Exploring the Relations Between Contextual Diversity and Microaggressions in the Lives of Transracially-Adopted Children from China.
- Abstract. A large proportion of transracially-adopted (TRA) children experience challenges related to their racial identity alongside their adoptive status (Baden, 2015). Microaggressions can be particularly challenging for young children because these subtle messages may influence a child’s understanding of race and adoption at an age when they are unable to fully understand social categorization ... read moreand biases due to their cognitive developmental levels. Certain factors may also affect a TRA child’s awareness of these microaggressions, such as racial diversity and exposure to other adoptees. The present study examined the relations between contextual diversity and a TRA child’s awareness of adoption and racial microaggressions in the school, classroom, community, and adoption contexts with consideration of developmental differences. In a sample of 42 children from ages 5-9, this study found that TRA children were most sensitive to racial microaggressions although they primarily reported adoption microaggressions. Furthermore, findings highlighted a positive correlation between age and awareness of racial microaggressions, suggesting TRA children develop a greater awareness of racial microaggressions as they grow older. Although no significant relations were found directly between contextual diversity and awareness, community diversity appeared to moderate the link between TRA children’s awareness of racial microaggressions and developmental differences. Communities of medium diversity significantly moderated the relation between awareness of racial microaggressions and age, while similar relations were not found in communities of low diversity and high diversity. These findings suggest that a diversity threshold may exist for development of TRA children’s awareness of microaggressions. Future research should further examine the specific interactions between diversity and cognitive development to better understand how TRA children understand racial and adoption biases.read less