Anti-Racism Toolkit

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.

racism toolkit


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)

  1. Race is a made-up social construct, and not an actual biological fact
  2. 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).
  3. 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

Understanding Race

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
I’m realizing that racism shows up in different ways, but I need help understanding.


Racial Identity Development: Supporting Our Kids

Why should I talk to my young child about race? And where do I start?
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’?
How do other identities impact a person’s experience, along with race?
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 do I support my child in developing a healthy racial/cultural identity?

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?
I want to diversify the perspectives in my media diet. What resources should I check out for ongoing education?