Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Weaving a Family - Untangling Race and Adoption by Barbara Katz Rothman

Rothman is a sociologist who writes from a combined personal and professional perspective.  She is a white Jewish woman who adopts an African-American infant midway through raising her two biological children with her husband.

She makes the point that biological race is constructed, but goes on to say that it still exists socially, so we have to deal with it.  One of her major points is that a black child has to learn to be black in America, because even those raised in white families tend to assimilate into black communities as adults.  The other is that a black child needs to learn about race because she will always have black appearance and its attendant difficulties.

I like Rothman's perspective much better than the previous authors.  Her concerns about race are more practical than ideological.  I like practical.  She spends a whole chapter talking about how important doing black hair properly is, even though this is far from a how-to manual.  I would have to reread this a few times to absorb many of the ideas she talks about.

My favorite moment from the book is the description of international, multicultural Passover Seder.  It's a perfect summation of the kind of heartfelt assimilation drives Rothman's view of the world.


No comments: