Saturday, November 4, 2006

Hey Borat! Don't Insult My Kid!

The adoptive parents of kids from Kazakhstan have a message for “Borat” Sagdiyev, the cartoonishly crude Central Asian character from a hot new movie mockumentary: their babies don’t hail from a country of ugly, hairy, horse-urine-swilling anti-Semites.
    “It’s completely inaccurate,” said Susan Saxon, administrative executive director of the Providence-based Kazakh Aul of the U.S. Association for American & Kazakh Families. “It’s a beautiful country with wonderful people. They don’t drink horse urine and the women are beautiful.”
    With yesterday’s release of “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” Americans are being introduced to the bristly-headed Borat, an oafish “reporter” from a backward homeland where letting women ride in a bus counts as social progress.
    Borat is played by British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen. Appearing in the character of Borat, Cohen recently spoke on CNN about Borat’s cross-country pursuit (in the movie) of voluptuous American sex symbol Pamela Anderson.
     “She’s unlike any Kazakh woman I had ever seen,” the Borat character said. “Pamela only had teeth that grow in the inside of her mouth and she had more hair on her head than on her back.”
    Those and other derogatory statements from Borat’s publicity blitz are upsetting parents of the once-orphaned Kazakh children.
    Amanda Clegg, 7, of College Station, Texas, burst into tears when she heard Borat go on VH1 and say Kazahkstan is not a good country for adoption. “It’s hurtful to young kids who don’t get satire,” said her mother, Susan. “She knows she’s from Kazakhstan. It’s not something we try to hide.”
    Alicia Riddell of Bar Harbor, Maine, adopted her daughter from Kazakhstan when she was 4. Now 9, the girl was at home with her family when she heard Kazakhstan mentioned on TV and ran into the room. What the girl saw next was an interview with Borat in which he said would not want to marry a Kazakh woman because they are ugly, her mother said. “She kept saying, ‘Why is he being mean to the Kazakh people?’ ” said Riddell.
    Parents of Kazakh children worry that Borat could become a lasting cultural phenomenon.

   “I think that would be hard to hear: ‘You never want to adopt from Kazakhstan,’ ”said Jill Updegraph of Boxford, who adopted her daughter, Darya, 4, from Kazakhstan in 2003. “We don’t know how it’s going to hit them at different stages of their life.”

From the Boston Herald by Laura Crimaldi

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