Racial Socialization and Transracial Adoption

The article, Racial Socialization in Transracial Adoptive Families, has
been authored by Leslie, Smith and Hrapczynski. The article explores the
degree to which racial socialization, by the White adoptive parents,
moderates the association amid discrimination and stress for their
minority families. In fact, the article tends to examine three research
questions the first is examining whether discrimination is associated
with the degree of stress that is experienced by transracial adoptees
the second is examining whether racial socialization practices of
adoptive parents are associated with the stress resulting from
discrimination while the third is examining whether racial
socialization mitigates the association of discrimination with perceived
stress. From their population sample, the authors indicate that a study
of 59 parent-child dyads depicted that racial socialization moderates
the association amid experiences of discrimination and perceived stress.
According to the article, transracial adoption, which can be defined as
a family constituting of an adoptive parent or parents that are of a
different culture, race, or ethnicity of the adopted child, makes up to
around 40% of all the adoptions in America (Leslie et al 72). The
authors of the article argue that there is a likelihood of racial
minority adolescents raised by White parents to have complications in
their struggle to deal with discrimination. This is because of a limited
or lack of racial socialization from the White adoptive parents. The
racial socialization is vital since it promotes resiliency and
racial-ethnic pride (Leslie et al 72). Because of their minority status,
these adolescents adopted by the White parents become more exposed to
the White cultural orientation, which makes them have less capacity of
dealing with discrimination experiences.
The article argues that Racial socialization is an informal
communication, whereby parents educate their adolescents about their
racial heritage and appropriate responses to racial hostility. Racial
socialization provides ample protection for minority adoptees
experiencing racial discrimination and allows them to deal with human
prejudice more effectively. Transracial adoptive parents may find racial
socialization to be quite challenging. White parents do not innately
understand the psychosocial consequences of racial discrimination,
having had limited experience of racial oppression. Therefore,
transracial adoptees may be more vulnerable to racial discrimination and
stress therefore, communication plays a significant role in educating
adolescents the existence of racial discrimination. Discrimination
entails negative behavior towards a certain group or members because of
the constituent members of the group (Leslie et al 73). The authors
argue that research indicates that experiences of racial discrimination
are usually associated with adverse physical and mental health
consequences for minority adults (Leslie et al 73).
This article is of the idea that discrimination will always result in
some degree of stress regardless of the actions of the parents.
According to the data, which was collected, there is a depiction that an
association between racial discrimination and discrimination stress can
become modified through the behavior of parents. Therefore, the article
proposes that racial socialization helps adoptees especially in
instances where there are high racial discrimination. The article also
proposes that individuals, who experience high degrees of
discrimination, must have endured immense levels of stress (Leslie et al
77). However, racial socialization provided by adoptive parents do not
impact stress. The article also proposes that racial socialization
significantly moderates the association between racial discrimination
and stress. Adoptees that experience a high degree of discrimination and
are racially socialized are usually less stressed, according to this
article. Adolescents that encounter low degree of discrimination and are
more racially socialized, usually experience slightly high
discrimination stress. This is likely to be the case because adoptees
whose parents engage in a high degree of racial socialization are
usually more sensitive to discrimination, regardless of the minimal
level of racist events.
The article also proposes that various factors can affect White
parent’s decision in practicing racial socialization. For example,
White parents may desire to mitigate the differences amid themselves and
their transracial adoptees through minimizing the discussion regarding
race. Although this sentiment is easily fathomed, the study shows that
racial socialization is fundamental because transracial adoptees belong
to subordinated group and that is how the world views them. There is a
proposition by the article that adoption professionals need to examine
the level of comfort for prospective parents in order to racially
socialize and prepare their transracial adoptees (Leslie et al 79).
Hence, it contributes to the field of sociology. The article also
contributes to the sociological field in understanding the vitality of
racial socialization. Socialization is vital as it educates adolescents
regarding their racial heritage and appropriate responses in case they
face racial hostility. Racial socialization provides ample protection
for minority adoptees experiencing racial discrimination and allows them
to deal with human prejudice more effectively. This is a major
contribution to the field of sociology as it depicts the need of racial
socialization to individuals, when they reach a given age, and how one
can cope with the hostility associated with racial discrimination.
The article further contributes to the field of sociology by examining
the likelihood of racial discrimination. The article proposes that
education on racial discrimination is fundamental in order to prepare
individuals that racial discrimination exists in the world. Adoptive
parents can use this article in understanding the issue of racial
socialization. Lack of educating individuals on the existence of racial
discrimination and on how to deal with cases of racial discrimination,
is likely to make individuals less prepared on the issue despite its
existence in the world. Therefore, the article contributes a lot to the
field of sociology by creating awareness on the issue of racial
discrimination, and that discrimination leads to a certain degree of
stress that can be physiological or mental depending on the capacity of
an individual to handle stress. Individuals that do not have the
capacity to handle stress are likely to become more stressed compared to
individuals with the capacity of handling stress. In addition, the
article contributes to the field of sociology by examining the two most
common components of racial discrimination cultural socialization and
bias preparation. Through discussing the two components of racial
discrimination, the article proposes that children can be taught on how
to cope with racial prejudice.
The article is beneficial to the sociology students studying the issue
of racial socialization since it can help them in understanding the
issues underlying the impact of racial socialization. The article is
also beneficial to researchers in the field because researchers can use
the information in this article to compare the results that they obtain
from other researches. Adoptive parents are also a beneficiary party of
this article because they can learn from the article on the issue of
discrimination and racial socialization and how they expect the adoptees
to behave. This will keep the adoptive parents well updated regarding
the outcome of racial socialization. The entire society is likely to
benefit from this article because it will be capable of understanding
the existence of discrimination in society and the impact of racial
socialization on the issue.
The article was a success in delivering information regarding racial
socialization in transracial adoptive families emanating from the method
of data collection that was utilized. Data collection was chiefly
through the use of questionnaires. The adoptive parents did not have any
knowledge regarding the questions that their adoptee adolescents were
being asked and this was still the case for the adoptees. This made the
population sample not speculate the response given by the adoptive
parents or the adoptees. Therefore, the article achieved success by
providing information regarding racial socialization, which was related.
The adoptive parents provided information that was associated with the
information provided by the adolescent adoptees. This depicts that the
information provided in the article was relatively accurate since the
responses were associated in some manner. Hence, the article became
successful in collecting and delivering this information. In case the
researchers used methods such as telephone interview, the article could
not have been a success in collecting this information because it is
possible to hear the responses given by different parties, which can
make them guess the questions being asked.
The article was also a success in collecting information regarding the
demographic data. From the adoptive parents, demographics such as
marital status, education, income, age and the specifics of adoption
(international or domestic open or close adoption) were collected in
order to have valuable information regarding the true picture of racial
socialization and the issue of discrimination. The use of a varied
demographic data helped in judging whether there was related information
or varied regarding racial socialization. However, the sample size was
exceedingly small, which made generalization a limitation since the case
generalized may not exactly be existing in the real world. Besides, the
small sample size that the researchers used in order to give the
information in the article limited the accuracy of the information since
it limited the capacity of testing other potential factors like
neighborhood’s race (Leslie et al 77).
The degree of accuracy of information presented in the article is still
minimal owing to the online self-reporting questionnaires used because
reporters may have provided inaccurate information. Filling of
questionnaires online seems to provide inaccurate information because
information providers may give out information based on their views, but
not experience. People may masquerade to have gone through adoptive
parentage and fill incorrect information. Besides, racial socialization
scale was originally made for minority parents however, the questions
were changed so as to better suit White parents. Alternatively, White
adoptive parents may have varied strategies in preparing their children
for racial bias. Hence, the questions may not have been relevant to the
approach applied. In addition, adolescent respondents were required to
give one race, which was a problem for the multiracial and biracial
adolescents since they were asked to use their minority race. This could
have affected the results, which indicates that the generalization made
by the article concerning the issue of racial socialization and
discrimination.
Works Cited
Leslie, Smith and Hrapczynski, Katie. Interdisciplinary Journal of
Applied Family Studies: Racial Socialization in Transracial Adoptive
Families. Center for Adoption Support and Education, 2013. Print.
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