11 tips for white parents with adopted children of color

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I just spotted this excellent list of tips for white parents with adopted children of color over on Harlow’s Monkey. It’s written by Sun Yung Shin in the Summer 2007 issue of MN ASAP Family Voices newsletter.

1. Live in or move to, if you have to, a multicultural, racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood. Make sure your child regularly interacts with people of color in a variety of ways.

2. Study and learn about whiteness and white privilege. Don’t waste time and energy in feeling guilty. Guilt is a luxury of those with privilege. Embrace the opportunity to work for social justice. Study and learn how to be an active anti-racist, and then do it.

3. Understand that even if your child is, for example, ethnically Chinese, she or he will be perceived as “Asian American” or simply “Asian” (or worse, Oriental). Understand the complex and interrelated history of various groups of color in America. Don’t overemphasize traditions from the culture of origin at the expense of dealing with race in America.

4. Be prepared to teach your child how to directly respond to racist comments, questions and incidents. (You’ll have to learn this from adults of color). Never make excuses for others. Never brush off these incidents as insignificant or isolated.

5. Be prepared for friends and family to be confused or even offended by your anti-racist work. Be patient with them and let them know about your new priorities. Continue to make friends of all races who are interested in making America a truly equitable nation.

6. Avoid saying or thinking that, “I’m ___________ too now that I have a child from __________.” That’s simply offensive and insulting to all the people who are really __________ and don’t get to “choose.” Understand the difference between nationality, race, ethnicity and culture — and how they overlap (or don’t overlap) for your child and your family.

Click here to read the last 5 tips

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