The Persuaders and Transracial Journeys

Our Transracial Journeys organization is included in a book by a best-selling author to be released in October.  This post is to provide our families some background and context and was written as a collaboration by Avril McInally and April Dinwoodie. 

In 2018 we were approached by best-selling author of Winners Take All and award-winning former New York Times columnist, Anand Giridharadas. He was writing his next book that centered on an insider account of activists, politicians, educators, and everyday citizens working to change minds, bridge divisions, and fight for democracy. He had heard of Transracial Journey's mission and the work we are doing to offer practical tools and support for families experiencing transracial adoption and thought it should be part of his research.

Anand at TRJ Family Camp 2019 for Research

Because we fiercely protect the community we have nurtured, we thought long and hard about how best to engage with Anand. After several conversations with him and a lot of thoughtful discussions with our board we agreed to invite Anand to our Transracial Journeys Family Camp in 2019 with the understanding that the community we create is a sacred place and if invited in without a direct connection to transracial adoption it would be imperative he abide by our guidelines for engagement. We prepared families that were attending camp and clearly articulated what it would mean to speak to him "on the record".

This October, The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy will be released by Penguin Randomhouse. As Anand describes in a pre-release article,

"I wrote THE PERSUADERS because I want those of us who believe in democracy to prevail against this dangerous ongoing revolt against the future....I set out to find the activists, politicians, educators, organizers, and others who are doing the work of persuasion when others aren’t and who I thought had something to teach us all. I talked with them, followed them, and then wrote a book about their quest, in a time of great crises, for a politics fierce and unapologetic enough truly to change things and smart and expansive enough to change the minds to get there."

Transracial Journeys Featured in Anand Giridharadas Book

A recent reviewer in Publishers Weekly wrote: “[Giridharadas]] interviews progressive leaders who seek to maintain their principles while appealing to the unconverted without denouncing them as bigots or alienating them with politically correct dogma.”

The second chapter of the book, Can Love Change A Mind?, features discussions Anand had with Transracial Journey leaders, parents and race equity trainers at Bellwether Camp in the summer of 2019. You may recognize some of the interviewees. As you read, keep in mind the preceding quote. We, as parents of transracially adopted children, sit in the landscape of this book with some amazing global leaders and activists all of whom have their own agendas and lived experiences.

Having had the opportunity to listen to adult transracial adoptees over the years, it is becoming more and more apparent that our kids and families in particular sit at the junction of more than one intersectionality be they race, adoption, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and more. For a lot of the world, adoption is not considered an intersectionality. If it were, then there would be far less adoption jokes. This particular intersectionality isn’t addressed in “our chapter”. It’s not really part of the author’s thesis or theses, but it is ours. So let’s start talking this up and engaging those who don’t have awareness of this aspect of our children’s identities. After all, that’s the modus operandi of this book.