the twins

Image

The “Black and White” twins are all over everything I’m seeing on the internet. The trending of the story brings the opportunity to gain more awareness of what we think race is, how we allow it to influence our identity, and (hopefully) how it all really just makes no sense.

I can’t figure out what prompted the interest in this particular set of twins this week. I’ve been hoarding articles about black and white twins for years. It bothers me that when they say “Black and White twins”, they mean one of each. Below is the actual title and opening sentence of an actual post about Lucy and Maria:

Biracial Twins: Sisters Belonging to Different Races:

I’ve heard that the odds of having a set of biracial twins belonging to different races is one in a million. One interracial couple somehow beat those odds…

Um, yeah… it is actually impossible to have a set of biological biracial twins who belong to two different races. If we’re playing along with the notion that there is a race other than human to belong to in the first place, these biological fraternal twins are of the same race(s). But, even the twins themselves seem to have adopted the skewed perspective:

Lucy says,

Maria loves telling people at college that she has a white twin. And I’m very proud of having a black twin.

I may be analyzing too literally, but the simple truth is that these sisters look different. They are of different phenotypes, not races. Their skin color (which is real) is different. Their race (which is not real) is the same. Me being me, I read their title of “black and white twins” like: They are “biracial” so they are black AND white. Both of them are both of them. And both of them have mostly white genes if we’re gonna keep on fractionalizing people into halves or whatever.

Let’s see what the way we talk about and consider these pairs can help us break our rigid notions of race and identity.

First, the biology. How does this happen? Something that stood out to me when reading about most of these sets of twins is that in the case where one parent is biracial and the other is white, that is not clearly stated. I think that’s because people are still unclear on how to process us realistically, but they can’t just say “black” because the half white part is a major detail in the equation.

In the case of the Aylmers it is stated that:

The girls’ nearly opposite features can be traced back to their racially different parents. Their mother, Donna, is half-Jamaican while father Vince is white.

2612C4A900000578-2974869-Family_line_The_twins_mother_Donna_is_half_Jamaican_and_their_fa-a-12_1425253983608

Ok, so Donna is half Jamaican and half white although they don’t make define the other half. Leaving her even more un-whole.  Disappointing to me, but no surprise since most people still think of black and white as mutually exclusive.  Stories like these help us to shift those deeply ingrained tenets in ourselves.  If we’re gonna look at this truthfully, Donna is technically half white and half black.  Vince is white. So how racially different are they? Not very, I would argue.

In most of the other cases the mother is white and the father is black.

There’s one instance where both parents of the twins are biracial with white moms and black dads.

145223_twins-family-740896_jpga4009876ce786f8b37f46ca1bfa71684

Twins Kian and Remee with their parents Kylee Hodgson and Remi Horder who both have white mothers and black fathers.

So here’s the scientific explanation:

Million to one odds:

The odds against of a mixed race couple having twins of dramatically different colour are a million to one.
Skin colour is believed to be determined by up to seven different genes working together.
If a woman is of mixed race, her eggs will usually contain a mixture of genes coding for both black and white skin.
Similarly, a man of mixed race will have a variety of different genes in his sperm. When these eggs and sperm come together, they will create a baby of mixed race.
But, very occasionally, the egg or sperm might contain genes coding for one skin colour. If both the egg and sperm contain all white genes, the baby will be white. And if both contain just the versions necessary for black skin, the baby will be black.
For a mixed-race couple, the odds of either of these scenarios is around 100 to one. But both scenarios can occur at the same time if the woman conceives non-identical twins, another 100 to one chance.
This involves two eggs being fertilised by two sperm at the same time, which also has odds of around 100 to one.
If a sperm containing all-white genes fuses with a similar egg and a sperm coding for purely black skin fuses with a similar egg, two babies of dramatically different colours will be born.
The odds of this happening are 100 x 100 x 100 – a million to one.

Taking all of those maths into account, this family is super duper special:

145240_durrant_twins_jpgd3dc08043c2b5c6ebac7747a09aadada

Big sisters Hayleigh, left, and Lauren Durrant, right, hold their new siblings Leah, left, and Miya, right. Scientists say the odds of their parents, Dean Durrant and Alison Spooner, having two sets of fraternal twins with strikingly different skin tones and eye colors is ‘one in millions.’

Now on to the sociology. Honestly, I’ve always been a little worried about the darker twin when I contemplate how they experience the world.  Because the world will experience each of them differently and sometimes that must manifest in drastic ways.  As a child I was frequently in all white environments and I know first hand how it feels to be valued less than your fairer complected peers.  Frankly, as an adult I am frequently in mostly white environments and sometimes the same vibes are flowing.  But as an adult I know better than to take that personally.  As a child not so much.  That might sound sad, and sometimes I was, but because of those circumstances I learned to see beauty and value in places generally thought to have none.  That is a gift.

So anyway, I was worried about the “black” twin because I thought they’d be having similar experiences to mine and thinking, “But I’m really just the same.  We’re TWINS for God’s sake.  Why are we exempt from the same regard as all the other twins in the world?  And why am I getting the short end of the stick.  Unfair.”  I was also concerned that it could cause a rift between the twins and rob them of the twin bond which I always thought would be so fun to have.

Turns out I was wrong.  According to the interviews it seems that the lighter twin struggles more and there are no traces of a lasting breach between them.

The Aylmers

twin <3

(Of her childhood) Red-haired Lucy said her pale complexion had prompted speculation that she’d been adopted: ‘My classmates used to ask if I was adopted because my siblings are all quite dark.

‘It was pretty hard, it went on in secondary school and it wasn’t very nice.’

The impact this has had may be gleaned from this recent post on her Facebook page:

…thank you so much for all your lovely comments about the way I… look. I’ve never had so much confidence. I’ve gone from spending 3 hours covering up every inch of what I naturally look like before I left the house for as little as 2 minutes. To now wearing next to no make up with my natural red hair…

James and Daniel Kelly

James-and-Daniel-Kelly-007

James (left) and Daniel Kelly, twin brothers

When Daniel and James went to nursery aged three, the twins’ skin colour plunged the family into controversy. “They were at this very politically correct nursery, and the staff told us that when Daniel drew a picture of himself, he had to make himself look black – because he was mixed-race,” says Alyson. “And I said, that’s ridiculous. Why does Daniel have to draw himself as black, when a white face looks back at him in the mirror?  Daniel had one white parent and one black, so why couldn’t he call himself white? Why does a child who is half-white and half-black have to be black? Especially when his skin colour is quite clearly white!”

Primary school passed without colour being an issue: but…everything changed when they went to secondary school… the racism they encountered there had a huge effect on them.

It all started well, says Alyson. “The school was almost all-white, so James was unusual. But it wasn’t a problem for James – it was a problem for Daniel.

“The boys were in different classes, so for a while no one realised they were related. Then someone found out, and the story went round that this white boy, Daniel, was actually black, and the evidence was that he had a black twin brother, James, who was right here in the school. And then Daniel started being picked on and it got really ugly and racist, and there were lots of physical attacks. Daniel was only a little kid, and he was being called names and being beaten up by much older children – it was really horrible. We even called the police.”

“I was really bullied,” cuts in Daniel, his face hardening at the memory. “People couldn’t believe James and I were brothers, and they didn’t like the fact that I looked white, but was – as they saw it – black.”

It is interesting that it was the white twin, Daniel, and not the black twin who was on the receiving end of racism…”Those kids couldn’t stand the fact that, as they saw it, this white kid was actually black. It was as though they wanted to punish him for daring to call himself white,” she says.

“I started to notice how angry Daniel was getting at school, how people were provoking him and how he was getting hurt,” says James. “And when he got pulled in fights, I went in too, to help him. I didn’t want to see my brother being treated like that.” James does not look like a kid who would end up in any fight: but, when his brother was up against it, he weighed in – and, says Alyson, the bruises and cuts they both came home with told their own tale.

They’re a straightforward, outspoken family, the Kellys: all they’ve ever wanted for their children is a fair chance in life. And if their youngest twins have made anyone think twice about their preconceptions about race and colour, they don’t mind that in the least. “It’s good to challenge people on race and sexuality and other issues where there’s prejudice,” says Alyson. “If knowing my boys encourages anyone to think a bit more deeply about how we label people, then that’s just great as far as I’m concerned.”

Amen to that Alyson.  And thank you!

In terms of the impact on the family in general, in every interview both the twins and their parents recount that they had many experiences in which in one way or another (sibling to sibling/parent to child) no one could believe they were related and they had to prove it and other similar nonsense.  I’m a big believer in “a family should be something you can see just by looking at it” because I know how it feels when that is not the case.  I don’t know how to describe the feeling.  It’s jarring I guess.  It disturbs the foundation of a person.  Of a family.  And for what?  By what merit?  At the expense of whom?

I say:  For nothing.  Based on no true merit.  At the expense of all of us.

Advertisements

you don’t even know me

I posted this video on the vlog the other day…

…and then I found this clip of Tia/Tamera’s brother, Taj, addressing the same issue.  And i love it!  Makes me wonder if males are less sensitive to these things.  I mean, I already wondered that, but now i re-wonder.  Skip to 4:00 to catch the clip…

 

 

 

signs

I think this list is cute.

For the record numbers 6, 9, and 16 do not apply to me at all.  I’m not sure if 13, 14, or 19 do either.  Not very important, just sayin’.

But especially not #6.  That is important.

Summer 2010 021

Not awkward, and I only “don’t look like them” if you’re only looking at color.

#2 “Growing up you experienced premature existential crises over not fitting in to one specific ethnic marker” is the one that strikes me as true in a bittersweet kind of way.  I am not sure if existential crisis was used here for humorous exaggeration, but I can genuinely relate to that.  Almost literally, but I would say racial marker, but who cares, so anyway…I am not saying that I would prefer to fit into any one specific racial marker.  I would not.  I would not prefer that anyone prefer to fit into or view themselves as exclusively belonging to any one specific racial marker.  I would really, really, really prefer that no one expect anyone else to fit into any one specific ethnic marker.

Then it wouldn’t matter that I don’t fit into one, but I look like I do, but I don’t meet the expectations set by the color, I mean, assumption.  It would be irrelevant that I don’t get counted on my terms, am rarely acknowledged or seen in the way I perceive myself. Which is kind of raceless.  But kind of not because, clearly, I’m so not raceless.  I’m race-ful. Biracial is two races.  Multi-racial is however many more than that. And that shouldn’t be difficult, but it is, so I’d like to get rid of the whole thing.  If two is nearly impossible (and not really allowed if one of them is “black”), then one race can’t be very healthy either.

Oh! Wait!  We can’t forget that everyone is multiracial in some real, dna-tested kinda sense.  So basically everyone is “mixed” therefore everyone is not allowed to be who they really are.  And the system is set up so that we are unconscious to this because it’s “normal” and so we believe in the status quo and we don’t even want to know the truths underneath all of these restrictions that we accept as natural and allow to heavily influence our lives.

Switching to a lower gear… It’s also worth mentioning that any early existential crisis(es) shaped me into the person I am, and that person is pretty cool, so I’m at peace with the challenges I faced.  As futile and unnecessary as I believe them to have been.  That is why  I am not at peace with things staying the same, or thinking staying small, or identities and lives being wrapped up in artificial boxes that must be checked to maintain the political, economical and social status quo.  The status quo needs to go.  That just came out  rhyming like that, sorry.  It’s just that there’s so much time and energy being wasted in the world on the wrong things.  In my humble and guilty opinion.  I still waste and misplace all kinds of energy.

19 Signs You Are Multiracial

DEC. 2, 2012

1. People speak to you in various foreign languages you do not understand.

2. Growing up you experienced premature existential crises over not fitting in to one specific ethnic marker.

troubled thoughts

3. People often ask, “WHAT ARE YOU?”  in tones which make you feel subhuman or extraterrestrial.

4. You hesitate before filling out the “ethnic background” section of tests/ questionnaires.

5. You feel mild guilt over not identifying with one of your cultures (i.e. you hate the food).

6. You feel awkward during get-togethers with one side of the family because you look nothing like your other family members.

7. Men (or women) use your questionable ethnicity as a means to hit on you.

8. You’ve been examined like you are some rare, exotic creature.

9. You can’t understand your grandparents’ language.

10. There is an undeniable clashing of cultures whenever the two sides of your family meet.

11. Your grandparents initially disapproved of your parents’ union.

12. Similar to a “gay-dar,” you’ve developed a “multiracial-radar.”

13. You were totally eating fusion cuisine way before Kogi came into existence.

14. Playing “guess my ethnicity” is a legitimate game.

15. You’ve lied about your ethnicity in the past just for the hell of it, or to avoid conversation.

16. Your last name doesn’t really look like it belongs to you.

17. You’ve been criticized for not being [insert ethnicity here] enough, or speaking [insert language here] well enough.

18. People you meet over the phone are surprised when they meet you in person.

19. You identify as a person of color, you just don’t know which.

if you look like one, you could be another

Brilliant!!! I love everything about this!  I’ll admit that I felt what I would have described back then as “weird” about my (mixed)race.  Looking back, I think “shame” fits the bill.  I’m so happy to hear that acknowledged, and even happier that feelings are changing to pride.  Mine included.

Danbury’s multi-racial students to star in film

Eileen FitzGerald

DANBURY — The three boys wore jeans and long-sleeve T-shirts. The two girls each wore a dozen bracelets and necklaces. They looked like typical students in the library media center at Broadview Middle School.

It was their differences, however, that brought them together Monday. They’re subjects in a documentary in which Western Connecticut State University professor Marsha Daria is examining the identity and social relationships of multiracial children.

Daria is interviewing elementary, middle and high school students to help educators and teacher training programs consider multiracial students in the curriculum and school issues.

The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders carry the roots of about a dozen ethnic heritages, including African American, Spanish, Italian, Scottish, Irish, Chinese and Portuguese.

“It’s cool to be two races, because you get to experience two different cultures and those countries,” sixth-grader Jonathan Garcia, 11, said.

Jonathan, who is half Chinese and half Puerto Rican, was a little nervous to be interviewed but glad to express his feelings about the issue for the movie.

“This gives me a chance to say that what race you are doesn’t matter. If you look like one, you could be another,” he said. “Sometimes they say I am Asian, but what bothers me is that I’m not all Asian. They say things about Asians that I don’t think are nice.”

Sometimes he points out people’s negative comments, and they acknowledge they were wrong. Other times he ignores what people say.

Eighth-grader Kiani Oliveira, 14, who is Portuguese, African American, Indian and Scottish, wanted people to know that multiracial people are unique.

“Like we look different. Our skin color is different, and our hair and eyes can be different — unique,” she said. “It’s not harder to be multiracial. My friends take me as I am and think I’m cool.”

A Western Connecticut State University Professor, Marsha Daria, is filming a documentary on multiracial children. Daria and the film crew where filming at Broadview Middle School in Danbury on Monday March 29, 2010. From left, cameraman Scott Volpe of WCSU media services, Broadview student Kiani Oliveira, 14, and Professor Marsha Best. Photo: Lisa Weir

Daria is doing this project during her sabbatical as an education professor at WestConn, where she has taught since 1995. Her film crew is from WestConn –Rebecca Woodward, Scott Volpe and Renato Ghio– and she consults Emmy award-winning producer and director Karyl Evans.

“It’s critical to examine the ways in which we talk about race and ethnicity. There is a change in how kids view themselves. They used to be ashamed, but now you see a lot of pride. They want people to know who they are,” Daria said.

“It used to be a marginalizing experience, but not anymore. They feel special.”

Daria will use the results of the 2010 Census in the documentary, which are likely to be more specific about race than the 2000 census, in which seven million people reported they were of mixed race.

“I want to educate. To bring awareness to kids who are mixed race. We do become a better country when we accept each other,” she said. “There are good and bad in every group. We should accept people for who they are.”

Seventh-grader Robert Best, 12, who is Italian, African American, Indian and Irish, hopes the film will help people understand that multiracial kids are just like other kids.

“People think African-American people steal and white people are laid back, and I’m supposed to be like both of them, but I don’t like that,” he said. But he wouldn’t want things to be different for children who are multiracial, because it would put them in a separate group.

Seventh-grader Marissa Segura, 12, who is Costa Rican and Italian, and Nasir Fleming, 13, an eighth-grader who is Puerto Rican, African American, Italian, Native American, and a little Irish were also questioned.

The students, all American born, said they mostly celebrate American holidays and eat all types of food, including traditional food from their dominant cultures. They usually talk about typical teen topics — things like school and music — with friends from all over.

Marissa has friends from all over and wishes people would stop guessing and ask what nationality she is.

“All my friends are from different places,” she said. “My sister said I never have a friend who is actually from America. I just get along with a lot of people and have a lot of friends.”

Nasir said he’s annoyed when people think he is only African American.

“When I was younger it made me feel sad, but now it’s just whatever,” he said. “Some friends aren’t cool about who they are, because society tries to make them feel they are nothing.”

It might be easier to stay quiet when you are classified a certain way, he said, “but if you want to keep your rights you should explain who you are.

“People who are diverse are like a little community, but we’re all different,” Nasir said. “If you had to find a similar thing about us, it’s that we don’t like being titled one thing. It’s not OK to be judgmental, to stereotype.”

SOURCE

grateful for the choice

I mailed my Census form yesterday.  I must say that after all the hype, I was totally underwhelmed by the experience.  I checked the two boxes.  I can’t say it brought me any great feelings of validation.  I guess I thought they’d be asking some questions that went beyond race.  I also thought that “Negro” would be the only African American classification term offered since there was so much buzz about the word being used in 2010.  At any rate, I enjoyed this article.

More than black or white

By Annette John-Hall

Inquirer Columnist

SOURCE

For Kathrin P. Ivanovic, racial identity means a whole lot more than just black or white.

Her makeup runs the gamut.

“My mother is German and my birth father is African American with Cuban ancestry,” says Ivanovic, 29, director of development at the Nationalities Service Center, a Philadelphia nonprofit that services immigrants and refugees.

“Plus, my adopted dad is white, and I’m queer. Unfortunately, they don’t have a box for that.

“. . . I call myself a mixed chick.”

But when her 2010 U.S. Census form arrives in the mail this week (the 10-question form is being touted as the shortest in census history), Ivanovic will be satisfied to check black and white – which is really how she sees herself anyway.

Since the 2000 census, for millions of Americans like Ivanovic, “check one or more” will apply.

There is plenty to choose from, with the number of racial and ethnic categories at 63. In the 1990 census, there were only five designations offered.

It can be dizzying. If you’re, say, Asian, you can check any combination of Asian American, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Guamanian, or Chamorro, Samoan, as well as write-in categories for Other Asian or Other Pacific Islander.

In addition, you can also note if you’re of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. That’s because since 1970, Hispanic was no longer recognized as an overarching classification.

Still with me? (And here I thought having Negro on the same line as the black or African American box was confusing.)

But I’m all for it, especially if it paints a more genuine picture of who we are – all 300 million of us. Doesn’t matter if only 2 percent of Americans were identified as more than one race in 2000. Nowadays, we’ve got more multiracial and multiethnic couples and children than ever before, which means the percentage is sure to increase this year.

Which in turn enables the government to allocate funds more equitably. Census data are used in everything from determining the number of congressmen your region gets to the assessing the amount of funding for your town’s bridge project to supporting health centers.

Race data also have driven the nation’s civil rights laws (how many people were denied the right to vote, how many were discriminated against in housing, for example) and are still used to monitor inequalities in health and education.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Truth is, the U.S. Census was historically more of an oppressor than an advocate, especially when it came to African Americans.

Racial count

From the time census data were first collected in 1790, when enumerators listed categories of free men and slaves, whites used the census to diminish African Americans.

“You can see why they had a slave category,” says MIT professor Melissa Nobles, author of Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics. “Southern slave owners wanted the least amount of information, thinking it would help abolitionists. And abolitionists wanted the most amount of information [to make their case].”

Throughout the 19th century and until 1930, census counters used categories such as quadroon (one-quarter black), octoroon (one-eighth black), and mulatto (half black) to describe any person who had a discernible amount of African American blood.

Like they could tell just from looking.

Even after 1930, Southern laws imposed the “one-drop rule” to its census enumerating, meaning they were to count as mulattos anyone who even looked remotely black – a mandate loosely applied by census counters nationwide.

“They used it for racial social science,” Nobles says. For example, they used census data to prove skewed theories (arguing, for instance, that biracial people – “the tragic mulatto” – were somehow weaker and suffered from higher death rates), which in turn helped legislators make the case against interracial marriage.

But even as the categories have expanded, some today are pushing for a separate, generic multiracial designation.

Ralina L. Joseph, a professor of communications at the University of Washington, worries that even though the data will show us as more diverse and multihued, they could be misinterpreted once again.

“I don’t want people to read the numbers and think that racism is over, that this is a post-racial moment,” says Joseph, who is biracial. “We should hope that people who are disenfranchised through race, class, and poverty levels should be identified as such.”

Some sociologists even insist that racial designations have no place on a census form, if it is indeed as simple as an objective count.

But in a multiracial, multiethnic society where even the president is a self-described “mutt,” Kathrin Ivanovic is grateful for the choice.

“I am mixed. It’s how I view the world, and in some ways it’s how the world views me,” she says. “To not be able to identify that way is dishonest to me personally.”

“The Census Taker” (1870) Harper’s Weekly

even more on adoption

This one isn’t so much about the fact that Biracial and African American children are “hard to place”, but about what they need once they’ve been placed. They need help finding their place.  Relationships are key.  Artifacts, not so much.

New research on multiracial adoption questions current practices

While many people who are adopted by members of another race still identify as black or mixed race, many lack the community and cultural connections with others who share those same identities. New research in the journal Family Process suggests that adopted children of mixed race need early and ongoing experiences within the cultural communities of their origin, and with other multiracial adopted persons, to help them to build healthy cultural identities. The labels black, biracial, multiracial, imply that the transracial adopted child has a healthy sense of that identity and all that it encompasses. Dr. Gina Miranda Samuels, author of a study and a multiracial, transracial adoptee herself, remarks, “we must question the meaning and cultural experiences (or lack thereof) beneath these labels. Furthermore, the idea of ‘colorblindness’ is now challenged as an effective approach in transracial parenting.”

Prior research on transracial adoptees often focused on self-esteem and school achievement in comparison to their non-adopted peers, but not in terms of their cultural sense of belonging. This study explores how transracial adoptees with mixed black-white heritage develop a sense of belonging and connection to their black heritage. Samuels also pays heed to how different racial-ethnic communities, and white adoptive parents, can support the identity development of their child by developing relationships in their child’s racial-ethnic communities.

The author asserts that diverse experiences (not confined to events, books, or dolls) can cause a family to become a truly multicultural as well as multiracial, family, and not a family of white parents with children of color.

Most adoptees interviewed for the study told of their search for their biological black fathers and extended black family in order to feel more deeply connected to their black heritage. This finding emphasizes the importance of culturally grounded relationships over cultural artifacts in identity development. Samuels found that there is often a stigma associated with transracial adoption in communities of color which can in turn diminish the “acceptance” of transracially adopted persons in those communities.

Samuels recommends that social workers and child welfare practitioners raise awareness of the importance of these experiences for transracial adoptees and adoptive families, and recognize both the strengths and challenges embedded in transracial adoption and mixed race identities.

SOURCE

keith bardwell, please read this article

Just to catch you up to speed.  By the way, don’t worry about us.  We are doing just fine.  Thank you for your grave concern.  That you would go to such lengths as interfering with God’s blessing of love and devotion (I know, I know- only to certain couples) just to spare us a lifetime of confusion and exclusion is sweet.  But no thank you.  Times have changed, my friend.  I mean, you do seem to think of yourself as a kind of a friend of the mulattos.  A really ignorant and misinformed friend.  I see how it could happen.  For years (white)people were taught that race-mixing was wrong.  And if those people were desperate not to feel really racist, that belief was justified with feigned concern for the “spurious issue” which would result from interracial couplings.  That coupled with the “tragic mulatto” propaganda that has been bandied about the country since way back in the day… Well, I can see how you may have been lead astray.  I hope you can open your mind now.  After the couple of weeks I imagine you’ve been having, you really have no excuse.

w onesie

Are Mixed-Race Children Better Adjusted?

By JOHN CLOUD Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009

That Americans like answers in black and white, a cultural trait we confirmed last year when the biracial man running for President was routinely called “black”.

The flattening of Barack Obama’s complex racial background shouldn’t have been surprising. Many multiracial historical figures in the U.S. have been reduced (or have reduced themselves) to a single aspect of their racial identities: Booker T. Washington, Tina Turner, and Greg Louganis are three examples. This phenomenon isn’t entirely pernicious; it is at least partly rooted in our concern that growing up with a fractured identity is hard on kids. The psychologist J.D. Teicher summarized this view in a 1968 paper: “Although the burden of the Negro child is recognized as a heavy one, that of the Negro-White child is seen to be even heavier.”

But new research says this old, problematized view of multiracial identity is outdated. In fact, a new paper in the Journal of Social Issues shows that multiracial adolescents who identify proudly as multiracial fare as well as — and, in many cases, better than — kids who identify with a single group, even if that group is considered high-status (like, say, Asians or whites). This finding was surprising because psychologists have argued for years that mixed-race kids will be better adjusted if they pick a single race as their own.

The population of multiracial kids in the U.S. has soared from approximately 500,000 in 1970 to more than 6.8 million in 2000, according to Census data quoted in this pdf. In the early years, research on these kids highlighted their difficulties: the disapproval they faced from neighbors and members of their extended families; the sense that they weren’t “full” members in any racial community; the insecurity and self-loathing that often resulted from feeling marginalized on all sides. That simple but harsh playground question — “What are you?” — torments many multiracial kids. Psychologists call this a “forced-choice dilemma” that compels children to claim some kind of identity — even if only a half-identity — in return for social acceptance.

But the new Journal of Social Issues paper suggests this dilemma has become less burdensome in the age of Tiger Woods and Barack Obama. The paper’s authors, a team led by Kevin Binning of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Miguel Unzueta of the UCLA Anderson School of Management, studied 182 multiracial high schoolers in Long Beach, Calif. Binning, Unzueta and their colleagues write that those kids who identified with multiple racial groups reported significantly less psychological stress than those who identified with a single group, whether a “low-status” group like African-Americans or a “high-status” group like whites. The multiracial identifiers were less alienated from peers than monoracial identifiers, and they were no more likely to report having engaged in problem behaviors, such as substance use or persistent school absence.

The writers theorize that multiracial kids who choose to associate with a single race are troubled by their attempts to “pass,” whereas those who choose to give voice to their own uniqueness find pride in that act. “Rather than being ‘caught’ between two worlds,” the authors write, “it might be that individuals who identify with multiple groups are better able to navigate both racially homogeneous and heterogeneous environments than individuals who primarily identify with one racial group.” The multiracial kids are able to “place one foot in the majority and one in the minority group, and in this way might be buffered against the negative consequences of feeling tokenized.”

In short, multiracial kids seem to create their own definitions for fitting in, and they show more psychological flexibility than those mixed-race kids who feel bound to one choice or another.

Fortunately, all these questions of racial identity are becoming less important, as we inch ever closer to the day when the U.S. has no racial majority. One of these days, after all, we will all be celebrating our multiracial pride.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1880467,00.html#ixzz0W2BxqzTZ

utah

I never would have guessed Utah!

shutterstock_1560565Multiracial_400

Census says Utah first in mixed-race growth

By Christopher Smart

The Salt Lake Tribune

 

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12530272

 

Utah’s mixed-race population grew at the fastest rate in the nation from 2007 to 2008 — a trend some say could show Utahns are increasingly comfortable identifying themselves as multiracial.

“People are more willing to take a stand and say, ‘This is what I am,’ ” said Betty Sawyer, who works closely with students of various ethnic backgrounds and is president of Ogden’s NAACP.

New census data show multiracial Americans make up the nation’s fastest-growing demographic group. Between 2007 and 2008 the number of people identifying themselves as being of mixed race grew 3.4 percent; in Utah, the number jumped 5.9 percent.

But before 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau didn’t even provide a way for people to identify themselves as multiracial. 

 

…Still, the new Census Bureau option doesn’t mean the country has moved beyond racism, said Darron Smith, an adjunct professor of sociology at Utah Valley University in Orem.

Smith, a black man who is married to a white woman, studies census trends.

In Utah Valley, people often make note of the black-and-white couple who have two girls, he explained.

“I always tell my kids they are biracial,” Smith said. “But the world will consider them black.”

While more people are identifying themselves as being of mixed race, those numbers don’t necessarily reflect a more racially progressive society, according to Smith. The percentage of biracial marriages and their mixed-race offspring is still very small — 3 to 5 percent.

“It’s a [statistical] outlier,” he said of interracial marriage. “It’s still not accepted.”