Race and color continue to be unresolved issues in our society-inextricably tied and merged with issues of power, status, and inequality-that mock American claims of being a democratic land of equal opportunity. Race and color profoundly influence the lives of all within our society, governing the choices one makes and the choices one believes she has. Issues of race and poverty in American society directly contribute to the disproportionate numbers of Black children remaining in the foster care system for longer periods of time than other children, due to a shortage of approved Black adoptive homes.
I believe that race cannot be ignored. The key to successful living as a minority person in a discriminating, denigrating society is to have positive affiliations with others like oneself, from whom one can gain support and affirmation, and can learn coping skills. Most individuals are not “colorblind”; skin color and perceptions of racial difference trigger within the beholder unconscious stereotypical expectations and assumptions which then often govern any ensuing social interactions. Thus, to promote and protect a child’s “best interests,” race is an important factor to be considered when evaluating the appropriateness of prospective adoptive parents. Does the person have the awareness, capacity, and sensitivity to prepare the nonwhite child to handle the challenges that will be encountered because of the child’s racial appearance? Advocates for transracial adoption who naively espouse a “Love conquers all” philosophy may represent an assault on the Black family and Black community …
Is the transracial adoption debate about the needs of Black children or “the right of white people to parent whichever children they choose?” About adults seeking to establish a right to parent that about meeting the needs of Black children.
Perry offers scholars a useful framework for understanding differing positions and views about transracial adoption. Her conceptual paradigm posits two distinctly different perspectives-liberal colorblind individualism and color and community consciousness. “These two perspectives go far beyond transracial adoption; they represent different approaches to the basic analysis of race and racism in America” Perry argues that aspects of the perspective of liberal colorblind individualism, “however well-intentioned, …may actually reinforce the subordination of Black people in general and Black children in particular …Moreover, the discourse of colorblind individualism, ostensibly about individual rights and interests, often reflects the exercise of power by whites as a dominant group.”
Language can be powerful; it can evoke negative images and stereotypes that harm those who are discussed. Perry strongly chides scholars “from the colorblind perspective [who] advocate the adoption of Black children by whites but do not argue that white children should be dispersed and isolated in Black families, schools, or other institutions in Black communities in order to further the goal of integration.” Perry draws an interesting comparison between the colorblind liberal perspective on transracial adoption and the school desegregation process of the 1950s and 1960s; “in both situations, Black children are removed from Black communities and placed into white communities allegedly to benefit both the individual children and the society.” Clearly, de jure segregation-an official wrong predicated on a belief in Black inferiority-affronted “the dignity and humanity of Black people…however desegregation of the public schools has yet to lead to racial equality.” Some scholars have recognized the school desegregation resulted in losses and negative side effects for Black children and the Black community.
She states that “the emphasis on placing Black children in white homes raises the concern that less emphasis is being places on strengthening Black homes…The key to changing the conditions of Black people lies in strengthening Black communities and families, as opposed to token desegregation into the white world”.
If only such energy could be spent improving the material circumstances that so profoundly affect the welfare of the vast majority of Black children who will continue to be raised in Black families in Black communities. This raises the question of whether the transracial adoption debate is really about the interests of Black children at all, or is it instead about the right of white people to parent whichever children they choose.”
Redefining the Transracial Adoption Controversy by Ruth-Arlene W. Howe