Do mixed race adolescents behave badly?

Posted by James, 01 Jul 09

There are some bad adolescent behaviors that whites do more than blacks (like drinking and smoking), and there are other bad adolescent behaviors that blacks do more than whites (watching TV, fighting, getting sexually transmitted diseases). Mixed-race kids manage to be as bad as whites on the white behaviors and as bad as blacks on the black behaviors. Mixed-race kids act out in almost every way …

Steven D. Levitt, "The Plight of Mixed Race Adolescents" Freakonomics blog post

I have no idea why, when making reference to mixed-race individuals we think black and white. First of all, this study ended up being about black/white biracial children completely ignoring children of Latino-Black, Black-Asian, and other interracial pairings.

That aside, adolescence is the time during which most people have pressure of identity. The above is based on assumption that black adolescents stick to black norms; white adolescents stick to white norms; mixed race on the other hand have a choice. They can chose to adopt black or white norms. And when it comes to trying to fit in with their peers, they end up choosing riskier behaviors from both groups so as to gain acceptance.

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Are mixed-race adolescents forced to engage in more risky behaviors just to fit in? Do you think the above assumption applies for other mixed-race adolescents (besides black/white)?

16 responses to "Do mixed race adolescents behave badly?"

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  1. Posted: 13 Jul 10

    I am astounded at the ignorance of so many people on this site. Races of people have been reproducing isolated from other races for thousands of years, THE FACT IS, racial mixing CAUSES more genetic Defects by blending two distinctly evolved races, who over thousands of years BRED OUT? MANY defects. Certainly it seems all of you people have little more than a high school education, as you are totally oblivious to Genetic Anomalies within specific Haplogroups. Do you know why the worlds population is getting SICKER? Racial INTERBREEDING!!

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  2.   Member says:
    Posted: 15 Apr 10

    we are all part of the zion nation. govt racial experiments to create gifted children to help the planet nuff said. bless us mixed kidz. whom they both shune and stare in awe of. watching our every move.

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  3.   Sean says:
    Posted: 26 Mar 10

    People you are all looking way too far into this. Levitt is a trained Economist simply using statistics. He means no racism. He does not mean to say that ALL interracial children WILL DEFINITELY engage in these acts. He's just looking at the popular chunk of data that was used. If you question how he got this data, perhaps something will be uncovered that supports your point. But just from what he said, its unfair to judge in anyway. But statistics doesn't lie. The people in which you get the original data DO. Regardless, Levitt isn't to blame. And comparing him to Stalin is just as irrational as the racism that you have shoved into Levitt's mouth.

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  4.   wonka says:
    Posted: 09 Mar 10

    Keep trying(Violetq!!).

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  5. Posted: 05 Feb 10

    Another 'academentic' afraid of mixing races. Just come out am say it. Is this a Levitt defense of Israel's apartheid lifestyle, India's caste system, China's Han superiority, or just good 'ole' American buckshot skull measurement theory.(The theory is Antebellum and well worth the read.) Pick your poison. There are so many others to go around. Of course I'm speaking about inter-ethnic breeding. Well, maybe my kids did get picked on in school, not invited to (your fill in the blank) ______'s only events. And they certainly were hurt and affected by it. It will never be easy in a world where most people, whether they admit it or not are racially biased, and being 'born out of race' is frowned upon. Pick a stereo type and then triple the negativity you get not fitting in, and you begin to know what late childhood and adolescence is for these kids, unless they are raised in a special sheltered environment. Me, I watched them take their lumps, especially as both were highly gifted.There is not much more you really can do as a parent, except be there for them. I even have a theory about the whole business;that mixing makes a better gene pool.Levitt says better looking, how about,in the long term, better adjusted to the venom of this world. As they move into adulthood, they understand better than most, what race means. I'm sorry to repeat myself, but, it wasn't very easy for them.People like Levitt don't help. Any fool can manipulate data, and when your allies control the department,or media,get published. There isn't enough space here, to write about what my mixed kids,or others I knew, had to go through. Are they stronger for it. Hell yes. Do I know that there is a political agenda against mixing races.Of course. That too. Why is it that Obama is 'black', Tiger Woods, black, Halle Berry, Black, ... ? Why not mixed, Mr. Levitt. Does it have anything to do with mainline Jewish beliefs, that only a Jewish woman can produce a true Jew? Or that the highest level in Hinduism must be a pure bred Brahman. Or that most ethnic groups seem to adhere to the notion that the solution to ethnic problems is ethnic purity,or is as in the words of Elizabeth I, while conferring with her council about what to do with the constantly rebelling, unruly,Irish,"The only solution to the Irish Question is to exterminate the Irish." From which Hitler took, 'exterminate the Jews'. Cromwell, "Nits make lice." Col. Chivington, US Cavalry, verifying instructions to exterminate all Cheyenne at Sand Creek, "Nits make lice." Hence the ethos of Stalin's ethnic policies. James, if I may call you that, I think you want people to dig deep inside of themselves, so I will give you that,just as I am inclined to think you mean well, but, given the diatribes I have read on this site, don't you think that you are also risking the veneer of comradely unity that Americans, for the most part, finally ashamed to be called racialists, wear. Look how easy it has been to call down hate upon the Muslims, progressives or extremists. Hatred is easy to spread. Some of your reader might be surprised to learn, that "lynching" was an old English practice, going back centuries before its ugly head rose here in America. It was a special threat for Irish violators of the Statutes of Kilkenny(sp?), 1362, which also mandated apartheid on that unfortunate island, among many other things. Practices that would be used here against the American Indians, and the Africans. I signed up to this site some time ago, hoping for a breath of fresh air. There has been some. Sadly, there has also been a foul stench that permeates so much of the written debate. Where is this site going? A young woman, I believe from Pakistan, wrote and asked me, on another site, "Are you owned by America ?" My first impulse was to wonder if language had mutilated the question, are you from America. I haven't answered yet,since I had to then ask myself, are we all "owned by America". You see, I am asking myself as well, does that include this site, and what does that include and mean? Are we here to mingle and resolve differences? What America is that? I have not heard any 'Indians' speak here. I hear so many divisive questions. Are we owned by America ?

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  6. Posted: 23 Dec 09

    Well, most kids (IN GENERAL) DO look for acceptance.....it is just all about in what form and from where this acceptance comes. If it is positive reinforcement of good, solid values coming from parents and other acceptable role models then I think a "mixed" kid will respond the same as any other....pfft. And in fact, EVERYONE looks for acceptance in one way or another. One might wear their hair a certain way to impress other....another might dress a certain way to get attention/acceptance. Nothing is actually wrong with this fact until people take it to the point where nothing else matter accept what OTHER people think of them. Peace and Blessings tatted2death

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  7.   Cleo says:
    Posted: 20 Dec 09

    Kids are kids and are the most influenced by there parents. Parents are to start young on how they will raise their kids. My kids are biracial and the we hold a high standard for us and them. They know what we except. And we are a close family!

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  8.   Violetq says:
    Posted: 18 Oct 09

    well, they do, becaude most of them are looking for acceptance.

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  9.   triccinicci says:
    Posted: 30 Sep 09

    I threw my television out a long time ago with the rest of the trash. You probably had to be black And have a television to even be part of the study. Which shows that many of these studies are done with a predisposed outcome to began with. Unless the study is done randomly, it's difficult to know how reliable it is. Still, random could mean selecting participants coming and going from a Best Buy, lol! Just consider the source before falling for this stuff

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  10.   Teska27 says:
    Posted: 15 Sep 09

    This is the perfect example of ignorance!!! All I can say is that there is good, bad, and ugly in every race. I rest my case.

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  11.   katlu8984 says:
    Posted: 13 Sep 09

    Now as much as I think that the person who wrote said state is an ignorant...well I'll be ladylike in my choice of words. There is something to be said about mixed race adolescents though. Being one I should know. I had the problem of being too white for the black kids to want to hang out with me and the white kids thought I was too black to hang out with them. Multi-racial adolescents have a lot of questions to answer in that time period about what type of the type of person they want to be and how they can assimilate into society. It's rough and a lot of times, I think multi-racial adolescents tend to act out, but so does every other adolescent from every other race. However, I do not always believe that schools, and peers are always understanding that mixed race kids have a lot of things on their mind.

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  12.   ezrhino2001 says:
    Posted: 09 Aug 09

    I agree the original statement is off by far, we of mixed race do not really hang out with just one race, yes we feel the mix. We feel one race is just as screwed up as the other. We date based on the person race has nothing to do with it. We do not act based on any race, how could we ???

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  13.   renee24 says:
    Posted: 05 Aug 09

    I have to agree with world citizen and ichibod, I work with children of all races. Behavior issue's have nothing to do with color, children often behave badly because of abuse or neglect. Which brings me to the important issue what are the parents teaching or not teaching their children? How did there parents raise them?

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  14.   _dream_ says:
    Posted: 30 Jul 09

    i work with kids, and being bad is not race exclusive. behavioral problems are behavioral problems, that have more to do with unrecognized mental issues and poor parenting than they do with the color or racial make-up of a child. the notion that behavior is somehow influenced by race in anyway is disgusting.

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  15.   Austrian says:
    Posted: 04 Jul 09

    I do not even take time to comment on the IGNORANT STATEMENT of 'Mixed Race Adolescents'. My son and daughter were born in the early and mid sixties. It was natural for my husband (Black) and me, to have friends from all different kinds of back grounds, subsequently our children grew up with all sorts of children and this was never an issue to be mentioned. We taught our children to love and respect their grand parents and other relatives. Both our American and European families never showed us their dislike of our mixed marriage. We were convinced, we had done something good. Especially, once the children turned out very handsome and smart. We took much effort to teach them very good behavior, being proud and not to be conceded, for living on the 'Good Side of Life'. We tried to keep them from bad influences - yet not sheltered - but pointed out the negative and emphasized on the positive. They had a broad range of culture to choose from and decided to enrich their lives by getting to know many other ethnicities. They turned out to be socially well accepted adults, who are respected, loved and admired here in the U.S. as well as Europe. I would like to encourage mixed couples to take a lot of effort into raising their children with the advantage of multiple cultures and languages from the time they are born. As in some of my other comments I must - once again - mention President Obama, who sets the best example of someone EXTRAORDINARY, who came from different cultures, although he himself had to search for his African roots. By finding them, he broadened his social awareness. WE NEED MORE ADULTS LIKE HIM!!!

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  16.   Ichibod says:
    Posted: 01 Jul 09

    I agree with you, James. I think Steve Levitt just doesn't like bi-racial (mixed race) adolescents. These adolescent will act out according to influences from family, friends, and other forces within their environments. As a kid, I don't believe I watched more TV than the next person, white, black, Asian, whatever. But where did fighting and getting sexually transmitted diseases come from? White kids drink and smoke more than blacks? He's just making this stuff up to sound smart, but fails miserably. Also, why must he assume that the adolescent would only behave badly in order to fit in? It's the same if a some white kid liked hanging with black kids and tried to act 'black'. Why choose the bad one's to emulate? I'm insulted. This happened a lot in my schools. I do agree that adolescence is the time most people have the pressure of identity. Depending on the races involved in the adolescent's genetic make up, they will do things to fit in with the group they choose to gain acceptance from according to norms, I just wonder where Steve got these alleged norms from. Growing up with bi-racial kids, my problem was if they were half-black and wanted to be associated with that, I hated when some would fall in with the bad black crowd rather than the good one. I wasn't bad so they called me 'white'. What would a black/white bi-racial kid's excuse be? That then becomes the responsibility of the parents. What they will allow from their child and most importantly who they allow their child to have as friends?

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