Opening a Dialogue about Race is Not Racist

“Opening a dialogue about race is not racist.”

Dr. Darron Smith
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This is one of the best lines in the article Dr. Darron Smith wrote in an effort to talk about transracial adoption (within the context of the recently well-publicized Romney family’s adoption of a Black child).

Dr. Smith’s article addresses some important issues that not only affect LDS followers, but anyone and everyone that is touched by transracial adoption.

For families that have adopted transracially (or individuals or couples that are contemplating doing so), Dr. Smith’s writings provide some important food for thought, including the following:

“White parents, like the Romneys, must learn that Black children have the best chance at emotional and mental well-being when they are inoculated against anti-Black stereotypes and insults to Black identity and character. This can be difficult for most white people with the best of intentions given their strong pull toward colorblindness and the notion of individualism as a reasonable explanation for Black suffering in America. The ideology of colorblindness in which white folk pretend to politely ignore or not see difference is a racial position that is flatly detrimental to the psychology of Black people in general and Black children in particular, and should have no place in transracial adoption.”

Romney Family
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Debra G. Smith, ACSW, is the former Director of the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. She has written extensively about transracial adoption, and would concur with much of what was said in the aforementioned article, as she herself has written that adoptive parents in an interracial or intercultural family need to:

  • Talk about racial issues, even if your child does not bring up the subject.
  • Stand behind your children if they are the victims of a racial incident.
  • Confront racism openly.
  • Rely on adults of color to share their insights with both you and your child.

Debra G. Smith also says, “it can be difficult to deal with such issues, especially when your child is young and does not yet know that some adults have these negative feelings, but you have to do it.”