This month, Rolfing Library will feature a display highlighting the sociological and anthropological perspectives on ethnicity. This topic became especially relevant this week as I listened to an interview on WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift. This conversation focused on trans-racial adoption and the effect of ethnic differences on an interracial family.
The host interviewed a child of trans-racial adoption and a mother of two adopted daughters of another race. The conversation centered around the unexpected challenges of being part of an interracial family and the unique benefits of parenting and being a child of a interracial family.
During the broadcast, both the mother and daughter identified a phenomenon that they had experienced that I found specifically interesting. In many cases, people feel the need to comment on the family’s physical differences. Many people mean well, saying things like, “I see the family resemblance,” knowing full well that the parents and children are not related and do not look similar. Others ask questions like, “Who are their real parents?” Each question comes with its share of challenges and social difficulties. Affirming the family connection and identity as a unit is important in these circumstances, but denying the ethnic differences between the parent and child does not benefit the the child or the family. Both women commented on the importance of connecting the adopted child with a mentor of the same race. This helps affirm the child’s identity and explore the sides of themselves that differ from their parents. Ethnicity can be a difficult subject to discuss but exploring our own ethnic differences and similarities can lead to greater self-discovery and understanding of those around us.
Here are some resources available on our display. Stop by the library and check out our resources on the sociological and anthropological aspects of ethnicity!
We want to hear your thoughts and stories!
How are ethnicity and identity related?
What has been your experience with trans-racial adoption or interracial families?