Main ArgumentIn “So What Are You Anyways” speaks on how biracialmore specifically half black and half white children, go through ‘raceswitching’ as a mechanism of coping with the external and internal pressures ofracial identity. Development of ArgumentThe argument is developed from research by otherauthors that produced data from observations and focus groups and statistic onhalf black half white biracial individuals in the United States. Reflections/Critique: In thisarticle, it speaks on how biracial individuals more specifically halfblack and half white adolescents go through racial switching, this process of identifyingand de-identification is often dictated by the opportunities and advantages in their society. Which I found to be true becauseidentity development is difficult for almost all adolescents and more difficultfor biracial children specifically, biracial individuals face additionalproblems with identity when they are forced to identify with one racial groupwhile rejecting others, in order to make their lives ‘less complicated’ theywould pick the group in their racial makeup that in their society is moresocially acceptable. So, in the article individuals would more likely beinghalf black and half white pass themselves as the majority in their community orsociety at the time of adolescents but then identify as biracial or switch andidentify as the other race they are mixed with as they get older or as theymove to a more diverse, acceptable community. Inthe article the writer says, “Manybiracial individuals would identify as monoracial to the accepting race andbiracial individuals with at leastone black ancestor reported significantly more perceived discrimination thanany other minority monoracial group” which is entirely true, because less than 100 years ago inthe United States it was socially unacceptable for legal and classificationpurposes to be involved in an interracial marriage then the offspring in thoserelationships would face discrimination from society. Then they enforced the’one drop rule’ which stated that if a person had ‘one drop’ of AfricanAmerican they were solely to identify assuch, the word ‘biracial’ wasn’t a common term and was a taboo subject, notuntil 1968 that in the US it was unconstitutional for interracial marriagescould be legal and in Canada wasn’t illegal in the eyes of the law but againwas socially unacceptable. For many who do decide to identify as monoracial hasgrounds to justify their actions as in conservative communities are subjectedto discrimination by others.
I feel as if the author didn’t go in depth aboutthe issues also pertaining to racial switching and failed to inform on howthere are issues that also go along with it. Biracial individuals being thatthey are not made up of one race they may feel a sense of loneliness andunacceptance can come from feeling they don’t belong in either cultures or racebefore identifying as monoracial or picking an identity. Then after they have asense of identity whether that be as they choose to identify as monoracial orbiracial they may also feel as if they don’t live up to expectations of therace they identify with can cause disappointment or distress, they may feelthat they are in more of an identity crisis than they were before and beingexposed to two or more distinct cultures and having to balance them when theycan conflict and contradict each other inthe family setting may confuse them which again, causes a deeper sense ofconfusion of one’s self. They can often switch between both of their racestrying to find a sense of either balance between both or steady ground in onerace which leads to the main argument of how biracial individuals do raceswitch due to the pressure internally and externally in society.
What I thought was an issue is that I felt the authordidn’t elaborate on was the fact that some pressures came with intentional orunintentional assumptions; physiognomy ‘aperson’s facial features or expression, especially when regarded as indicativeof character or ethnic origin’ was a factor in which individuals werealready influenced to lean more to a certain race in where they are mixed with. Black-White biracial individuals are often compelled bysociety to self-identify as black if they do have more Afrocentric featuresthan those who have more Eurocentric features, and those individuals with a lighterskin complexion are often given more leeway in terms of self-identification asthey can choose whichever race they feel like most. identified somecharacteristics that made people less likely or more likely to race switch.Characteristics of those who were less likely to switch included individualsfrom higher socioeconomic status, those whose mothers had higher education, andindividuals with higher self-esteem. Furthermore, they found that anindividual’s skin color and the racial make-upof one’s neighborhood influenced the stagnancy and fluidity of one’s racialself-identification.
Hitlin, Brown & Elder (2006) This study shows howinternal family dynamic and the societal components influenced how biracialindividuals viewed themselves. Conclusions: Overall, I think the author made a well-informedarticle speaking on race switching and educated those on who didn’t know. I thinkfor further research the author could examine findings on how the coping methodof racial switching effects biracial individuals later on and the psychologicaleffects that it has on those who have a fluidity in their racial identity. Thishas helped me in my research by the information that aided me in applying the author’s thesis into my thesis. Learning About Family BackgroundDonnaJackson Nakazawa: (Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?) (2003 P: 61-66) Main ArgumentIn the text of “Learning About Family Background” the author is iterating on how when biracial childrenare educated in their racial background have a stronger sense of their identityand have a prouder sense of their roots than to those who don’t.
Development of ArgumentThe argument the author has developed is taken fromresearch by other authors that produced data from observations on psychologicalsense of identity in biracial adolescents and has observations that she hastaken herself while researching for her book and specifically this article.Reflections/Critique: Forthis article, Swanson is speaking on the fact that children who are taught of theirancestry and family background and culture have a greater understanding of whothey are and builds a greater sense of identity. Knowledge of family backgroundgives children pride to stand on which is solid no one can comment or can shakeits foundation and a sense of belonging andknowing to where they are from gives biracial children confidence to deal withthe challenges they will face one day from peers and themselves.
As society insistson classifying people into racial groups teaching adolescents about theirracial identity will help them not feel pressured to conform to other’sexpectations and societal norms and teaching them about their mixed heritage inthe hope that they’ll continue to celebrate every part of who they are willcontribute to them having a strong sense of identity. The more culturalexperiences biracial children have to get influence from, the better preparedthey will be to find an identity that ‘fits’ them. To choose an identity, adolescentsfirst 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 helpsassure them that their biracial heritage is something to take pride in and willhelp them in school and help them prepare for future teasing they may endurefrom the monoracial children. As being biracial and even interracial marriagesaren’t a social norm or acceptable in some conservative community’s biracial childrenwill need to recognize the power that comes with the knowledge of their historyand is important in grounding them in who they are and where they come from. A studyshowed that a biracial background gives kids a stronger appreciation fordiversity, the ability to understand multiple sides of controversial issues,and enhanced creativity when it comes to problemsolving. In that, gives a child more education and learning experienceand will aid them later in life to be a better person, someone who isn’tignorant or close-minded. Telling a child that although they are multiracialthey should identify with only one race is all but guaranteed to set them upfor a state of inner turmoil and identity problems long term, it sends amessage that says to them that while they are one thing – both races – theymust pretend to everyone that they are something else which again will betroublesome for later self-development and identity crisis when they do startreaching the age of puberty.
Pressures frompeers can influence and contribute to an individual’s lack of identity, if notproperly informed a biracial child can never acknowledge and realize that theyare different from their monoracial peers if they were never told which makesthem more susceptible to teasing and bullying. Parents may not feel the need toexplain that they are different; to approach the issue of children’s biracialidentity by avoiding the topic, out of fear that it’ll draw unnecessaryattention to children’s racial uniqueness parents sometimes fear that if raceis an open topic, their kids may learn knowledge of what was once perpetrated against their race might damagetheir sense of self. The author made a good point in the sense of sometimesthat with opening one door in conversation they might be slowly opening anotherdoor 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 futuredoesn’t add up to the fact that it not speaking on it will bring the childpsychological problems. One issue that biracial individuals often have troubleunderstanding is trying to comprehend the basis of racial categories, tounderstand why it is that existing racial categories in our society do noaccount for them and make them feel more like an outcast that than they mightalready feel. Herring states that “biracial children are particularlyvulnerable to differential treatments by their parents and relatives, socialrejection by their peers, and ambivalent attention in their schools andcommunities” (Roger Herring 1992). Meaning that having open conversationsabout who they are and ensuring that they have a sense of pride will decreasethe chances of a child having identity problems. I thought this article wasexceptional to the points where she was saying how important it is thatbiracial adolescents and children need to be taught family history and theculture of where they have come from. The points she needed to elaborate onmore where other benefits of learning cultural history rather than justspeaking on identity, there could’ve been more ways a child could benefit inthe history where they could apply it later along in their lives.
Also, I feltthat the author could have conducted a focus group comparing biracial adolescentswho have been raised in different ways seeing if teaching about background doesbenefit a child’s identity. Other than that, I believe the author had a well-written article which was well informed onwhy and how the teaching of family backgroundwas a key part in the factor of forming a strong identity in biracialindividuals.Conclusion: Inthis article, I thought the author stated exceptionally the benefits on why youshould inform biracial children on their family background to ensure that theydon’t have a more troublesome time with self-identity. For further research theauthor should incorporate more of again of their own primary research methods inorder to get a stronger understanding of how educating children in a home abouttheir family background will help them enormously in self-identity.
LITERATURE REVIEWCONCLUSIONS Findingsof the Proposed Review The overall findings of the literature dosupport the original hypothesis, the original hypothesis is how the lack ofeducation makes a biracial individual develop an identity crisis and my findingfound evidence to support that statement. In the first article it articulatedthat without the help of family and education whether that be formal or notmakes an individual confused as to who they are and would go through phases ofrace switching in order to not only fit in but to suppress the pressure thatthey feel have risen on them from theexternal society and internally themselves. Forthe second article, it highlighted the fact that without the educationof where they came from they would have a stronger development of identityconfusion 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 nowinterested in further exploring how well biracial individuals do when they areproperly educated within a home and how their sense of identity has developedand also how the comparisons on how the dynamic of monoracial parents in an interracial marriage are equipped to raisebiracial children and problems and issues pertaining to that.