Media bias or social conditioning?

Yesterday being the end of the work week for me, I luxuriated in the joys of browsing endlessly before going to bed. I caught up on the news flitting from webzine to webzine and the snippets and excerpts from Walter Issacson’s biography of Steve Jobs caught my eye. Intrigued, I hopped over to Amazon and looked up the price of the biography. “Hmm! Must get a copy” I thought even as I spied the link to a preview of the first chapter on the web kindle edition.

What started as an innocuous web browsing experience led to some serious thinking. After reading the story of his adoption and subsequent impact on his personality I googled Steve Job’s father. Link after link turned up spewing the life story of his biological father. Now I was definitely disturbed. What about the parents who raised him or the sister who grew up with him I wondered. Or even his biological mother or sister? It took some digging to find whatever sparse information there was.

I shut the laptop down and lay back wondering what it meant for my children. The words Real, Original, First swam in and out of my mind’s eye. As an adoptive parent I often forget the adoptive part. I focus on the verb. The act of parenting. Kay and Cee are my children. Period. I am well aware that they have parents who gave birth to them. They are no less important or relevant. Often the only person I feel who shares my joy at our girls growth and milestones are their other mother. We are equals. No more. No less. Each having a role in our children’s lives.

So, why was this media obsession with Steve Job’s birth father bothering me? Was it because he was of Arab descent? Was the ethnicity that was driving the frenzy? Or was it the ingrained societal conditioning that blood trumped all else?

What do you think?

12 comments

  1. Hi,

    Don’t comment very often but I love reading your blog. I have also started reading the biography of Steve Jobs and I think that the reason that the biological father is more in focus is simply because he is the only one alive and also because Steve Jobs never really tried to get in touch with him and as usual there are all these discussions on why he did what he did. But having read the first parts of the book, what really strikes me is the intense admiration and love that Steve jobs has for his adoptive (just using the word to make the distinction) father and how he always wanted to hang out with him, how he absorbed many business ideas from the way he saw his father handling stuff. In fact, for him his adoptive parents were the real parents and I even feel that he didn’t perhaps get to know his biological father as he didn’t want anyone to replace Paul Jobs as his father.

    Just my thoughts on it…

    Lakshmi

    • Satori, thank you for taking the time to comment. I wondered about it too. If he kept his distance from his biological father as he did not want anything to change how he felt about the man who was his father.

  2. Blood does not trump all. My daughter is my biological offspring. Having brought her home from the hospital, I often wondered what was it that draws me to her and makes me love and cherish her so much. Was it simply biology or was biology just a part of it or was it entirely something else? Was it the that fact that this particular baby’s path is life is intertwined with mine? I gave it a lot of thought and though I cannot discount the fact that hormones during childbirth play a role in the protective / loving instinct, I have to say that I would love and cherish my daughter just as much if she had been adopted. Even now, I look at her and the love I have for her and I think that I could adopt my next blessing and love the baby just as much as I do my biological child. Just food for thought…..

    • KK, I agree. But I also think that the biological connection does impact all of us at some level. I met a friend this week who shared a picture of his daughter who obviously looked very different from him. My initial reaction was to look at the picture and look back at him before I realized she probably looked like her mom or was adopted. That biological mirroring impacts children in very real ways. Adopted or biological, parenting is the same. Children feel the impact in more ways since they are the ones who had no say in their adoption.

  3. Just wanted to also mention that he did not like it when the press or anyone refers to his father as “adoptive father”. He was very close to his father and had no interest to pursue any relationship with his biological father.

  4. Noting but media frenzy. Jobs himself had nothing to do with his biological parent and cared a world for the parents that brought him up.
    That’s what eventually matters.
    A parent is not the person who makes you, but who makes you what you are.

    • That’s what I think too. I feel the fact that his biological father was Syrian and Muslim is part of what is feeding this frenzy.

  5. Oops, I commented last time from my kid’s blog-id…sorry…
    The crux of the matter being, a parent is not one who makes you, but one who makes you what you are.
    Don’t bother about the media frenzy. Media always craves for sensationalism, which is absent in normal people like Paul Jobs.

  6. Laksh,
    I just finished reading his biography.

    Steve re-emphasizes this point again and again. His adoptive parents are his parents. Period.

    It stuck me too when I was reading his biography, how little the media focused on his adoptive parents. The biography focused primarily on the adoptive parents as they are the ones who had a real hand in shaping him as to who he was. The book has few chapters dedicated to his childhood with his parents.

    Media always goes for a good story, his real parents especially in a closed adoption give a lot more of drama than the good old middle class americans his adoptive parents were.

    • Sachita, that’s the thing that fascinates me. Why are we so bothered about the appendages to the word parent. Real, Adoptive, First, Original. Do we need qualifiers? I understand that I probably view this differently because of how involved I am with this whole concept of adoption and how it affects all three sides, but somehow the stress on the qualifiers than the actual parenting bothers me. Would I feel differently if I were a biological mom? Probably.

      I have to order my copy of the biography soon. Should make for a good read I think.

  7. you got me piqued about his biography now. have to get my hands on it. from what i have heard and read, Jobs had utmost admiration for his adoptive father but that did not deter him from giving his biological father the place he deserves in his life. at the end of the day, it doesnt really matter what your status ( adoptive or biological) is as a parent ..its your actions forward that count the most and set the path for your kids.

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