand, and the reality is that there are many more Americans, many more Westerners seeking to adopt children from China than there are children available so the Chinese government can decide to do whatever it wants.

MARTIN: OK, why? What's the big deal with Chinese children? Enlighten me, please, help me out.

ZAHN: You understand this better than anybody. Why don't we see more Americans adopting black foster children?

MARTIN: That's my point. What's the big deal with Chinese children? Why the infatuation?

ZAHN: You think it's something with the color of their skin? Is that what you're driving at?

MARTIN: Maybe they think they can adopt a smart kid that is going to grow up to be a doctor? I don't know. They need to realize that's called training, not just inherent, it will happen when they're born.

Angel, help me out.

MALDONADO: Absolutely. This is something I've been looking into for a long time. Americans have this love affair with girls from China. There is this belief, this perception, irrational as it might be that if you adopt a little girl from China, she's going to be intelligent, she's going to be more lovable.

MARTIN: Like the porcelain doll.

MALDONADO: We definitely see that idea of the beautiful Chinese little girl, as compared to do, they really want to adopt a black boy.

ZAHN: What difference does it make if the prospective parent has a facial deformity and the prospective parent weighs 70 more pounds than the scale says they should weigh.

UYGUR: I love the idea of them weighing people. All right. So you know, first of all, okay, so gay parents are out. That's a clear rule, but then also Dennis Hastert's out because he's way too fat. They put him on the scale, sorry. But I'd probably be out.

I don't know, maybe I'd have to go on an exercise regimen, to do the body mass indexes they pinch you in all of these different places.

ZAHN: You can fake it, suck it in.

UYGUR: Not me.

MARTIN: Paula, you raise the question - China, first of all, they do have the right to do it, but the flipside is what is the infatuation by Americans and other foreigners when it comes to adopting Chinese children? That is a real issue there, and why do we avoid other children and not just -- children who are here in America, who are looking for homes, and who just like Chinese orphans want a nice place to live.

ZAHN: But realistically, how are you ever going to change that bias?

UYGUR: I think a lot of people are looking for Muslim children these days.

ZAHN: Yeah, right.

UYGUR: Because we started the Iraq war and there's so many orphans. I'm sure they're getting a lot of Iraqi children, right? No, of course, they think it's cute and they're smart and it's really dumb, actually, of course. Roland's right, it's all in the training and it's a shame because all over the world there's other kids that need to be adopted especially in Africa, but for once, the celebrities are doing the right thing there trying to foster that.

MARTIN: Call the queen of Africa, Angelina Jolie. She can hook you up.

MALDONADO: I think what we need to do is we need to break down some of the misconceptions. For example, people believe if they're adopting a child from China, the child is going to be healthier than a child they adopt in the United States and that is just not true. Even if the child is born ...

ZAHN: It defies logic. The quality of the medical care many of these kids have suffered through the first several months of life.

MARTIN: What also ignores logic is that China is having an explosion when it comes to obesity as well so maybe they should start their own million pound challenge like we started in Chicago to deal with Chinese folks who don't want to have overweight kids.

ZAHN: What are some of the other assumptions you think people in America make about the native intelligence of children based on whether you're Hispanic - We had a guest on the other night when you were with us suggesting that Hispanic parents don't take education as seriously as some other sets of our population. There's a very complicated picture here.

UYGUR: And America is changing and some of the assumptions are going to change because of that. What really happens isn't of course that Asians are smarter. Immigrant families foster a culture where they work hard and emphasize education so Jewish families went through that, Asian families went through that. But now Eastern European families are coming and doing the same thing and African families are coming and doing the same thing. So I can't wait for 10, 20 years down the line, everybody's like I've got to have an African child. Because they're all geniuses.

MARTIN: Remember, those are learned traits that you learn based upon how you have been raised.

UYGUR: Of course.

MARTIN: You are simply not born, hey that, kid will have a great work ethic because they were born to an immigrant family. It simply doesn't work that way because you got some lazy immigrant families. What do you think the assumptions Americans make about kids of Asian descent even here in America, they'll work hard, they'll own their store someday.

UYGUR: They'll be brilliant.

ZAHN: All right. Hispanic ...

MALDONADO: Well the idea about Hispanic kids, it's sort of mixed. I think the stereotypes about Hispanic kids are both positive and negative. They believe that Hispanic kids are likely to work harder than black kids, but they also believe that they're not going to be as intelligent as Asian kids.

ZAHN: Muslim kids.

UYGUR: They're going to grow up to be violent.

Who is adopting a Muslim kid? Has anyone adopted a Muslim kid in the last 20 years in America?

MARTIN: You've got somebody sitting there saying, keep the Muslim kid out of chemistry class. Keep them away.

ZAHN: How about black kids?

Do you think the average American out there makes the assumption they'll be lazy and never make it through high school?

MARTIN: I think they probably assume they're going to sing for them like Jay Z and play like in the NBC.

ZAHN: Anybody would love to have Jay Z's career.

MARTIN: I'd rather have Bob Johnson's. He's a billionaire and Jay Z isn't.

ZAHN: Thank you, Roland Martin, Solangel Maldonado. Thank you, all. Appreciate your time.

From what I understand, CNN received an outpouring of e-mail from the adoption community after this show aired and for this reason they are revisiting this subject again this evening. This time they are supposed to have actual adoption experts to discuss the subject...what a novel idea! Why they didn't have a panel of adoption experts to begin with is beyond me.

I'll be watching this evening and I really hope that they set the record straight. As a waiting adoptive parent, I am sickened by the idea that Americans would adopt from China so that we can have a super smart, extra beautiful child. Talk about racial profiling!! This thought NEVER crossed our minds. We are adopting from China for many reasons, but this is NOT one of them!'ve done a HUGE disservice to the China adoption community!


M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

Ugh - that "interview" is unbelievable. Thanks for posting the transcript. I've heard so many rumblings about this show but we didn't catch it and I couldn't have even imagined how idiotic they were.

Anonymous said...

Yep, second that "thanks". Gave me a chance to see what kind of ignorance actually happened....what a disappointment....

Lisa and Tate said...

Oh man... I didn't get to see this!!! It's a good thing I didn't cause I know just from what I read above that I would have been so upset, I would have stroked out!!! Now then, where would Tate have been if that would of happened!!! My dad saw the show and was enraged!!! He is such a passive fun loving guy that just him getting enraged about it must have meant something!!!


Anonymous said...

YEP! I was yelling at the screen too! So irritated by it all!

Anonymous said...

Amen to all your comments. We didn't see the show, but read the transcript and were absolutely baffled that this would actually air on television.

Tammy said...

Do you believe it? Makes you wonder about the credibility of any CNN story, since you know how inaccurate this piece is.

I took the time to let them know how I felt, along with thousands of other adoptive parents.

They weren't very successful with damage control on Tuesday either.