You may or may not have heard that on Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show she and the show panel showed a picture of the Romney family as one of the “photos of the year”.
The photo shows the large family with newest member, Kieran Romney, sitting on the knee of his grandfather, Mitt Romney.
Not really news-worthy…except Kieran is adopted, and happens to be black. Apparently, the Melissa Harris-Perry Show finds this to be news worthy.
And you know what? I agree… I think trans-racial adoptions should be discussed more in mainstream media.
Unfortunately, sadly, and not surprisingly, Melissa Harris-Perry and her team decided to go the sensational route and missed a huge opportunity to discuss mixed-race adoptions in a way that may enlighten the viewer.
Instead, they made a cringe-worthy attempt to be funny at the expense of a child (who has absolutely no control over what color his family is).
Watch the clip below:
What is even more heartbreaking to me is that they are mocking a child who has experienced a huge loss already during his young life… loss and trauma so great we cannot completely grasp the complexity of it. Researchers are still are still discovering the immense mother-child connection made during gestation, and the loss that even a newborn experiences during adoption. This is not trying to minimize the importance of this child’s adoptive family, but we need to acknowledge as a society (especially as adoptive parents) that there is always a birth mother/first mother/first father/family loss, out of respect and continued healing for the child who experienced the loss. The panel may not be educated regarding this significant loss, but it is even more upsetting to watch their mockery of this child’s life through the understanding that significant trauma has occurred.
I also think about the birth family, who may or may not have had a say in who would raise their child. Regardless, it hurts me to think of how they would react when watching this segment on the news.
If the Melissa Harris-Perry Show wanted to make their segment short, they should have congratulated the family and moved on. If they wanted to make their segment controversial, why not still make it beneficial and educational for the viewer? Our society loves to romanticize adoption, especially trans-racial adoptions. Why not take a minute and use the photo as a segue to the problems that arise when white families adopt children of color and believe in the fallacy of a colorblind post-racial society? This is a serious topic that is almost completely overlooked by the media. The show has already covered the topic of corrupt trans-national adoptions, so it is even more disappointing to see them decide to go the sensational route with the Romney family adoption.
It is easy for people to be snarky about what transpired on this show, but I feel like they touched on something so serious that it should not receive a mean-spirited joke in return. It has also been disheartening to watch this turn into a liberal vs. conservative debate. Our lack of common decency and positive public discourse has nothing to do with our political beliefs- empathy is nonpartisan.
**Update** Melissa Harris-Perry has since made a heartfelt apology for the statements made on her show.