Is culture genetically transmitted?

Is it nature or nurture, people ask. They ask it of intelligence, sexuality and tendency towards crime. But few people ask it of culture.

And yet, NGOs and charities campaign against white people adopting black children. Madonna is only the latest victim of this fatuous tendency. It is unlikely that the same people would suggest black people are unfit to adopt white children, but that is beside the point, since the situation hardly ever arises.

But why does someone need access to 'their' culture? Culture is embued by parenting and environment. Someone with 'white' upbringing is most likely to have 'white' culture, whatever the colour of their skin. So what?

The victims of this silly policy are parents and prospective parents who desperately want to adopt and, more significantly, children who cannot be placed in a family.

The fact is there are more black children in care - in both the UK and and US - than there are black couples hoping to adopt. By contrast there are more white couples seeking to adopt than there are children (especially babies) available. Who benefits from keeping these children in local authority 'care'.

Madonna is hoping to adopt a toddler from Malawi who currently lives in an orphanage and has done since his mother died. His father is happy for her to adopt. Other members of his family are complaining, but the clear indication of one clip shown on the BBC was that they wanted the family to get more from the arrangemnt. In this case, of course, that is easy. Madonna and Guy Ritchie can easily pay for family members to visit London regularly. But is buying off the family the right approach? Why are there so many barriers to adoption when we know that state run care has such an abysmal record?

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