“Being Raised by White People”: Navigating Racial Difference Among Adopted Multiracial Adults


  • This article was edited by Ralph LaRossa.

School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, 969 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60649 (gmsamuels@uchicago.edu).


There are increasing numbers of multiracial families created through marriage, adoption, birth, and a growing population of multiracial persons. Multiracials are a hidden but dominant group of transracially adopted children in both the United Kingdom and the United States. This paper introduces findings from an interpretive study of 25 transracially adopted multiracials regarding a set of experiences participants called “being raised by White people.” Three aspects of this experience are explored: (1) the centrality yet absence of racial resemblance, (2) navigating discordant parent-child racial experiences, and (3) managing societal perceptions of transracial adoption. Whereas research suggests some parents believe race is less salient for multiracial children than for Black children, this study finds participants experienced highly racialized worlds into adulthood.