White Parents, Black Children looks at the difficult issue of race in transracial adoptions—particularly the adoption by white parents of children from different racial and ethnic groups. Despite the long history of troubled and fragile race relations in the United States, some people believe the United States may be entering a post-racial state where race no longer matters, citing evidence like the increasing number of transracial adoptions to make this point. However, White Parents, Black Children argues that racism remains a factor for many children of transracial adoptions. Black children raised in white homes are not exempt from racism, and white parents are often naive about the experiences their children encounter.
This book aims to bring to light racial issues that are often difficult for families to talk about, focusing on the racial socialization white parents provide for their transracially adopted children about what it means to be black in contemporary American society. Blending the stories of adoptees and their parents with extensive research, the authors discuss trends in transracial adoptions, challenge the concept of "colorblind" America, and offer suggestions to help adoptees develop a healthy sense of self.
Darron T Smith —
Darron T. Smith is a frequent commentator on issues of race, including a New York Times post on transracial adoption and Haiti. He is assistant professor at Wichita State University and the coeditor of the book Black and Mormon.
Cardell K Jacobson —
Cardell K. Jacobson is Karl G. Maeser Professor at Brigham Young University and the author or editor of several books, including Statistical Handbook on Racial Groups in the United States.
Brenda G Juárez —
Brenda G. Juárez is assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, specializing in social justice education.
Smith, Darron T. White parents, black children: experiencing tranracial adoption, by Darron T. Smith, Cardell K. Jacobson, and Brenda G. Juárez. Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. 162p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781442207622; ISBN 9781442207646 e-book, contact publisher for price. Reviewed in 2012jun CHOICE.
This book furthers understanding of the essential elements underlying the question plaguing adoption services for years: does race matter? In their illuminating work, Smith (Wichita State Univ.), Jacobson (Brigham Young Univ.), and Juárez (Univ. of Massachusetts) present the findings of their systematic investigation of the experiences and perspectives of white adoptive parents and their African American children. Dramatic growth in the numbers of transracial adoptions spurred them to ask how damaging the perils are of growing up a black child in a white family, living in a socially unjust world. Their conclusions seem to be that while most white adoptive parents love their black children and do what they feel to be in the children's best interests, the experience is developmentally damaging in salient and irreversible ways, leaving the children ill equipped to deal with the micro-aggressions they face daily living in a racist society. Two weaknesses of this work diminish its impact. First, the small sample comes from extremely homogeneous and socially conservative Utah. Second, the authors appear to sew their powerful conclusions back to their data with only the thinnest of threads. That said, this is an important read for all parents, practitioners, and pundits in the field.
Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. -- J. C. Altman, Adelphi University