How do white adoptive parents of black children teach their children to navigate race? In 1994 Congress passed the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) removing race as a consideration in adoptive placements, effectively opening up the pool of adoptable black infants to middle class white couples. Inspired by France Twine’s study on how white members of black/white couples developed “racial literacy,” this qualitative study is based on semi-structured interviews with 20 adoptive parents. My findings show that although parents are open to anti-racist practices, they lack the required insight to follow through. Parents are conflicted between perceptions of how racism operates in society and their actual lived experiences, illuminating their struggle to reconcile the two in order to develop a critical lens through which to analyze race. I argue that MEPA is a colorblind racist policy that reproduces colorblind racism through its failure to provide parents with adequate resources concerning race and racism.

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Faculty Mentor

Dr. Arthur Scarritt