I recently read an article about what racial socialization means in the context of transracial adoption. The writer of the article asked ‘what will become of the transracial adoptees raised in white spaces if they are not prepared to encounter our highly racialized society?’
He stated that ‘just as blacks socialize their children of issues of racial discrimination and “otherness,” whites socialize their children (albeit unknowingly) in the unearned privileges of whiteness.’ He raised the issue of how black/Asian children being raised by Caucasian parents would be viewed by black childcare advocates and how their race would be called into question:
“Thus, when black childcare advocates see whites raising black children, they call these children’s race lessons into question. Do white parents have the cultural foresight to teach their children to be aware of the racism of society, particularly when few whites have any interest in discussing race and their role in the maintenance of white privilege?
How can white parents raise black children when they express difficulty in having honest and open conversations about race with people of color?”
He went on to say: “However, unlike other groups of whites, white adoptive parents of black children have a vested interest in understanding racial mistreatment, and not just from an individual perspective but from a larger societal framework.”
“Communicating this kind of knowledge to adopted black children (i.e., racial socialization) provides them with ample protection and allows them to more effectively confront the negative consequences of human prejudice and bigotry.”
While I agree with his views on racial socialization and concerns with transracial adoptions, I am of the opinion that adopted black and Asian adoptees raised in Caucasian household will fair no different than biracial children who grow up in one-parent Caucasian/Asian homes. How do those parents impart racial awareness to their children? How do they explain their children’s racial background to inquiring strangers? How do they raise their children to accept both racial social norms, traditions, cultures?
We live in a generation that’s more socially, culturally and racially accepting than any generation before us. As a result of that, transracial adoptive parents are aware of some of the issues that may face their adopted children. They currently deal with the stares, the questions and ideology of raising a child racially different than their biological ones.
They deal with teaching their young children a language different than they are accustomed to, they deal with introducing a different cuisine to their young ones and other coping skills. I agree with the writer of the article on ‘What White Adoptive Parents of Black Children Should Know’ when he says:
“Given the historical tenacity of injustice, it is therefore vital that white adoptive parents help their children develop a positive racial identity and a strong set of coping skills. This might be difficult for many whites, having had very limited experience with and superficial knowledge of race-based oppression.”
However, living in a country like the United States, the effects of racial identity brings up the issue of racism. When teaching children about race, it starts to create an awareness of:
- a racial identity that’s greater in comparison to other races
- a racial identity that’s lesser in comparison to other races
In my personal opinion, one of the main reason Caucasian adoptive parents adopt across the race lines is to begin a culture of erasing the racial divide that has existed for centuries. Imagine how this will impact our society 100 years from now?
Even if unknowingly transracial adoptees are raised in the ‘unearned’ privileges of ‘whiteness’, the color of their skin will hinder any form of imposing said privilege. There are no ways around this, even though every child deserves a privileged upbringing.
- Hollywood Parents: The Transracial Adoption Edition (kolorblindmag.com)
- What White Adoptive Parents of Black Children Should Know (kolorblindmag.com)
- what adoptive parents should know (beyondtwoworlds.com)
- We’ll take adoption away from councils: Minister warns town halls that bar would-be parents (dailymail.co.uk)
- Friends in Adoption to Hold Adoption Workshop in Saratoga Springs, NY This Coming Friday; Registration Open to All Families (pr.com)
- Racial matching in adoption a white obsession, poll shows (telegraph.co.uk)
- New Study: Black Students Who Are Taught Racial Pride Do Better In School (clutchmagonline.com)