At Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, we believe in cultivating an actively anti-racist practice in our homes and communities, and a consciousness about the ways that race shapes one’s experiences.
We’ve developed this toolkit for adoptees, parents, and community members of all racial identities, and hope that it introduces new perspectives and generates understanding, conversation, and action.
Ethnicity generally refers to classifications of humans that are based on shared country or region of origin, shared history and culture.
More recently, some people have found it useful to think about race as a category created by dominant cultures and imposed on groups not considered part of the dominant culture, and ethnicity as an identity people claim for themselves, based on common language, culture and current, recent or historic places of origin. [Racial Equity Tools]
For many people, it comes as a surprise that racial categorization schemes were invented by scientists to support worldviews that viewed some groups of people as superior and some as inferior. (Race: Power of an Illusion)
- Race is a made-up social construct, and not an actual biological fact
- Race designations have changed over time. Some groups that are considered “white” in the United States today were considered “non-white” in previous eras, in U.S. Census data and in mass media and popular culture (for example, Irish, Italian and Jewish people).
- The way in which racial categorizations are enforced (the shape of racism) has also changed over time. For example, the racial designation of Asian American and Pacific Islander changed four times in the 19th century. [Paul Kivel, Uprooting Racism]
…We are using the term “racism” specifically to refer to individual, cultural, institutional and systemic ways by which differential consequences are created for different racial groups. The group historically or currently defined as white is being advantaged, and groups historically or currently defined as non-white (African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, etc.) are being disadvantaged.
That idea aligns with those who define racism as prejudice plus power, a common phrase in the field. Combining the concepts of prejudice and power points out the mechanisms by which racism leads to different consequences for different groups. [Racial Equity Tools]
Across or crossing race boundaries. Transracial adoption can be defined as placing a child of one racial or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another racial or ethnic group. [Racial Equity Tools]
Why is it important that I’m conscious about race instead of saying I don’t see color?
What are some helpful resources to begin thinking about the impacts of race?
- So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
- This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work by Tiffany Jewell
- Why Talk About Whiteness?, Embrace Race
Do I say Hispanic or Latino? Or Latinx or Latine? Do I say Black or African American? Asian or Oriental? White or Caucasian?
- ‘Hispanic,’ ‘Latino,’ Or ‘Latinx’? Survey Says …
- Why Do We Say ‘Asian American’ and Not ‘Oriental’?, PBS
- Not All Black People Are African American. Here’s the Difference., CBS
- What is White Privilege, Really?, Teaching Tolerance
- The Suprisingly Racist History of “Caucasian,” MTV Decoded (video)
- Can East Asians Call Themselves Brown?, NPR’s Code Switch
Racial Identity Development: Supporting Our Kids
Why should I talk to my young child about race? And where do I start?
- Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations About Race
- Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk?
- 20 Picture Books for 2020: Readings to Embrace Race, Provide Solace, and Do Good
- Moving the Talk to the Walk for Black Children, EmbraceRace (also applicable to non-Black kids of color)
- Talking to Kids about Race and Racism, PBS Kids
- Asian Americans, Racism, and Anti-Racism in the COVID Era, EmbraceRace
- Raising Race Conscious Children blog
- Black Voices Bookmarks on Netflix
I want to be more aware of how ‘colorism’ impacts my kids, both among their birth culture and in the U.S. as a whole. What is ‘colorism’?
- What’s colorism?, Teaching Tolerance
- How South Asian Mothers are Addressing America’s Racial Reckoning–And Their Own Struggles With Colorism, Washington Post
- Why Understanding Colorism within the Latino Community is so Important, HipLatina
- Why Black People Discriminate Among Ourselves: The Toxic Legacy of Colorism, The Guardian
- I’m a Light-Skinned Chinese Woman, and I Experience Pretty Privilege, TeenVogue
How do other identities impact a person’s experience, along with race?
How do I start talking to my tween/teen about racism?
How do I support my child amid so much racism, sometimes directed at them and also in our larger society?
Why is it important that I talk with my White child about race? And how do I start?
- How White Parents Can Talk to their Kids About Race, NPR interview with ennifer Harvey
- What White Children Need to Know About Race (article)
- How do I make sure I’m not raising the next Amy Cooper?, EmbraceRace free webinar
How do I support my child in developing a healthy racial/cultural identity?
Racial Identity in Transracial Adoptees
How does transracial adoption impact my Black, Latinx, or Asian child’s experience?
- Transracial Adoptees and Their Racial Identity and Sense of Self, NPR’s Code Switch
- Adult Adoptee Voices Are Changing Adoption Narrative
- Racial Imposter Syndrome: Here Are Your Stories
- A Racial Imposter Epidemic, NPR’s Code Switch
- TED My Story of Love and Loss as a Transracial Adoptee
- Growing Up Black in White, Kevin Hofmann
Black Anthology: Adult Adoptees Claim Their Space, Diane Rene Christian
Are Those Kids Yours?, Cheri Register
In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories, Rita Simon & Rhonda Roorda
Dear Adoption, Let’s Really Look at Looks, Mark Hagland
Being Actively Anti-Racist
Why is it not enough to be a non-racist?
What is an ally or accomplice and how can I show up effectively?
Building an Anti-Racist Practice at Home
I’m learning that racism is on a spectrum. How can I work on uncovering and changing my own biases?
I want to talk about racism but I don’t want to shame or blame my friends or family. Where do I start?
I want to ensure my family is respectful of different cultures and I’m confused by cultural appropriation. How can I do the right thing?
I don’t want my children to absorb the stereotypes all around us. How do we identify and challenge stereotypes?
Why is it important to say Black Lives Matter and not All Lives Matter?
I want to diversify the perspectives in my media diet. What resources should I check out for ongoing education?
- Transracial Adoption Perspectives on Facebook (new members join TAP101 first)
- The Conscious Kid (also on Facebook and Instagram)
- Scene on Radio: Seeing White podcast
- EmbraceRace (free webinars and articles for parents)
- Raising Race Conscious Children
- NPR’s Code Switch podcast
- White Nonsense Roundup
- Nice White Parents podcast
- 1619 Podcast
Resources for School
- Teaching Tolerance
- Reducing Stereotype Threat
- Countering Coronavirus Stigma and Racism: Tips for Teachers and Other Educators
- Act To Change ( Resources for countering bullying against Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth)
- Responding to Hate and Bias at School , Teaching Tolerance
- Kids’ Misuse Of The Term ‘Racist’ Is Dangerous —So Let’s Disrupt It