Friday, November 10, 2006

Madonna's Madonna Complex

In recent years, the "in" thing for celebrities has been to adopt orphans from third-world countries and display them to the paparazzi as if they were the latest piece of jewelry. Madonna has been the latest offender/defender of these orphans and has made this issue relevant again.

The issue in question? Not particularly having celebrities use people as ornaments, but the idea of trans-racial adopting, and whether or not that's an action that should be condoned.

This kind of activity isn't particularly new. This kind of practice has been going on for years, so much so that it has become part of Popular Culture already, as manifested in Arrested Development.

Certainly, there is a value to be had for trans-racial adoptions. Children who would have otherwise have grown up poor in a third world country without proper care or medication literally have a new world open to them.

Then again, it also has its own problems. What happens to that particular child's own culture? What about his identity? What happens if he/she's alienated in the predominantly White society that he/she's presumably going to be living in?

There's also the question of what the point of trans-racial adoption is. Why adopt people from another country if there are orphans in your own country that you can adopt as well? Adopting one child is certainly not going to alleviate poverty. What are the implications of trans-racial adopting, and should they be encouraged/discouraged?

In any case, the assessment of values in this debate probably boils down to two things - the child in particular and third-world children and the society in general.

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