Racial Exposure and Neighborhood Choices of White Parents of Black and Multiracial Transracially Adopted Children in the United States

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Kathryn SWEENEY, Purdue University Calumet, USA
While past research on racial socialization tends to focus on providing cultural knowledge and pride, this paper looks at exposure to environments as a means of understanding how white parents prepare their transracially adopted children for racial discrimination in the United States.  Neighborhood choices and decisions of where to send kids to school and who to befriend are analyzed using in-depth interview data from 19 white adoptive parents of black and multiracial adopted children to understand how they approach racial socialization.  Analysis illustrates how those that adopted transracially both domestically and internationally stressed that they did not want their children to be in environments where they would be the only person of color because they were concerned about their child experiencing racism and feeling isolated.  Even so, they tended to live in white neighborhoods and send their children to predominantly white schools.  Parents expressed being conflicted by what they saw as opposing measures and perceptions of school quality and racial/ethnic diversity.  The parents in this study said that they sought out social support through organizations and friendships to expand their social networks for themselves and their children.  Findings are not meant to challenge or support transracial adoption, rather to gain insight into racial socialization practices and to inform social worker training, pre-adoption counseling and post-adoption support services, particularly for those adopting across race lines.