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Whites adopting blacks: Love not enough

Dec. 20, 2011 at 2:17 AM   |   Comments

WICHITA, Kan., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Racism and discrimination remain a reality for many black children adopted by white parents and this may affect their mental health, U.S. researchers say.

Darron T. Smith of Wichita State University and Cardell Jacobson of Brigham Young University, who wrote the book "White Parents, Black Children: Experiencing Transracial Adoption," said black children growing up in mostly white communities encounter racial marginalization.

To live under a constant threat of being singled out on the basis of skin color can take a heavy toll on physical health, Smith said.

"If white folks intend to raise black children, they must know that denying or downplaying racial slights or taunts, for example, only adds to the misery of their children," Smith said in a statement. "Because white Americans are least likely to understand racial discrimination they must have a real incentive to help their child learn to cope."

Smith said when white parents adopt minority children, they need to be aware of the extent to which race is part of the children's identity -- and one way is to surround themselves with a multitude of black friends and mentors, not just one or two tokens.

White parents may mean well and love their children deeply, but if they don't widen their circle, even considering moving to an integrated neighborhood, they really shouldn't adopt black children, Smith said.

"It's never a question of love," Smith said. "The issue is, can white parents sufficiently humble themselves and do better socially and culturally for their adopted children?"

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