"A Healthy Black Identity" Transracial Adoption, Middle-Class Families, and Racial Socialization

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In May of 2008 the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute issued a report that questioned whether or not transracial adoption is truly in the best interest of the child, thus newly igniting the controversy over transracial adoption. While the research on this controversial topic is substantial, most studies (including those cited in the Donaldson Report) are limited in their scope. Drawing from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with middle-class young black adults, this study offers a broader perspective on transracial adoption by focusing on a range of parent/child race relationships in a class context. The impact of racialized family structure on black identity development is examined by comparing the experiences of young black adults raised in families with two black parents (monoracial), one white and one black parent (biracial), and two white parents (transracial). This article also addresses a void in the literature by focusing on the impact socioeconomic class has on identity formation, particularly middle-class black identity. Results indicate that the formative experiences of young black adults who differ in terms of racialized family structure but share a class status are largely similar. These similarities challenge a number of assumptions that have been made in prior transracial adoption research.


Butler-Sweet, Colleen. "A Healthy Black Identity" Transracial Adoption, Middle-Class Families, And Racial Socialization." Journal Of Comparative Family Studies 42.2 (2011): 193-212.