Should African-Americans have a problem with Sandra Bullock adopting a black child?


Bullock's adoption of black baby stirs debate

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
May 4, 2010 -- Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)
Sandra Bullock made news recently with the announcement she has  adopted an African-American baby from New Orleans.
Sandra Bullock made news recently with the announcement she has adopted an African-American baby from New Orleans.

(CNN) -- It was supposed to be just a picture of a happy new mother showing off her beautiful adopted son.

But when Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock appeared on the cover of People magazine with her newly adopted African-American baby, the image stirred discussion in the black community and on blogs aimed at that readership.

"We have a poll up right now on the site that asks a question about interracial adoption," said Marve Frazier, chief executive officer of and chief creative officer for its parent company, Moguldum. "For the most part people have been saying it's great that she adopted a baby from the United States."

Still, the topic of transracial adoptions is a sensitive one, made even more so when the adopted parent is a celebrity.

In a piece appearing on the site Black Voices, writer Lola Adesioye notes that Bullock joins other stars, including Madonna and Angelina Jolie, who have adopted black children. Madonna and Jolie's children are African and Bullock's new son, Louis, is from New Orleans, Louisiana.

"As Bullock's case shows, a white celebrity adopting a black child raises questions as well as suspicions," Adesioye writes. "Why do they want a black baby as opposed to a white one, when there are also white kids who are up for adoption?" CEO Frazier said Bullock had already engendered sympathy from her readers when news broke of alleged infidelities by Bullock's husband, Jesse James.

"She just seems like such a regular person," Frazier said. "She's never really been on that 'Hollyweird' trip and that makes her so much more relatable."

What has thrown some fans for a loop, Frazier said, are reports of a photo of James wearing a German military hat while appearing to give a Nazi salute. The image prompted questions about James' racial views and made some African-Americans leery, Frazier said.

James' attorney, Joe Yanny, said the hat was a gift from a Jewish mentor and denied that his client was anti-Semitic. James once lived for nearly a month in an Israeli kibbutz, Yanny said.

The online magazine Clutch, which is aimed at African-American women, asked its readers "Do you think Sandra Bullock is using her new black son to curtail the negative publicity on her husband's scandalous affairs? Or is Bullock like many adoptive mothers who simply want to give children in need a happy home?"

The responses of commenters ranged from "God bless anyone who wants to adopt" to "Suspicious with the timing." One person commenting raised the parallel of Bullock's starring role as a woman whose family opens its home to a disadvantaged black football player in "The Blind Side" to her real-life adoption.

"When I saw the trailer my first thought was 'not another white savior movie!' " wrote a commenter who identified herself as "Margaret." "But in real life -- our kids need homes. I'm glad to see that Sandra Bullock chose to adopt a child from the United States. Too many of our babies are in the system."