White on Black: can White parents teach Black adoptive children how to understand and cope with racism?

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Smith, Darron T.
Juarez, Brenda G.
Jacobson, Cardell K.

Smith D.T., Juarez B.G., and Jacobson C.K. 2011. "White on Black: can White parents teach Black adoptive children how to understand and cope with racism?" Journal of Black Studies, 42(8), pp:1195-1230.


In this article, the authors examine White parents’ endeavors toward the racial enculturation and inculcation of their transracially adopted Black children. Drawing on in-depth interviews, the authors identify and analyze themes across the specific race socialization strategies and practices White adoptive parents used to help their adopted Black children to develop a positive racial identity and learn how to effectively cope with issues of race and racism. The central aim of this article is to examine how these lessons about race help to connect family members to U.S. society’s existing racial hierarchy and how these associations position individuals to help perpetuate or challenge the deeply embedded and historical structures of White supremacy. The authors use the notion of White racial framing to move outside of the traditional arguments for or against transracial adoption to instead explore how a close analysis of the adoptive parents’ racial instructions may serve as a learning tool to foster more democratic and inclusive forms of family and community

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