This post isn’t about adoption. It’s about a certain white Western mentality that contributes to attitudes about international adoption, and the way this mentality is displayed in an ad for a charitable organization called Feed A Child.
This ad is terrible. The only thing worse than this ad is what some are calling the apology for it. It is not an apology. It is nothing like an apology. It is a long version of the old derailing tactic that says “Pointing out my racism makes you racist, so you should feel bad, not me.” And it has the gall, the unmitigated brass-balled nerve, to ask for money while it’s busy not apologizing.
And goodness knows it isn’t Alza Rautenbach, founder of and spokesperson for Feed A Child, who should feel bad. The entire so-called apology is a glorification of Alza’s miraculous, impossibly racism-free mind, which is stunningly similar to the minds of “color blind” white liberals everywhere. This ad is a window into the minds of the people who will make any excuse for any international adoption, no matter how corrupt. “If one child is saved”…”Like a child, I don’t see color…race, or politics”…”Be like me and look past the racial matter.” Because I am wonderfu–I mean, saving little children is wonderful! Aren’t you ashamed, just a little bit, for not being Above All This, like me? [beatific smile]
No, she actually says “Be like me,” a white Western woman who’s never missed a meal in her life. She has also never been compared to animals because of her skin color, been perceived as representing the entire white race wherever she goes, or been asked to play the part of a servant crossed with a begging dog in an ad that could have made its point in countless other ways. What she has is “a deep-rooted affection for all children,” and this is very unusual in human beings. We must stifle our gag reflexes, because we can’t perceive her ad is so much better than we unenlightened, non-child-loving people think it is.
The white woman’s burden is so heavy. So very heavy. Alza bears it gladly because, unlike so many of us, she knows that all children are children. They are all equally deserving of care and respect. (That’s why her ad only shows a black child being fed puppy treats by a white woman.) But she won’t bear it alone: Alza wants your money! Send it now, lest she run out of Scooby snacks for the children!
I really wish this ad were its own opposite. I wish it were a commentary on how shitty and wasteful and condescending white people can be, and how we think everything and everyone else revolves around us…but it isn’t, even though it might have been (sort of) intended to be. It certainly intends to make viewers ashamed of ourselves, but only just ashamed enough that sending a small amount of money will make us feel better. It says “It’s perfectly fine for South African children to live off the scraps from your table. The scraps are all they need (whereas real children also require air, shelter, love, water, an education, and human dignity), and here you are throwing them down the Disposal when you could save a child instead! Text this number to send children who are so hungry they don’t care what they eat your garbage now! You’ll feel so good about you.”
If I’d made an ad that misfired this badly, and which seemed likely to dissuade people from helping the children I wanted to help, I’d issue an actual apology. An actual apology contains ingredients like these:
1) Remorse–the realization that one’s actions have hurt others.
2) A public admission that one was wrong and/or hurtful, intentionally or not.
3) Some kind of reparation; at the least, an assurance that one understands one’s offense and promises not to commit it again.
If you see any of those in the “apology” video, please tell me. (Seriously: This video made me so angry I kept cussing it out, so I may have missed the actual apology.)
Also, is anyone else tired of having Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata ruined by people who use it as a cheap, cheesy emotional device to get us to turn out our pockets?
Also-also, what’s “connotivity”?
*”Vomitrocious” is a word I learned on the AAAFC forum. I wish I knew who invented it, because s/he deserves the credit.