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‘Red Table Talk’: Black woman adopted by white family says she can’t identify with other Blacks

This week’s episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk show on Facebook Watch features a Black woman who was adopted by a white family and now feels disconnected from the Black community.

During Monday’s broadcast, Angela Tucker shares how when she was 13 months old her mother, who was homeless, placed her up for adoption. Fortunately, she was adopted by David and Teresa Burt. But was raised in their predominantly white town of Bellingham, Wash.

READ MORE: Skin tone, adoption and black children: Is colorism an issue?

“I have no sense of strong identity,” she admitted. “Being a transracial adoptee, it’s really difficult to share what we really feel because we have parents who raised us and love us and we don’t want to appear we’re not grateful for what they’ve done. For me to talk about transracial adoption is to hurt somebody. … I’m alive but dead inside in some ways, not knowing my culture and not being connected.”

“I don’t feel like transracial adoption is the right solution because essentially we’re asking me as a black woman to assimilate into white culture but to also keep my blackness even though I wasn’t raised within it,” she continued, noting that she’s often taken aback when she looks into the mirror and sees a Black woman.

Transracial adoption is a significant phenomenon and have increased by as much as  50 percent over the past ten years, according to a 2017 study done by the Institute of Family Studies. However, Black children, who represented 23 percent of all adoptees in 1999 were only at 9 percent in 2011.

READ MORE: 3-year-old Phoenix boy celebrates adoption, photo goes viral

A blog posting on AmericanAdoptions.com recommends that parents of a different ethnic or racial background than their adopted child make efforts to celebrate that child’s heritage to help them identify with what they see in the mirror, which would help avoid situations like the one Tucker describes.

“This is my family, why am I afraid of my own family?” she wondered aloud. “I don’t identify with Black folks because I feel my own sense of fear or illegitimacy is how I feel even sitting here with you because I feel like you three are legitimate black people because you were raised by black people. It’s embarrassing to say that, but that’s my reality.”

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