NBC’s hit drama “This Is Us” is leading a debate about whether a Black child can be raised by a white family. Tuesday night’s episode saw parents Rebecca and Jack Pearson wanting to formally adopt Randall, their Black baby. However, doing so was no easy task, and Twitter users eagerly weighed in on what unfolded.
While a social worker assured the Pearsons that adoption would be a cinch, that proved not to be the case. Judge Bradley doesn’t think Randall, who a year earlier was abandoned at a fire station before the Pearsons took him in, should be raised by white parents.
“That child belongs with a Black family,” Judge Bradley told the Pearsons in his chambers. “How else will he see himself, understand who he is?”
Rebecca assures the judge that they’ll teach him, but the judge questions that.
“I was nine years old before I understood that I was Black,” he said. “Now I understood my skin color … but I never really understood what my blackness meant until a white man called me a n—-. And my father sat me down and he explained to me what that word meant. He didn’t sympathize or feel sorry for me because he understood all the pain that that word elicits. My father had been called that word more times in his life than he can count.”
While Rebecca later wrote an impassioned letter to the judge assuring him the Pearsons are Randall’s parents “whether you approve or not or sign a paper or not,” Judge Bradley wasn’t won over. He recuses himself and the case is handed to another Black judge, who is a woman. The Pearsons successfully adopt Randall and he grows up alongside his white brother and sister.
The plotline isn’t out of the ordinary. According to Adoption USA: A Chartbook Based on the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents, the majority of adopted children are nonwhite, but 73 percent of their parents are white.
The Emmy-nominated series, which has never shied away from issues surrounding race, decided to tweet viewers about their reactions to Judge Bradley’s reasoning.
Transracial Adoption In the News
Some vehemently disagreed.
I stilll can’t get over this judge’s remarks. It’s not like the Pearsons bought Randall from an already existing family who still wanted him. It was either be adopted, be stuck in adoption, or die. #ThisIsUs
— Nicole (@ndp1234) November 8, 2017
No I did not. I thought he was unfair and didn’t acknowledge Rebecca and Jack as his parents at all.
— tonya riley (@kyladee47) November 8, 2017
— Ms. Stacey L. Bracey (@thebraceygroup) November 8, 2017
Adoptive families must embrace the full culture of their children… no matter what. When you adopt a child, you adopt their whole existence. I don’t agree with the judge, because I know the realities of children in foster care, but this fact can’t be ignored by adoptive families
— Lawrence Powers (@lawrencepowers) November 8, 2017
Others understood where he came from.
Yes, I agree with the judge especially since we have seen how Randall was searching for a connection
— Eva Stokes Wood (@phenixpirate) November 8, 2017
Plus we already know that as Randall grew up, he had a lot of identity struggles despite all the love Rebecca and Jack have for him. So the judge is partially right, but I think Randall does appreciate his upbringing and being a Pearson #thisisus
— TV Addict (@TVAddict617) November 8, 2017
he had valid points based on his life but he did the right thing
— triptik3 (@triptik3) November 8, 2017
Skin color is actually a very important identity. The Judge did make a valid point
— Rebekah Barber (@bekah_soul) November 8, 2017