I have mentioned before how there seem to be no shortage of people and “studies” that subscribe to the idea of the tragic or torutred Mixed child, which I have always found to be a bit out of touch with reality. Well, here is an academic study that gives the other side, a report that says on the contrary, Mixed people and children are possibly better adjusted than same ethnicity people. The study is “A Positive Approach to identity Formation of Biracial Children” and was authored by Mary Ann Cunningham at San Jose State University.
Here are some of her findings:
…Some studies have found that it is more likely for interracial children to experience difficulties related to a poor self-identity, such as gender confusion, self-hatred, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, delinquency and alienation. Yet other studies have found interracial youth to show high levels of creativity, adaptability, and resiliency” (Herring, as cited in Hoskins, 1996).
A study by Alvin Poussaint, M. D. of biracial children disproved the myth that these children have conflicts over which race to identify within society. “Rather, biracial young people appeared to be more open-minded and seldom used racial labels to describe others” (Gay, 1987, p. 41). Tiger Woods, the twenty-one year old golf pro, has brought the issue of multi-ethnicity in to the limelight, lately. He has openly stated that he objects to being called African-American. His parents raised him to embrace all of his heritage. When he was a boy he made up a name to describe himself, “Cablinasian”, which encompasses Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian. “But to be called any one of them, he said, was to deny a part of him” (Leland, 1997, p.59). Times are finally starting to change; multiculturalism is “in”. Multi-ethnicity confers both individuality and a sense of shared values. Though, this does do not mean that the path is easy. Multiracial children know who they are and where they come from even if society does not accept it. Racism still exists, but “by asserting their multiracial identities, they can throw light on the nation’s racial irrationality, even pressure it” (Leland, 1997, p. 60).
In conclusion, an interracial child is not preordained to experience conflict as a result of their mixed heritage. If the family is open and communicative about both or all the cultures that have come together to create this child, the child can grow up to appreciate diversity in themselves and in others.
The main point of her study and report, is that in the end, it is how the child is raised and how they are taught about their heritage that is the primary key to whether or not they experience conflict over being Mixed. Makes sense to me. But again, I don’t base my beliefs on whether these studies support or run counter to my experiences. I just know that people, and our responses to all kinds of things, are not just a factor of the color, even if the color is a blended one, of our skin.