Advantages of Rasing Biracial Children (Written by Charlene Lam)

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According to 2000 U.S. census, 2.4 % of the US population which report themselves as people who have two or more races. (United States). The number of interracial couples has reached to 1.6 million, which account for almost 4 % of U.S. marriages. ( Fletcher, par. 3 ). In a melting pot country like the United States, where immigration and emigration rates are high, inter-cultural marriage has become an inevitable by- product of mobility. Interracial marriage refers to a marriage which consists of couples with two different racial backgrounds. For example, a Chinese women married to an American. While the intermarried couples have to adapt their racial differences, their cultural background would assert a significant influence on the development of their offspring. In addition, society has also held different views on them. Children raised in a interracial family are often believed to encounter problems like a feelings of alienation, a sense of low-esteem, loss of self- identity, culture and tradition, which may cause personality disorders and affect the child's social behaviors. However, there are also positive assumptions about biracial children like better language ability and higher adaptability to the society.

In my research paper, I will look into how intermarriage influences the development of a child and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a child raised in a family with different racial backgrounds.

Identity is a fundamental question that intrudes in biracial children's minds. Since a biracial child usually inherits some traits from the maternal side and some from the paternal side, a biracial child is an amalgam of both races. Therefore, a seemingly simple question, "Who are you?" can create a difficult situation for them. From the studies by Betty Lee Sung, she found out that biracial children have presented themselves in various ways. For example, a black – white adolescent girl would wear two distinct hairstyles, sometimes an Afro hairdo and sometimes straight, to represent her black and white identifications. ( Rose 49). A lady with Chinese white parentage presented herself as "I am only half Chinese", trying to deemphasizing her Asian identity and emphasizing her Caucasian heritage. (Sung 110). In some cases, the subject was not willing to define himself and he simply let others to define him. (Sung 110). The case studies indicate that biracial children easily fall into the trap of duality, confusion about oneself's identification, and it leads to different problems like alienation, loneliness, which they are subjected to in daily life.

The concept of duality is reflected upon by both oneself and the society. Rose points out parents' perception on the child is very important and significant for a child to determine his/her own identity. If "they are unified in their perception of him, he is more likely to have an integrated sense of self." (Rose 57) The child in Harris family has clearly demonstrated that the parental influence in the sense of the identification of both black and white in a child. (Rose 57) With a unified view from her parents, she has a good sense of who she is and her identification is not fragmented. A sense of identity is a dynamic process. In addition to the influence from parents in a biracial family, a sense of identity also involves interactions between the society and the child. It is an unavoidable fact that our society tends to categorize people racially or ethnically according to their physical appearance. Even for ourselves, we could subconsciously engage in like-attract-like phenomenon in our daily life. For instance, I notice that in the international school that I went to in Hong Kong, Chinese students would tend to sit together for lunch or dinner while "black" students would tend to congregate together at the other end of the dining hall. While segregation of a "pure" group does not seem have any problem with it, biracial children may find it hard to find a...
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