By Sheila Steffen, CNN
(CNN) - Rachel Noerdlinger says she felt "a big void" when she was in her 20s and went through an identity crisis.
"My parents thought we could be color-blind, and they raised us in an environment where we didn't talk about race," said Noerdlinger, who is black.
'My parents were color-blind'
Adopted by white parents and raised in New Mexico, she grew up without any knowledge of where she came from.
"It was hard. I went through a lot of different confusions."
She is quick to point out how grateful she is for her adoptive parents. And although she would not change her experience, she offers this advice: "At the end of the day, the most important thing to your child's well-being is that he or she is around diversity."
Thirty-nine percent of adopted children in America have parents of a different race or ethnic group. Domestically, transracial adoptions were made easier by the Multiethnic Placement Act in 1994, which essentially keeps race from being a factor in adoptions. Still, the majority of transracial adoptions are international; others are from foster care and from private adoptions. FULL POST
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Four servicewomen who have done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan filed a suit against the Defense Department Tuesday challenging the military's longstanding policy against women in ground combat.
Some of the plaintiffs led female troops who went on missions with combat infantrymen, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the women.
"Their careers and opportunities have been limited by a policy that does not grant them the same recognition for their service as their male counterparts," the ACLU said. "The combat exclusion policy also makes it harder for them to do their jobs."
By Tristan Smith, CNN
(CNN) - The attorney for a Florida man who shot at a car of teens over the weekend, killing one, says the incident bears no resemblance to the Trayvon Martin case.
Her client, Michael Dunn, is no "vigilante" but did feel threatened and shot out of "self defense," the attorney said.
"There are no comparisons to the Trayvon Martin situation," said Robin Lemonidis, Dunn's attorney. "He is devastated and horrified by the death of the teen."
Dunn, 45, was denied bond Monday on a murder charge stemming from the weekend shooting in Jacksonville. The violence was sparked by a confrontation about loud music at a gas station, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
Dunn told authorities that he had asked the teens to turn down the blaring music from their vehicle adjacent to his, as he waited for his girlfriend to return to the car.
He heard threats from the teens, Dunn told police, he felt threatened and thought he saw a gun in the teens' car. He grabbed his gun and fired at least eight shots, authorities said.
Seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis, among the teens, was killed. There were no guns found inside the teens' car, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
Ron Davis, the victim's father, said he is devastated and doesn't believe the shooting was self defense.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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