Washington and Lee Race and Ethic Ancestry Law Journal, Vol. 12, p. 41, 2005
39 Pages Posted: 26 May 2010
Date Written: 2005
The article examines the legal, cultural and social dynamics active in claims raised in family law cases involving adoption and custody of young girls from China. This requires examining the question "Who is an American?" Specifically, the article examines the question as constructed in three cases involving young girls from China adopted into U.S. citizen families. Historically, legal answers to this question have reinforced the outsider status of Asians, Latinos and Indians. But, with the legal shift to color blindness or neutrality in citizenship law, the role of race (and gender) is not so direct. The cases examined here invoke race, in particular Asians, in addition to gender, religion, class, nationality, and sexual identity. Moreover, the narratives rely on powerful assumptions and cultural stereotypes of what it means to be an American and a non-American. The cases, however, do not deal directly with the question, "Who is an American?" Instead, the construction of American identity is the subtext of some other claim.
Keywords: legal, cultural, social dynamics, adoption and custody
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