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Transracial adoptees, children of mixed parentage, children of settled immigrant families... more and more children are growing up in mixed-race families and social environments. And there is increasing variety within this mixed-ness. Yet services for them have been bogged down by restrictive policy and practice guidelines based on:outdated and problematic ideas about essentialised racial identitiesthe supposed need for children to commit fully to one of these identities (usually the black minority ethnic one) in order to minimise identity problems and experiences of discrimination.
Of great significance to anyone working with such children and young people - in social work, adoption and fostering, education, youth work and youth justice - this book asks:why essentialist ideas about a single identity tend to dominatewhat the consequences are for those who actively choose not to identify themselves as having a single racial identityhow policy and practice can be improved.
Patel provides thought provoking analyses of existing literature, and calls for recognition of these individuals, for example those who were transracially adopted as children, and whose reflective narratives form a major part of this book. She offers suggestions on how we can best serve their needs and facilitate their access to racial identity rights. She covers such issues as:racism in a black and white societythe implications of assigned binary black or white racial labelsthe construction of various social relationships, with an insight into the complex issues involved in their racialised negotiationsways of supporting mixed-race people to express multiple identity status.Mixed-up Kids?
argues for better and more informed ways of thinking about how racial identity is flexible, diverse, and possesses a multiple status; and how such thinking will progressively lead to an improvement in the child, family and community support services which seek to assist some of the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, namely black minority ethnic and mixed race children.
As the book presents the narratives of six adults who had been transracially adopted as children, it is of special interest to anyone working in the field of adoption and fostering. It will also be of compelling interest to academics, researchers and students in the social sciences, especially sociology, social work and family/community studies; and of direct practical value to child, family and community support workers. It can serve both as a handbook on which to base policy and practice, and as a tool for considering key issues in the area.
Paperback 184 pages Published December 2008 ISBN: 9781905541386 £18.95READERSHIPAnyone making policy, managing services or working in children's and young people's services, social work, adoption and fostering, education, youth work and youth justice.Students, academics and researchers in the field of in sociology, social work, children/family/community studies.Anyone interested in the experiences of growing up in mixed-race families and social environments.CONTENTS
The significance of race
Race, the family, and mixed-up kids?
The role of race in adoption
Why another book on race, identity and the family?Race, racism and identity in a black and white society
A sociological understanding of race
The social construction of identityServing the needs of black minority ethnic and mixed race children
Disadvantage and discrimination in support services
Child and family placement services
Key arguments in the debate
Adoption in Britain: policy and practiceRacialised biographies
The place of race in the adoptive home
Searching for birth roots
Negotiating differenceConceptualising a multi-racialised identity
Allocation of a transracial identity
Developing a multi-racial identity
Having a positive or problematic racialised identityPossessing a multi-racialised identity
Elements of a multi-racialised identityChildren of mixed (interracial) parentage
Second and third generation children of immigrants
Ownership of multi-racial identitiesConclusion
Facilitating identity rights
Questioning essentialised notions of a Black racial identity
Accurate service delivery
Appendix 1: Data collection
Appendix 2: The sample profile
Appendix 3: Useful contacts
IndexABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tina G. Patel
is a lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Salford. Her main research and teaching interests are: 'race', identity and the racialisation process; crime, deviance and violence, in particular racist violence; and police accountability.
"An excellent book, which is very readable and presents some original and thought-provoking ideas... a great resource for social workers and social work students working within the context of a multi-racial and increasingly pluralistic society." Adoption & Fostering
"Argues for better and more informed ways of thinking about how racial identity is flexible, diverse, and possesses a multiple status; and how such thinking will progressively lead to an improvement in the child, family and community support services which seek to assist some of the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, namely black minority ethnic and mixed race children." ChildRIGHT
"A timely and welcome addition to the available literature...
"Fascinating and often moving testimony analysed sensitively... their varied experiences highlight the difficulties of 'growing up different'... on balance there is no evidence of trans-racial adoption being damaging to the young people concerned (in the context of adoption per se being a difficult and emotional experience for anyone who experiences it).
"Patel's suggestion is that 'mixed heritage' adoption is a more helpful term, as it more accurately captures respondent's feelings that they have experienced/gained an additional racial identity through adoption, rather than having 'lost' one as the term 'trans-racial adoption' implies... (It) deserves wider consideration...
"She has produced a really thoughtful and important book on trans-racial adoption and in so doing raised important wider questions about racial identities that need further debate." Youthwork
"Argues that recognising that identities can be multiple and flexible can improve adoption and fostering services, and that neither politically Black conceptions of identity nor colour-blindness are appropriate.
"The book provides a satisfactory primer to deeper explorations on theories on 'race' and identity formation and a comprehensive outline of the relevant adoption and fostering legislation, policy and practice. Aside from the briefing on theoretical and practical aspects of the area, the inclusion of life story testimonies allows for more personal insight... of interest to student and practitioners." Runnymeade Trust Bulletin
"Looks at how increasing numbers of children are growing up in mixed-race families and the influence this has on their lives... Calls on social, education and youth services to find better ways of meeting the needs of mixed-race families... Argues that young people should be offered a 'space in which they can negotiate a racial identity they are comfortable with'." Youth Work Now
"Tina Patel writes convincingly on a new way of thinking about the age-old chestnut of race and identity, especially in relation to black children of mixed parentage. Very well researched and referenced and guides the reader through the historical discussions and debates about race and identity, focusing especially on the contested narratives around transracial placement and the subsequent shift in UK policy and practice to promote 'same-race' placements for all children in need of adoption and fostering.
"Patel argues that a strict adherence to such policies of 'racial matching' are outdated and counter-productive for the placement needs of black children of mixed parentage, who are able to manage and negotiate competing and multiple identities in a meaningful way. Many individuals are able to manage and maintain multiple identities and to assume that all individuals with mixed ancestry can only choose to be 'Black' in order to maintain a positive identity is belittling, offensive and misleading." Adoption & Fostering