do you want an orphan with that?

It’s a horrifically crass thing to joke about, but here at Jackfruity we’re all about crassness (not to mention ending clauses with dangling prepositions), so I’ll go ahead and say it: if I had 100 shillings for every time I’ve been asked to take a Ugandan child back to the States with me, I’d be able to…well, I’d be able to take a Ugandan child back to the States with me.

It’s a request that makes me even more squirmy and uncomfortable than Jay-Z dressed up as a Maasai warrior, and each time I hear it I retreat a little further into my shell of paranoid mzungu-ness, wanting desperately for my skin color not to scream look at me, I’m a FOREIGNER!

Madonna, as you already know if you’ve peeked out from your hermit cave once in the last month, seems to have no qualms about it. Her adoption of a Malawi “orphan” is one of the most-discussed celebrity events of October. Of all the comments I’ve read about this much-debated attempt at charity, Mad Kenyan Woman’s is by far the funniest:

This is a new form of tourism. Visit us! We have teeming wildlife, colourful natives and unspoiled vistas. Further, in your guest suites you will find our complimentary fruit basket, bottle of champagne, box of assorted chocolates, complimentary tickets allowing you to enter the lottery to buy the African country of your choice, your personal slave and of, course, an adoptable infant guaranteed to be cute, black, lovable and incapable of speech and thus at your complete mercy. Should you decide that you wish to adopt, please fill out the form conveniently placed in your bathroom next to our complimentary bottle of Chanel, and drop it off at the reception desk anytime before checkout. Should you be in any way dissatisfied with your infant, we would be happy to make an exchange and to customize an infant for you according to your specifications of age, sex, tint, height and hair growth. (Additional charges may apply if we have to wrest your desired baby away from its parents, but you have our quality guarantee that these charges will NEVER exceed fifty dollars U.S.)

While I don’t come down as harshly on Madonna as she does (the pop star’s also contributing $4 million to a Child Center and other development projects in the country), I do think her criticism of the adoption is worth a read just for the writing. Another good piece on the same topic, written from the point of view of a Malawian, is at Afrika-Aphurika (via Global Voices).