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Black identity and transracial adoption

Phoenix, Ann and Tizard, Barbara (1989) Black identity and transracial adoption. New Community, 15 (3). pp. 427-438. ISSN 0047-9586. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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Much of the opposition to transracial adoption depends on unvalidated assumptions about the identity of black and mixed race children living with their own families. We know little, however, about the ways in which these families help their children to cope with racism. Research moreover suggests that young black children often have a negative view of their racial identity. On the other hand, research also shows that black adolescents tend to have high self-esteem. Self-esteem and racial identity may derive from different contexts and relationships, and a negative attitude to one's race may not necessarily be associated with low self-esteem. Further, the concept of a ‘positive black identity’ requires critical analysis, since each of its three constituent terms is problematic. Social identities are complex phenomena, and the ways in which people perceive and think about themselves often fail to correspond to prescribed pigeonholes. This is evident, for example, in the growing number of children of mixed parentage who see themselves as having a separate identity, distinct from both black or white groups. Transracially adopted children are likely to have a different identity from that of children growing up in a black family, but we argue that there are not yet well-grounded reasons for believing that the practice is damaging to children.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Thomas Coram Research Unit
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2013 02:02
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:58
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