Letter: Race and adoption

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It is not true to say that those of us who advocated same- race adoption placements believed that all that was needed was a black skin, or that we thought, "What's love got to do with it?" ("Secrets, lies and the burning need to discuss adoption", 28 January).

When Lambeth Council became the first local authority to introduce same- race placement we believed that considerable damage was being done to black children by ignoring their racial and cultural identities.

These policies caused a storm, and there has been a backlash ever since from many white, middle-class people who feel that they should have free access to acquire able-bodied children, black or white.

It is true that some social workers applied what to my mind is a political definition of black, rather than looking at the needs of the individual child. But it has to be said that when placing a child they always take into account the ability of the prospective adopter to provide love, security and stability.

The subtext for much of the recent debate is the assumption that white rather than black people can best provide those important requirements to black children.


London SE22

The writer was the leader of Lambeth Council 1986-1988