Race Separatism in the Family: More on the Transracial Adoption Debate
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CitationElizabeth Bartholet, Race Separatism in the Family: More on the Transracial Adoption Debate, 2 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol'y 99 (1995).
AbstractSome twenty-five years ago a trial court in Virginia upheld the state ban on interracial marriage, reasoning that God created different races and, accordingly, that it was natural to maintain racial purity, and unnatural to engage in racial mixing. 1 At that time, many other state laws banned both interracial marriage and transracial adoption. In Loving v. Virginia, 2 the United States Supreme Court struck down the Virginia antimiscegenation law, reversing the trial court's decision and holding that it was unconstitutional for states to mandate racial separatism in the family. Later, in Palmore v. Sidoti, 3 the Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to transfer custody of a white child from mother to father solely because the mother was living with a black man. While the Court acknowledged that it might not be in the child's best interests to live in a transracial family, it held that the equal protection doctrine prevented consideration of the race of a potential parent in making custody decisions. In the 1960s and 1970s, the courts in this country outlawed formal state bans on transracial adoption, finding them similarly inconsistent with the equal protection doctrine. There has been a similar development in South Africa today, where the ban on transracial adoption has just recently been lifted as part of the move to abolish apartheid. But in the United States a strange thing happened in 1972. The National Black Social Workers Association (NABSW) issued a statement calling for a new ban on transracial adoption. Actually, ...
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