Main that produced data from observations and focus

Main Argument

In “So What Are You Anyways” speaks on how biracial
more specifically half black and half white children, go through ‘race
switching’ as a mechanism of coping with the external and internal pressures of
racial identity.

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Development of Argument

The argument is developed from research by other
authors that produced data from observations and focus groups and statistic on
half black half white biracial individuals in the United States.



          In this
article, it speaks on how biracial individuals more specifically half
black and half white adolescents go through racial switching, this process of identifying
and de-identification is often dictated by the opportunities and advantages in their society. Which I found to be true because
identity development is difficult for almost all adolescents and more difficult
for biracial children specifically, biracial individuals face additional
problems with identity when they are forced to identify with one racial group
while rejecting others, in order to make their lives ‘less complicated’ they
would pick the group in their racial makeup that in their society is more
socially acceptable. So, in the article individuals would more likely being
half black and half white pass themselves as the majority in their community or
society at the time of adolescents but then identify as biracial or switch and
identify as the other race they are mixed with as they get older or as they
move to a more diverse, acceptable community.


the article the writer says, “Many
biracial individuals would identify as monoracial to the accepting race and
biracial individuals with at least
one black ancestor reported significantly more perceived discrimination than
any other minority monoracial group” which is entirely true, because less than 100 years ago in
the United States it was socially unacceptable for legal and classification
purposes to be involved in an interracial marriage then the offspring in those
relationships would face discrimination from society. Then they enforced the
‘one drop rule’ which stated that if a person had ‘one drop’ of African
American they were solely to identify as
such, the word ‘biracial’ wasn’t a common term and was a taboo subject, not
until 1968 that in the US it was unconstitutional for interracial marriages
could be legal and in Canada wasn’t illegal in the eyes of the law but again
was socially unacceptable. For many who do decide to identify as monoracial has
grounds to justify their actions as in conservative communities are subjected
to discrimination by others. I feel as if the author didn’t go in depth about
the issues also pertaining to racial switching and failed to inform on how
there are issues that also go along with it. Biracial individuals being that
they are not made up of one race they may feel a sense of loneliness and
unacceptance can come from feeling they don’t belong in either cultures or race
before identifying as monoracial or picking an identity. Then after they have a
sense of identity whether that be as they choose to identify as monoracial or
biracial they may also feel as if they don’t live up to expectations of the
race they identify with can cause disappointment or distress, they may feel
that they are in more of an identity crisis than they were before and being
exposed to two or more distinct cultures and having to balance them when they
can conflict and contradict each other in
the family setting may confuse them which again, causes a deeper sense of
confusion of one’s self. They can often switch between both of their races
trying to find a sense of either balance between both or steady ground in one
race which leads to the main argument of how biracial individuals do race
switch due to the pressure internally and externally in society.


            What I thought was an issue is that I felt the author
didn’t elaborate on was the fact that some pressures came with intentional or
unintentional assumptions; physiognomy ‘a
person’s facial features or expression, especially when regarded as indicative
of character or ethnic origin’ was a factor in which individuals were
already influenced to lean more to a certain race in where they are mixed with. Black-White biracial individuals are often compelled by
society to self-identify as black if they do have more Afrocentric features
than those who have more Eurocentric features, and those individuals with a lighter
skin complexion are often given more leeway in terms of self-identification as
they can choose whichever race they feel like most. identified some
characteristics that made people less likely or more likely to race switch.
Characteristics of those who were less likely to switch included individuals
from higher socioeconomic status, those whose mothers had higher education, and
individuals with higher self-esteem. Furthermore, they found that an
individual’s skin color and the racial make-up
of one’s neighborhood influenced the stagnancy and fluidity of one’s racial
self-identification. Hitlin, Brown & Elder (2006) This study shows how
internal family dynamic and the societal components influenced how biracial
individuals viewed themselves.


           Overall, I think the author made a well-informed
article speaking on race switching and educated those on who didn’t know. I think
for further research the author could examine findings on how the coping method
of racial switching effects biracial individuals later on and the psychological
effects that it has on those who have a fluidity in their racial identity. This
has helped me in my research by the information that aided me in applying the author’s thesis into my thesis.





Learning About Family Background

Jackson Nakazawa: (Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?)                  (2003 P: 61-66)                                                                                                                    

Main Argument

In the text of “Learning About Family Background” the author is iterating on how when biracial children
are educated in their racial background have a stronger sense of their identity
and have a prouder sense of their roots than to those who don’t.

Development of Argument

The argument the author has developed is taken from
research by other authors that produced data from observations on psychological
sense of identity in biracial adolescents and has observations that she has
taken herself while researching for her book and specifically this article.


this article, Swanson is speaking on the fact that children who are taught of their
ancestry and family background and culture have a greater understanding of who
they are and builds a greater sense of identity. Knowledge of family background
gives children pride to stand on which is solid no one can comment or can shake
its foundation and a sense of belonging and
knowing to where they are from gives biracial children confidence to deal with
the challenges they will face one day from peers and themselves. As society insists
on classifying people into racial groups teaching adolescents about their
racial identity will help them not feel pressured to conform to other’s
expectations and societal norms and teaching them about their mixed heritage in
the hope that they’ll continue to celebrate every part of who they are will
contribute to them having a strong sense of identity. The more cultural
experiences biracial children have to get influence from, the better prepared
they will be to find an identity that ‘fits’ them.


To choose an identity, adolescents
first need to understand where they come from, they need to be familiar with foods, languages, and traditions from their cultural backgrounds. Encouraging their curiosity as they develop a racial identity helps
assure them that their biracial heritage is something to take pride in and will
help them in school and help them prepare for future teasing they may endure
from the monoracial children. As being biracial and even interracial marriages
aren’t a social norm or acceptable in some conservative community’s biracial children
will need to recognize the power that comes with the knowledge of their history
and is important in grounding them in who they are and where they come from. A study
showed that a biracial background gives kids a stronger appreciation for
diversity, the ability to understand multiple sides of controversial issues,
and enhanced creativity when it comes to problem
solving. In that, gives a child more education and learning experience
and will aid them later in life to be a better person, someone who isn’t
ignorant or close-minded. Telling a child that although they are multiracial
they should identify with only one race is all but guaranteed to set them up
for a state of inner turmoil and identity problems long term, it sends a
message that says to them that while they are one thing – both races – they
must pretend to everyone that they are something else which again will be
troublesome for later self-development and identity crisis when they do start
reaching the age of puberty.

Pressures from
peers can influence and contribute to an individual’s lack of identity, if not
properly informed a biracial child can never acknowledge and realize that they
are different from their monoracial peers if they were never told which makes
them more susceptible to teasing and bullying. Parents may not feel the need to
explain that they are different; to approach the issue of children’s biracial
identity by avoiding the topic, out of fear that it’ll draw unnecessary
attention to children’s racial uniqueness parents sometimes fear that if race
is an open topic, their kids may learn knowledge of what was once perpetrated against their race might damage
their sense of self. The author made a good point in the sense of sometimes
that with opening one door in conversation they might be slowly opening another
door for the future for bigger troubles that they won’t know how to deal with,
but I feel that no matter what a parent might feel and infer for the future
doesn’t add up to the fact that it not speaking on it will bring the child
psychological problems. One issue that biracial individuals often have trouble
understanding is trying to comprehend the basis of racial categories, to
understand why it is that existing racial categories in our society do no
account for them and make them feel more like an outcast that than they might
already feel. Herring states that “biracial children are particularly
vulnerable to differential treatments by their parents and relatives, social
rejection by their peers, and ambivalent attention in their schools and
communities” (Roger Herring 1992). Meaning that having open conversations
about who they are and ensuring that they have a sense of pride will decrease
the chances of a child having identity problems.


I thought this article was
exceptional to the points where she was saying how important it is that
biracial adolescents and children need to be taught family history and the
culture of where they have come from. The points she needed to elaborate on
more where other benefits of learning cultural history rather than just
speaking on identity, there could’ve been more ways a child could benefit in
the history where they could apply it later along in their lives. Also, I felt
that the author could have conducted a focus group comparing biracial adolescents
who have been raised in different ways seeing if teaching about background does
benefit a child’s identity. Other than that, I believe the author had a well-written article which was well informed on
why and how the teaching of family background
was a key part in the factor of forming a strong identity in biracial


this article, I thought the author stated exceptionally the benefits on why you
should inform biracial children on their family background to ensure that they
don’t have a more troublesome time with self-identity. For further research the
author should incorporate more of again of their own primary research methods in
order to get a stronger understanding of how educating children in a home about
their family background will help them enormously in self-identity.







of the Proposed Review


The overall findings of the literature do
support the original hypothesis, the original hypothesis is how the lack of
education makes a biracial individual develop an identity crisis and my finding
found evidence to support that statement. In the first article it articulated
that without the help of family and education whether that be formal or not
makes an individual confused as to who they are and would go through phases of
race switching in order to not only fit in but to suppress the pressure that
they feel have risen on them from the
external society and internally themselves. For
the second article, it highlighted the fact that without the education
of where they came from they would have a stronger development of identity
confusion and will have trouble with the enforcement of peers to be ‘one thing’
and conform to their monoracial world. As a result of my findings I am now
interested in further exploring how well biracial individuals do when they are
properly educated within a home and how their sense of identity has developed
and also how the comparisons on how the dynamic of monoracial parents in an interracial marriage are equipped to raise
biracial children and problems and issues pertaining to that.