Craig Eisele on …..

February 19, 2012

A Bit About Interracial Children and Some Suggestions on What can Help

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 6:34 pm

Interracial Children

Regardless of the ethnic groups involved in interracial marriages, one result of these unions are children. Commonly cited problems interracial children deal with, revolve around racism and identity confusion .

Racism is an awful thing for any child to face. The level of hatred interracial children encounter may surpass what people of color are already subjected to. Parents can help their children by being open regarding this reality. In age appropriate terms, children can be educated about the ignorance that exists in our world. This preparation can help minimize the damage caused by hurtful words and behavior.

Identity confusion also arises more frequently for these children. This occurs when there is difficulty blending two divergent cultures. Unfortunately, biracial children may feel they do not fit or belong with either ethnic group. As with racism, parents can help through having frank and ongoing discussions particular to this issue. Furthermore, providing information, exposure and celebration particular to both backgrounds is encouraged.

Effect of Interracial relationships and the child

Interracial marriages can include the union between Asians,
Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, and any other groups. However, when people talk about
race relations, the focus is on Blacks and Whites. No matter what type of ethnic
groups are involved in these type of relationships, one important result of these
marriages are children. After doing some research and looking over some materials, I
now have a strong understanding of the issues surrounding children of interracial
marriages, and the problems parents encounter with their mixed race children.
Children from interracial marriages are no longer denied the same benefits and
privileges as the children prior to Loving. Celebrities like Tiger Woods may have
changed society’s views on interracial children, but are there more serious effects on
these children than what is shown by Tiger Woods? More than 1.5 million children
lived with biracial parents in 1990.

Many books have been out about the effects of interracial
marriages on children. One of the biggest problems facing interracial children is an
identity crisis. However, Tiger Woods and other famous children of interracial
marriages have helped to…

Forget that  for a minute…. read what it is  and has been like for one interracial person:

We all look at Tiger Woods, Halle Berry when we talk of children from interracial relationships. And then there is Ria of course ;-). These are people who have changed the society’s view on interracial children. Question is: Is there more than meets the eye?
Most people look at children and say think wow! Now that is one beautiful offspring. My sister is one of the people that adore looking at interracial children. But is that what everyone sees when they look at them?

There are more serious effects of a child being interracial … categorization and racism. Which group does she belong to? One lady, Tracy Quincy didn’t know exactly where she fit while growing up. Black kids never thought she was black enough and threw food at her and the brother. And in high school, the white kids called her black coz her hair was fizzy and unruly. There was name calling from both sides … Oreo! Zebra! Mutt!

Racists often feel the need to put people in categories. So where do they squeeze in biracial children? Are they more resentful and more racist towards these children?

Putting effects of racism aside, the child suffers from identity crisis when growing up. Which group do I belong to? Where do I fit in? Take it from me, coming from two or more racial groups aint that easy when growing up – especially during my time. I remember once, my Italian pal had a party which I never got invited to coz my skin was dark. Such things really affect the child and if the parents don’t intervene, then it breeds problems in future.

Despite my comfort with my skin color, I think mixed race people haven’t been accepted fully. Why is it that in most forms I have to fill out where one has to circle ethnicity, there is no “multiracial᾿ option. I always have to circle “other᾿. What does other mean? An alien or something?

It reached a point when I used to curse my parents for having had an interracial relationship. But should parents sacrifice their love for the sake of their children’s happiness? Do you think interracial couples who plan on having children are selfish?

What do you think of mixed race individuals?

Biracial children have existed in the United States since colonial times. America’s first child of dual African and European heritage wasreportedly born in 1620. Despite the long history biracial children have in the U.S., opponents to interracial unions insist on invoking the“tragic mulatto” myth to justify their views. This myth suggests that biracial children will inevitably grow into tortured misfits angry that they fit into neither black nor white society. While mixed-race children certainly face challenges, raising well-adjusted biracial children is possible if parents are proactive and sensitive to their children’s needs.

Reject Myths About Mixed-Race Kids

Want to raise mixed-race children who thrive? Your attitude can make all the difference. Challenge the idea that multiethnic children are destined for tragedy by identifying successful Americans of mixed race such as actors Keanu Reevesand Halle Berry, news anchors Ann Curry and Soledad O’Brien, athletes Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods, and politicians Bill Richardson and Barack Obama.

It’s also helpful to consult studies that debunk the tragic mulatto myth. For example, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry posits that “multiracial children do not differ from other children in self-esteem, comfort with themselves, or number of psychiatric problems.” On the contrary, AACAP has found that mixed children tend to celebrate diversity and appreciate an upbringing in which various cultures played a part.

Celebrate Your Child’s Multiethnic Heritage

Which biracial kids have the best chance of success? Research indicates that they’re the kids allowed to embrace all components of their heritage. Multiracial children forced to choose a single-race identity tend to suffer from this inauthentic expression of self. Unfortunately, society often pressures mixed-race individuals to choose just one race because of the outdated “one-drop rule” which mandated that Americans with any African heritage be classified as black. It wasn’t until 2000 that the U.S. Census Bureau allowed citizens to identify as more than one race. That year the Census found that about 4% of children in the U.S. are multiracial.

How mixed children racially identify depends on a number of factors, including physical features and family attachments. Two multiethnic siblings who look as if they belong to different races may not identify the same way. Parents, however, can teach children that racial identity is more complicated than what someone looks like on the outside.

In addition to physical appearance, mixed children may choose a racial identity based on which parent they spend time with most. This especially proves true when interracial couples separate, causing their children to see one parent more than the other. Spouses who take an interest in their mate’s cultural backgrounds will be more equipped to teach children about all aspects of their heritage should divorce occur. Familiarize yourself with the customs, religions and languages that play roles in your mate’s background. On the other hand, if you’re alienated from your own cultural heritage but want your children to recognize it, visit older family members, museums and your country of origin (if applicable) to learn more. This will enable you to pass traditions on to your kids.

Choose a School That Celebrates Cultural Diversity

Your children likely spend just as much time in school as they do with you. Create the best educational experience possible for multiracial children by enrolling them in a school that celebrates cultural diversity. Talk to teachers about the books they keep in the classroom and the general educational curriculum. Suggest that teachers keep books in the classroom that feature multiethnic characters. Donate such books to the school if the library lacks them. Talk to teachers about ways to counteract racist bullying in the classroom.

Parents can also improve their children’s experience in school by discussing with them the types of challenges they’re likely to face. For example, classmates may ask your child, “What are you?” Talk to children about the best way to answer such questions. Mixed-race children are also commonly asked if they’re adopted when seen with a parent. There’s a scene in the 1959 film “Imitation of Life” in which a teacher openly disbelieves that a black woman is mother to a little girl in her class who looks like she’s completely white.

In some instances, a biracial child may appear to be from an entirely different ethnic group than either parent. Many Eurasian children are mistaken for Latino, for example. Prepare your children to deal with the shock classmates and teachers may express upon discovering their racial background. Teach them not to hide who they are in order to fit in with mono-racial students.

Live in a Multicultural Neighborhood

If you have the means, seek to live in an area where diversity is the norm. The more diverse a city is, the higher the chances that a number of interracial couples and multiethnic children live there. Although living in such an area won’t guarantee that your children never face problems because of their heritage, it lessens the odds that your child will be viewed as an anomaly and your family subjected to rude stares and other bad behavior when out and about.

Say your kindergartener comes home with a question: “Why are some people called black and others white?” How will you answer? Next to the sex talk, talking to kids about race is perhaps the hardest conversation for a parent. Sure, America elected a black president, but we still live in a world that’s far from color-blind. While it’s natural to want to shield your child from life’s harsh realities, staying silent about race isn’t OK. Discussing the subject openly allows children to build bridges and respect others.

When’s the Right Age to Talk Race?

Think your children are too young for the “race talk?” In fact, children as young as 3 can spot differences between racial groups. A few years after that, they start to make judgments about people from different races. What does this mean? Whether you talk to your kids about race or not, they’ll form opinions about it anyway. If they make a remark that stumps you, investigate until you form a coherent response. You might just learn something in the process.

Go to a Cultural Event

How much do your kids know about people from different cultures? Whether they’re totally clueless or ambassadors-in-the-making, they’ll have loads of fun at cultural celebrations. With the food, music and learning that take place at these events, what’s not to love? The great thing is that cultural events take place all year.

Enjoy a Chinese New Year celebration in January, aBlack History Month event in February, a St. Patrick’s Day parade in March or a Cinco de Mayo bash in May. During these outings, your children won’t only have the chance to learn about the history and cultural significance of different events, they’ll also get to mingle with folks from all sorts of backgrounds. This gives a real boost to kids who live in places where they’re racial anomalies, like trans racial adoptees with a better chance of meeting a celebrity than someone from their birth country. Want tips on how to talk race with children you’ve adopted cross culturally? Check out the Fusion program, which offers suggestions to parents just like you.

Take a Trip to a Cultural Museum

Slavery. The Holocaust. Japanese American Internment. How do you bring up racial oppression with children? A trip to a cultural museum is a great starting point. Throughout the country, you can find museums with a social justice bent. Drop by the Museum of Tolerance and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. There’s also the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Chicago and Alabama, respectively.

Get Out of Town

Don’t have a museum like this in your area? Forget about Disneyland and the Grand Canyon. Make a visit to a cultural museum the focus of your next family getaway. If it’s hard for the entire family to leave town, sign your teen up for a camp hosted by a group such as the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ). There, your kid will learn about race and bias with the people they respect most—their peers!

Stop Racism in Its Tracks

You’ve probably heard that racism is taught. Well, so isanti-racism. It’s never too soon to teach kids to say no to prejudice. Want proof? After Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder in 1968, Jane Elliott taught third graders not to discriminate by separating the blue-eyed children from the brown-eyed children in her class and treating the latter as if they were superior. Elliott’s experiment turned out to be unforgettable, not just for her students but for those who witnessed it. Get the lowdown on Elliott’s experiment from PBS’ Frontline program.

Lots of videos and books make excellent teaching tools about racism. Take documentary Eyes on the Prize and novel Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, for example. Both show how African Americans struggled for civil rights. Visit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website for a list of age-appropriate literature about race and racism.

Practice What You Preach

You can’t raise non-racist children if your own biases are left unchecked. What kind of remarks do you make about racial groups? Does the idea of your kids hanging out with people from certain races make you cringe?

Maybe you keep your thoughts about other ethnic groups to yourself. Instead, you cross the street to avoid members of particular backgrounds or have no friends from ethnic groups other than your own. Children will pick up on this behavior and follow suit. So, if you want them to value people of all backgrounds, be a role model.

Teach Your Child Cultural Pride

It’s hard to swallow, but one day your child may come home crying, the victim of a racist taunt or gesture. Children don’t have to be helpless in these situations. Teach them self-love in racism’s wake. Compliment that beautiful head of hair or set of eyes a classmate made fun of. Give your child dolls and toys with features similar to theirs or magazines with positive images of people from their cultural backgrounds.

Teaching Kids about Race and Cultural Diversity

How to help your grade-schooler learn to appreciate differences in people

Racial and cultural diversity is an excellent topic to teach grade-school age children. Grade-schoolers are forming lots of opinions about themselves and the people around them. This is when their natural curiosity about differences in appearance and cultural backgrounds really begin to come into play.

Children who are grade-school age are developmentally able to put cultural and racial differences into perspective. They can either learn to appreciate — or devalue — traits that make others different from themselves. In other words, it’s prime time for parents and other adults in their lives to shape their attitudes about race and cultural diversity. Here are some things to keep in mind as you talk to your child about the value of differences.

You don’t have to teach tolerance. Here’s the beautiful thing about kids: Most are born with a natural sense of justice and fairness. Unless they are taught to be hurtful and cruel, children know that it’s wrong to attack others either physically or with words. All we have to do is nurture this natural love of people and get out of their way.

Don’t discourage questions. If your child has questions about differences in physical characteristics or cultural practices, discuss them openly. This teaches your child that it’s okay to notice differences, and more importantly, it teaches him that it’s good to talk about them.

Teach him to value racial and cultural diversity.Your grade-schooler will learn about other cultures, both past and present in the classroom. At home, you can use these lessons as an excellent opportunity to emphasize the value racial and cultural diversity.

See the broader value of teaching acceptance. Learning to appreciate all kinds of differences — not just racial and cultural but differences in socioeconomic levels, gender, and even disabilities — is an important skill in today’s diverse society. A child who is taught to devalue others based upon differences will face a tough and lonely road ahead.

Take a look at your own attitude. If you are uneasy or uncomfortable around people of different backgrounds, your child will pick up on it. Consider the way you talk about people. Do you describe someone by their race rather than other characteristics first? What messages are you sending for your child to pick up?

Discuss images in the media. We live in an age where there’s more diversity in the media — in movies, on television, in ads — practically everywhere we look. Some are less desirable than others. Discuss negative stereotypes and ask your grade-schooler why they are unfair or wrong.

Today, our schools and neighborhoods tend to be more diverse, giving kids a chance to interact with children from other cultures and backgrounds. There’s no doubt that we still have a long way to go, but it’s great time to be an American. And as an American, I am proud of the fact that celebration of differences is what makes our country so special and great.

In Closing

Talking about race isn’t easy, but it marks one of the most important things you’ll do as a parent. How you address race can influence your children’s choices in friends, not to mention their view of their own heritage. That said, don’t delay the race talk. By speaking honestly about race, you can empower your little ones.

4 Comments »

  1. How do you deal with a mother that is racist against the father of the children and denies the father any contact or influence supported by the authorities. Which has taken to classifying the children as officially white but they are absolutely not. The mother does use a lot of facial creams to change the color, but it doesn’t work too well and the children appear to suffer a little more than they should, but I am helpless to do anything for them, much as I have tried.

    Like

    Comment by Andrew — July 4, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  2. Wow, I wish my parents could’ve followed these guidelines. I’m also the product of an Interracial couple, and I live in Africa. Here, I’m usually not referred to as biracial or black. I’m constantly categorized as being “white” because I have really light skin color. I go to a school that’s 80% black. I’ve been bullied, teased and even excluded because of my skin color. Unfortunately, my parents never seemed to acknowledge this at all. But I feel anger towards both my parents for mixing inter-racially sometimes. Often people will crack jokes about how white folks have issues. And honestly, I can’t believe I’m being denied the right to even identify myself. It’s so sickening. Yet, there’s the common myth that all people refer to biracials as blacks. In my case, people think I’m PURE white. They don’t even believe me when I claim that I have a black mothe

    Like

    Comment by Pandora — September 28, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  3. I too believe there needs to be more information regarding children of mix race. This site is amazing and well written. I have written a colorful children’s book that deals with how to talk to your child as he or she first realizes they are of a mix race. I would love for you to include my link to continue the discussion via my facebook page “Mixed Blessing Books”.

    Mixed Blessing: A Children’s Book About Mixed Race
    http://www.amazon.com
    http://www.amazon.com/Mixed-Blessing-Childrens-Book-About/dp/148025052X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353266044&sr=8-1&keywords=marsha+cosman

    Like

    Comment by Marsha Cosman — November 18, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  4. My mother was from zimbabwe and my father is from greese. I was raised by grandmother who is a zimbabwean. I was always treated differently at home and I was considered last in everything. When I wanted to go to school- my grandmother refused anyone who wanted to sponsor me that I wud become a prostitute becoz of my skin. I completed school. Am now maried and I have two children. I still face problems with my skin and I wish I could paint myself black. I wear sunglasses every time becoz I don’t want to make eye contact with n one. People, mostly men in the street call me all sorts of names and insult me for no reason. Its very difficult becos I can’t hide myself from society when I have to work for my children.

    Like

    Comment by chiko chiringa — October 6, 2014 @ 1:04 pm


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