Biracial, Multiracial Identity, Who am I?
North Carolina Central University
Dr. Kyla Kurian
June 17, 2009
Biracial, Multiracial, What are you? Who are you? What do you have in you? It is quite difficult labeling me as a black African female; I’d imagine it is much more complex to define who you are when your heritage is comprised of many different cultures. How does one define who they are when this is the case? Does one embrace one culture and deny another? As the President of the United States does Barack Obama deny his one culture to give African Americans that point that we need for overcoming yet another hurdle of adversity? Does Tiger Woods the famous golf player embrace his own cultures or does he chose to say I’m black and I’m proud? As a biracial child whom should they embrace, whom should they deny? What is biracial and multiracial? The term being biracial is defined as; of, relating to, or involving members of two races (biracial (2009), In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.) Multiracial is defined in a similar façade, which is being composed of, involving, or representing various races. The mere term race in a noun form is defined as a breeding stock of animals,; family tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock, or a class of people unified by shared interest, habits, or characteristics. So how does one identify who they are when the true definition of race is classifying one as livestock or animal? Do we continue to dehumanize ourselves by choosing to pick a category? Quite simple yes! Society at large demands it! The government demands it! So now tell me what are you?
Multicultural education has become a very important issue in this day and age. Diversity in the United States will become increasingly reflected in our country’s schools (Banks & Banks, 2003). According to the US Department of Education (The Condition of Education 2007) reports that 42 percent of public high school students belonged to racial or ethnic minorities in 2005; which is up from 22 percent in 1972. Moreover, the percentage of school aged children (ages 5-17) who spoke a language other than English at home increased from 9to 20 percent between 1972 and 2007.While the nation’s students are becoming increasingly diverse, most of the nation’s teachers are White, middle-class, and female. Nearly, 87 percent are White, and 72 percent are female (Banks &Banks, 2003). These demographic trends play important roles for education at large(Banks & Banks, 2003). The National Association for Multicultural Education is a needed component of continuing values, morals, and principles. It values cultural and ethnic differences and clearly maintains interest in that of the students, their families, and communities reflect. Multicultural education aids students in developing positive identities by providing knowledge about and exposure to the history, culture, traditions, and perspectives of diverse groups. This is extremely critical for students of color, as ethnic identity is oftentimes directly related to self-concept and self-esteem (Aries, 1989; Banks, 1999; Brubaker & Kahn, 1998; Chandra, 2006; Ford et al, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Maldonado, 1975). Multicultural education serves as the medium through which students are trying to free their perception, or lack there of, about self and others with the many messages and view points they receive from family, peers and their community. Current curriculum offers numerous opportunities for incorporation of multicultural education. One such multidisciplinary approach is incorporating multicultural literature in the curriculum. Multicultural literature offers an abundance of opportunities to explore and discuss similarities and differences, values and beliefs, language and dress, etc. (Banks, 1989; Landt, 2006; Singer & Smith, 2003). Literature provides students with a...