Parents tote their children to ethnic restaurants and cultural festivals, but are often oblivious to the biases and racism their children sometimes face.The piece addresses Jane Jeong Trenka's important memoir, The Language of Blood, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's report, Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption, and includes quotes from JaeRan Kim of Harlow's Monkey.
“What we find is that parents are pretty good about the culture part, but not very good about the race part,” Victor Groza, professor of parent-child studies at Case Western Reserve University, said. “They don’t recognize racism.”
Groza said parents generally don’t create an atmosphere where it’s all right to talk about race as their transracially adopted children grow up in what are typically white communities.
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Susan Cox, vice president of public policy for Holt International, said the agency, which places about 600 children a year for intercountry adoption, tries to advise parents about potential risks, but the message rarely hits home.
“You could talk about all the things that could be and the things that will happen, but it’s really difficult for a family to relate to that,” Cox said. “When their child is small they think, ‘Oh, that won’t ever happen to me.’”
And here are my pleas for talking about race and racism with our transracially adopted kids:
Being Explicit About Race and Racism
Parenting While Not Noticing Race