Challenges for multiracial children
It seems that in a century from now we’ll all be multiracial children, so why not solve our problems today?
Let’s face it, there is no such thing as a traditional family anymore, whether we like it or not. Typical families are long gone, giving their place to more “unconventional” ones. Things have changed and as long as our societies can handle it, change is not a bad thing at all. During the past decades we have seen more and more people from different races falling in love and living happily ever after. Some of them took their relationship a step further and had children and with the birth of those children, multiracial families were also born.
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Over the time, we have seen many beautiful and inspiring interracial celebrity couples in Hollywood such as Robert Pattinson and British singer FKA Twigs, John Legend and Christine Teigen, Tina Turner and Erwin Bach, Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower, Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego and many more. Some of them have children together, multiracial children.
Back in the days
There was a time that it was a crime for White and non-White people to get married. Let’s take for example the U.S. up to 1967, marriages and relationships between White and non-White people were banned in many U.S. states. Children coming from multiracial backgrounds were considered “illicit results of such illegal relationships” and were considered second-class citizens. Nevertheless, this is not the case anymore. During the last decades, multiracial population has been growing at a fast pace, especially in the U.S and Europe. Mixed-race children make up a sizable demographic group among U.S. and European citizens under the age of 18.
Ιn 2013, 9 million American citizens identified themselves as more than one race and 10% of children born in the U.S were biracial. In the U.S. marriages between White and non-White people have increased by 400% in the last 30 years. Marriages between non-White and Asian people have increased by 1000% - quite a number!
Furthermore, according to a recent survey, 47% of white teens, 60% of black teens, and 90% of Hispanic teens stated that they have dated someone of another race.
Challenges in the lives of multiracial children
Despite a significant growth in the population of mixed-race individuals and even more significant changes in the laws of our countries, mixed-race children are still experiencing significant challenges.
1. Racial Devaluation
Racial devaluation by other family members is one of them. Although it is natural for brothers and sisters to fight over everything, sometimes the conflict takes a racial form. Comments between them on their color, facial features etc., can very easily traumatize children. Multiracial families sometimes avoid discussing racial issues with their children. However, race and racism are a reality that needs to be discussed with them. Parents should encourage a multicultural lifestyle for the whole family rather than playing hide and seek.
Mixed-race children may even experience discrimination within their immediate environment such as within their family, close friends’ circle, at school, by neighbors or by the greater community. Some of them may not realize how lucky they are to have been born in a multi-ethnic family and may only see the problem, and not the bigger picture, with their diverse heritage. Unfortunately, something like this can lead to behavioral or emotional problems. Parents should prepare their children for these situations and educate them in a way to accept and embrace their multiracial nature, instead of rejecting it. If things turn ugly, a family therapist could help solve the problem.
To conclude, it should be said that parents play a significant role when it comes to raising children in a multicultural and multiracial environment. They are the ones to inform them about any situation they might get themselves into. They are the ones to teach them to love their rich genetic background and protect them from racism.
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