Author is going to discuss the topic of biracial/ interracial children in 21 century. It is very common topic at this stage as multiculturalism become more popular and spreading all around the globe. Multiculturalism is “global shifts of power, population and culture in the area of globalization and “post colonialism”, as nations around the world establish independence in the wake of the decline of Western empires.
Globalization transforms previously homogeneous cities or regions into complex meeting grounds for different ethnic, racial, religious, and national groups, challenging the political and cultural system to accommodate this diversity”(Jay 2010, pp 1). It’s simply means the moving and mixing of the people of different race and religion all around the world. Multiculturalism has its ups and downs. In some way it is good that all people are mixing as in economic way countries are getting stronger when more educated people coming into politics.
The recognition that society’s becoming multiethnic is not just about economics, people have understand that a lot of difficulties concerning ethnicity, identity and race has become an issue (Modood 2007). Raising biracial children arose from our observation that while the multiracial population is increasing we are missing a systematic understanding of the self and social identity development process among mixed race children (Rockquemore and Laszloffy 2005). Identity is about the understandings people maintain in relation to who they are, and what is important to them. There are two types of identity: self and social identity.
Social Identity refers to the characteristic given to individual by others. Self identity refers to someone who is different from others or as a unique individual. Individual identities play an important role in forming a mature and healthy personality (Marcia 1980). Biracial children have particular difficult time during adolescence, due in part to lack of a clearly defined social identity (McRoy and Freeman 1986). Children’s identity development is dependent on having a secure sense of who they are, where they come from, and how their families and communities accept them.
The development for biracial children can be more complicated than those of single-race children. Biracial people develop a sense of identity on one of three ways. They can select one identity, a state called singular identity. They can develop a protean identity, where behavior and racial/ethnic identity varies by situation. Or they can decide not to be concerned with issues of racial / ethnic identity at all and take on a transcendent identity (Fisher and Lerner 2005). Biracial children are born from parents whose racial groups are different from each other.
Children of dual heritage may have identity problems related to feelings of uncertainty surrounding their ethnicity. Biracial children in the midst of their identity formation, vulnerable as they continue to struggle in a culture that is still partially closed to them. Often interracial children can be negatively affected by feeling the pressure to take a single identity. Children are faced with problems that tend to produce reactions of guilt, insecurity, anxiety, and emotional instability.
Biracial children would like to identify with both parents but find themselves torn between the loyalty they owe each parent. Since they cannot identity with both parents, the child feels resentment towards one or both parents while at the same time , they may feel guilty towards the parent with whom they do not identify (Clauss-Ehlers 2009). Children learn about race true their interaction with others. Major influence on development of identity has parents, teachers and social groups. Within the context of these interactions, they come to understand who they are in this world.
Wardle (1989) says that today, parents assume one of three positions as to the identity of their interracial children. Some insist that their child is above all and that race or ethnicity is irrelevant, while others choose to raise their children with the identity of the parent of color. Another growing group of parents is insisting that the child have the ethnic, racial, cultural and genetic heritage of both parents. Biracial children pass through a series of stages in developing their sense of racial/ethnic identity.
These stages are simply the development milestones that all children pass through, including color differentiation, racial awareness, self-and race awareness and personal evaluation (Johnson, 1992). Their sense of identity is also shaped by existing social categories that to some extent limit the perception of options that are available for racial definition. For example if child is half Afro-American and half Asian, if he or she has dark skin and have more look likes as African in the social world they will be accepted as African American , even thought child would consider different option.
Tiger Woods is excellent example of it. When he was asked if it bothered him, the only child of a black America father and Thai mother, to be labeled African American. He answered ‘yes’. Woods created acronym “Cablunacian”, to reflect the fact that he is actually one eight Caucasian, one fourth black, one eight American Indian, and one half Asian (Rockquemore and Laszloffy 2005). All children form interracial marriages encounter problems identifying themselves and preserving their cultural heritage (Kerwin et al. 1993). Especially in adolescence time when children starts to identify who they are and where they belong to.
It is very hard for them to identify them self’s because society tends to put people into convenient categories but biracial individuals do not belong to one. When growing up children might feel like second class individuals and be rejected. According to Wardle (1989), experts do not agree as to what the biracial child identity should be. Some believe an interracial child should have the identity of the parent of color because historically that has been the case, and also because society these children as having the identity of the parent of color.
However, others have argued that the identity of any child is based on an accurate presentation of his or her true background. Life can be hard for biracial children as they are sometimes pegged as not “black” enough to hang with black kids, or not “white” enough to hang with the white children. So they are stuck between a rock & a hard place struggling to fit into a particular click. Fitting in is very important during this age & their self esteem can be severely crippled if they don’t find a group of friends they can relate with.
Although now, society tends to more accept interracial individuals as they become more familiar with them and its becoming more and more common(Rockquemore and Laszloffy 2005). One more problem which family face is raising multi-racial child with religion. It is common that different religions are mixing, but this can lead to a lot of problems. Two marred individuals with different religion views might not experience any problems between them self’s but it is very important to raise child without any pressure. In bi-racial homes, it is prudent to celebrate festivals of both the partners.
Both should try to understand the religion of the other and allow him or her to celebrate as per belief. The child should also be encouraged to learn both the religions and cultures and should be allowed to select between the two and to follow whatever he/she is comfortable with. Ethnicity and identity issues are not new to us, it is been around for many years and for as long as we live, we have to deal with these matters. There will forever be differences between us since we are born in different families, cultures, countries and different continents.
Mixed race children face challenges. Research indicates that biracial children embrace all the components of their heritage. Parents play a very important role in the child identity level because they spend most of their time with their children. Therefore, it is very important to provide biracial children positive role models. In a community where biculturalism is accepted, children do not experience any difficulties in growing up (Ladner 1984). Especially now day’s people have to understand and accept the fact that population of multicultural individuals is increasing.
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