Ahhh The New Year

Well Dear Readers,

Its been an amazing run so far at A Birth Project and I just want to take a moment to thank all of you who have become regular readers, commenters and colleagues! Its been fun, crazy, emotional and exciting since I created a space to ‘obsess’ about my life as a TRA, my search and reunion process, my childhood as an adoptee, my adult life as a black woman.

I spent a bit of yesterday re-reading my blog from the early entries in July 2005, to later entries in this past year. I hope that I can continue to contribute something valuable to this conversation about the social and economic politics of race and adoption. Its become quite a big part of my life in a way that I never expected. I’ll be doing speaking engagements and performances all this year, so I look forward to meeting those adoptees who are struggling with what ‘this all means’. I think the best thing that I have learned in the past year is that this process of understanding how much adoption has really impacted my life is a forever process.

I forgot to tell you all that I was on the radio yesterday for a show in Seattle, WA. The show was on transracial adoption and black identity. It was pretty cool, on 1150AM from 1-2 pm on a show called Afrigenesis. I wish they had archives online so you could hear the show, but as soon as I get the CD copy of the recording I’ll put it up!

I’ve got some fun things planned this year for ABP – whew – its gonna be a busy one!  Look for more of the video blogs on hair, more about my search and reunion process, and of course, look for Ungrateful Daughter at a performance space near you!

***

I’m sure by now you all heard about Oprah opening a new school for girls in South Africa. Its a great thing to open educational institutions and I dont have issues with her not opening up a school in the U.S. However, I DO have issues with her response to the question of why she didnt open up a school in the U.S. Oprah said:

“I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there,” she says. “If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school.”

Ummmm.. I just want to say to Oprah – can you come to West Oakland and ask the students in our schools what they need? I’m betting it aint Ipods, tennishoes or those uniforms she claims were so important to ‘her girls’. How about freakin books ms. thang?  How about money for art and music teachers? How about clean bathrooms and some beauty in our hallways? How about assisting in the payment of teachers salaries or utilizing your power to advocate for teachers to get paid more? or how about just reconsidering your position and ability to talk about ‘inner city’ kids all together, when it is clear that your economic distance from them clouds your ability to see the truth of their needs.

 I mean- really.

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6 thoughts on “Ahhh The New Year

  1. I’m glad that the radio program ended up working out!! I wasn’t able to tune in, though, due to class. What did you end up talking about? Was Kevin Henry the host?

  2. I’ve been on South Side Chicago and there are no signs of help from the likes of Michael Jordan or Oprah, media stars who were made in Chicago.

    This from the richest black woman in America.
    Freakin Bill Gates has done more to build schools in Bronzeville.

    Of course, white kids in the suburbs are also more infatuated with ipods and sneakers than education, but they still get all the best schools.

    Why not build a sister school on the South Side and have an exchange program with students in So. Africa?

  3. When I worked in downtown Baltimore way back when, my students could have used some new textbooks (they had to share 3 kids to one book), and I could have used a real classroom. We were in an office (read “closet”) — Me, five 5th graders, two 3rd graders and three 1st graders. Oh, and two hamsters.

    e

  4. Hey I’m with Oprah she is doing what she is called to do. We have libraries and free schools in this country.As horrible as some of these schools here may be there is still a chance at success no matter how slim.
    In Africa they have no hope if they can’t afford school period. Besides we don’t know what Oprah has done in private for young people in this country but even if she has done nothing there are successful black folk in the community who are not doing ditty squat for those coming behind them and that is the really problem. Each one teach one,mentoring is a powerful tool and it cost nothing.As far as an exchange with these kids from Africa what a wonderful idea, now that’s something to write O about.
    Last but not least this blog is so needed thanks for sharing.

  5. Oooh, lots and lots to say here, so I’ll just say that while the truth of what is needed in the public schools has been spoken to, I think that is a truth that reflects what the parents, teachers and administrators would say are greatly desired.

    Maybe it is unfair and creates a schism between the Lady O and the rest of us, but I gotta think that the kids, were they to be asked, would probably not ask for music instruction or the likes. Of course, some of them would, but then maybe interviewer or surveyor bias would have to be taken out of the asking ,and all the odds made even , for the kids to realize the question is what do they need IN SCHOOL, as students?

    Hmmm…that revises even my hard position on the matter.

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