There are three randomly connected ideas/facts that have come together for me in a rather disturbing way.
First is a footnote from the conference paper I’m working on:
As is often the single most common comment made when international adoption is discussed in online forums, the question arises: “Why not take care of American children first?” The fact that child poverty reaches levels of sixty percent in certain regions of the United States only highlights the readily apparent hypocritical gloss to such international efforts.
Second is a posting from Twitter today, basically stating that there are more black American males in prison now than were slaves in 1850.
Third is another footnote from the paper focusing on an article in the Toronto Star entitled “Unequal justice: Aboriginal and black inmates disproportionately fill Ontario jails” [link]:
This idea deserves further research and analysis. Populations whose children first served as adoptees are often over-represented among the incarcerated. Beyond the obvious class markers at play here, might we further say that the attempt to integrate the marginalized via adoption, once it is seen as failed, results in a fallback position which has a historical precedent in the poorhouse?
I’m thinking of adoption in terms of social experiment. I’m thinking of adoptees who are being deported as punishment for perceived infractions of the law. I’m thinking of the punishment that Calvinist capitalism would have the poor suffer as their lot in life.
I’m intrigued by this from the article:
But consider the cost of crime, the justice system and incarceration on Canadian families, communities and Canadian taxpayers. Study after study has shown that investing in families, education and mentally and physically healthy communities is less costly than the tab we are paying for sick, poor communities in terms of health costs, opportunities lost, policing, courts and jails.
Could we say that adoption is, economically and politically speaking, akin to “house arrest” of marginal populations? Is this why we get “time off” for “good behavior”? Is this why reunion and/or return are imagined as “freeing”?