Dr. John Raible has a great post, Same Story, Different Decade on his blog. Read it.
In the three decades since I went through my own tumultuous
adolescence, we have learned enough about race and the persistence of
racism, that we should be able to anticipate, if not predict outright,
how this young man’s white classmates and neighbors will respond to his
presence in their otherwise all-white social environment. In short, we
know that racism persists, and that there are steps we can (and must)
take to protect and support children of color who live in these
hostile, unwelcoming environments where miseducated whiteness is the
norm. We also have learned enough about adoption and its lifelong
consequences to be in a position to better prepare families like his
for the questions, concerns, and predictable developmental milestones
experienced by many adoptees.
and adoption, parents still have not received the message. Too many
families still think it is acceptable in 2009 to raise children of
color in oppressive white environments as the only brown person for
miles around. How many more panels must we sit through where adopted
teens tell their heart-wrenching stories before agencies will stop
approving the social isolation of adoptees of color? How many more
adoptees must sit on panels to share with audiences their stories of
single-handedly integrating their otherwise all-white communities? Far
too many transracial adoptees still are forced to endure racial and
cultural isolation. To read the rest click here.
I agree wholeheartedly with his post. Things should be changing. Social workers think they've done a better job.
Unfortunately, the only way we'll know for sure is when the children of today are the adults of tomorrow.
What will their stories be?
I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed by Dr. Raible, but I do have a question. When he goes on to say:
“It is morally and ethically irresponsible for agencies to sanction the placement of children of color by themselves as THE diversity experience for otherwise all-white communities. It is, to be blunt, unfair. Social workers who create transracial families must require adoptive parents to already be living in integrated, multicultural neighborhoods BEFORE they are granted the privilege of receiving a child of color.”
Is it accurate/enough to frame all of this as just “unfair”? Because I can’t imagine individual social workers, much less entire institutions doing anything to change something just because it’s “unfair”. Is it possible to start labeling the practice of raising a child of color in “oppressive white environments” abusive? Or a form of neglect? Cause that’s kinda what it feels like to me.
Given the adoptive parents I’ve met thus far, I would think such a requirement would be met with some complaint.
I am not sure how to develop this kind of sensitivity in social workers, let alone prospective parents. Is it possible?
I am white. And the one time I put my children of color into a situation that was nearly entirely white, I immediately felt uncomfortable. I cannot experience their perspective, but they seemed surrounded. And I knew I would never put them in that position again. By the 2nd time someone pointed out they were DIFFERENT I had a horrible headache and we left.
Yet here I live in an extremely diverse place and I have met adoptive parents that wouldn’t think twice about it.
Thanks for the shout out, JR! And I love that pic of us. You might want to update your link since I moved the “Same Story, Different Decade “post to the Pages section of my blog.