First Advisor

Emily Shafer

Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology and University Honors






transracial adoption, critical race theory, model minority myth, colorblindness, bionormative




Asian TRAs' experiences are continually shaped by United States policies that were installed to safeguard the current White dominant power structure. The existential threat of COVID-19 imitates the fear-based conditions that historically galvanized the White dominant majority to execute sinophobic immigration laws, imprison hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II, and overturn federal abortion rights for women - in a striking display of relevance, the last example occurred during the development of this thesis. Asian TRAs' proximity to Whiteness through their adoption into White families can prevent them from garnering the tools necessary to navigate a racist society; thus, efforts toward racial/ethnic socialization should surpass superficial cultural tourism practices and additionally incorporate socialization with members of the TRAs' ethnic group who can draw on their firsthand experiences to share coping mechanisms and solidarity.

Asian American transracial adoptees (TRAs) occupy an array of identities that intersect and paradoxically contradict each other. The group is both privileged and stigmatized due to the convergence of their identities, which requires additional research to facilitate a complete understanding of their unique identity composition. Because their dual statuses as adoptees and as ethnic minorities bear substantial joint sociohistorical context rooted in xenophobia, geopolitics, and racial construction, these factors should not be extricated from one another. This thesis argues that examining the origins of Asian transracial adoption can reveal its innately overlapping sociohistorical influences, the sum of which will contribute to contemporary discourse regarding intersectionality and critical race theory.


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An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in University Honors, Psychology and Social Science.

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