In this article, we use the results from two studies, one on interracial relationship and the other on transnational adoption, to explore how notions of race and ethnicity shape family policies, family building and everyday life in Sweden. Transnational adoption and interracial marriage in Sweden have previously never been compared in research, even though they both are about transracial family formation. By bringing these two topics together in a critical race theory framework we got a deeper understanding of how transracial families are perceived and affected by societal beliefs and norms. The analysis revealed a somewhat contradictory and complex picture on the norms of family formation. The color-blind ideology that characterizes the Swedes’ self-understanding, together with the privileged position of whiteness in relation to Swedishness, makes the attitude towards different forms of transracial families ambivalent and contradictory. Transracial children and their parents are perceived differently depending on their origin and degree of visible differences and non-whiteness, but also based on the historical and social context. Since family formation involves an active choice, the knowledge and discussion on how race and whiteness norms structure our thoughts and behavior are essential in today’s multicultural Sweden.
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