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by Guest Contributor Sumeia Williams, originally published at Ethnically Incorrect

I came across an article on the Pact website written by Elizabeth Bartholet. In it she says:

    The research does indicate some interesting differences in transracially-adopted people’s attitudes about race and race relations, which critics of transracial adoption cite as evidence that supports their position. But this evidence is positively heart-warming for those who believe that Blacks and Whites should learn to live compatibly in one world, with respect and concern for each other and with appreciation of their racial and cultural differences as well as their common humanity. The studies reveal that Blacks adopted by Whites appear more positive than Blacks raised by Blacks about relationships with Whites, more comfortable in those relationships, and more interested in a racially integrated lifestyle. They think race is not the most important factor in defining who they are or who their friends should be.

The Editor’s Commentary makes some good points concerning Bartholet’s ignorance of the realities of transracial adoptees and people of color. Part of me laughs at her myopic interpretation of the study she mentions while another, less eloquent part screams, “Duh!” Of course “Blacks adopted by Whites appear more positive than Blacks raised by Blacks about relationships with Whites, more comfortable in those relationships, and more interested in a racially integrated lifestyle.” It’s not like they have much of a choice. Being raised by white people forces the adoptee of color to be open and tolerant towards white people because “White” becomes the dominant race in their lives.

Whether transracial adoption promotes “respect and concern for each other and with appreciation of their racial and cultural differences as well as their common humanity” is questionable. It might force an adoptee to be tolerant, but it doesn’t necessarily carry over into the larger community. In fact, quite the opposite can happen, or even worse, cause an adoptee to be alienated or rejected from that community. Did Bartholet ever stop to wonder how comfortable those adopted “Blacks” would feel in relationships with other “Blacks”?

Are TRAs suppose to act as Trojan horses sent out to win over the rest of the community? Are we suppose to scream out, “Look! My white adoptive parents saved me (from you), and I turned out great! White people rock!” It seems in her zeal to create this racially tolerant world of hers, Bartholet forgets something. Most transracial adoptees don’t grow up with an appreciation for their birth ethnicities, they grow up with an appreciation for that of their adoptive parents. Continue reading