December 19, 2008

Campbell Brown slams Indians

Some bias, some bull

Indian groups respond to CNN’s Campbell BrownBrown’s on-air comments saw her look straight at the camera to tell the sad tale of a non-Indian Utah couple who recently had their adopted six-month-old son removed from their home.

The anchor explained that the adoptive parents “lost their son because the birth mother is part Native American,” noting that the boy’s mother is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. She said that the tribe had gone to court and ended up winning the right to take custody of the child.

“A federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act gives the tribe a legitimate claim,” Brown said, adding that the 1978 law was designed to keep Native American children with Native American families.
And:“To me, that is a ridiculous law.”

Lastly, Brown offered the following prescriptive: “If there is concern in the Native American community that children are being lost to the tribe through adoption because of unfit parents, then focus on strengthening your families so that your children won’t be parentless.”

And that was it. Until the next morning, that is, when several bloggers started posting about how a CNN anchor had disparaged ICWA and had seemed to make the presumption that Native families are inherently weak. And then the e-mails started buzzing, the phones started ringing, and calls for action were uttered.

The National Indian Child Welfare Association was one of the first Native groups to speak out on the matter, specifically framing Brown’s words as an egregious instance of media bias against Native Americans. The organization’s official statement denounced CNN for its “deeply flawed, “ill-informed,” and “deeply offensive rhetoric.”

“We denounce these ignorant and exploitive comments as the lowest point of journalistic endeavor,” the statement went on. “The true facts of this case speak volumes, beyond the frenzied attacks of irresponsible media spokespeople.”
Comment:  As the respondents said, Brown really should've covered both sides of the issue. She should've explained why the act exists and how it has worked.


modest-goddess said...

the comments on were extremely racist

Anonymous said...

Has she responded to the protests from various groups?

Rob said...

No, I don't think she responded.

For more on the story, see Lessons from Baby Talon.

Osaverde Quixote said...

Well, to be fair, she and Leslie Stahl (remember her racist story on Kennewick Man?) are both ignorant sluts. And just about every female in the MSM tv-land is a newsmodel, not a journalist.
My husband works with foster kids and they always try extra hard to keep the Native kids in "kinship" care rather than non-Native families. Fortunately it usually works out. I knew a guy in college who was 100% Apache, but was adopted by a rich white couple in Connecticut and grew up there. He came to UNM in search of his identity as well as an education. Poor guy was pretty messed up- he'll probably be searching for that identity the rest of his life. I'm sure his adoptive parents meant well, but they couldn't provide him with his own culture- and there's no "ndn" culture to speak of in CT for him to resonate with. There are good reasons for these laws.

Anonymous said...

This is a racist law, and I dont want my tax dollars going towards racists who would imagine that they are some how different from the rest of mankind by making up really lame stories about how innocent babies need their culture more than a loving family. Never heard a foster kid brag about being a foster kid. The news anchor was right. Quit denying children happy homes, and quit funding the abuse of children neglected on reservations.

Rob said...

No, it's not a racist law. Tribes are political entities, not racial entities, and have a right to protect their citizens.

For more on the subject, see Why the Indian Child Welfare Act Exists.

Anonymous said...

i am bernard from germany. strange discussion. this one anonymous tells he don't want his tax dollars to be used to prevent native children to get out of neglected native homes. he should remember his ancestors are responsible by murdering and stealing for actual poor situation. it's all okay if now he has to pay some tax dollars to easen these poor conditions as he - and you all - still in our days benefits from the original criminal causes.
Facing history (white) americans does not seem to show even the slightest compassion and shame for what their ruthless ancestors have done. this is not only about moral attitude - it has practical consequenses as the victims of these abominable crimes are still suffering and are not receiving adequate indemnisation. So pay first before nagging.