Way Back in 1997, famous golf player Tiger Woods shocked the world by describing himself as “Cablinasian,” representing the totality of his racial background – a combination of “Caucasian,” “Black,” “American Indian,” and “Asian” heritage (Nagai, 2010, p. 1). The U. S. is the most racially diverse country in the world thanks to immigration. And because native-born Americans have been more accepting and welcoming of interracial relationships, an incline in the percentage of intermarriages and multiracial children is predictable (Nagai, 2010, p. 4).
All races of people thrive here. Currently, 9% of the school population is reported to be multiracial and the number is expected to increase to 21% by 2050 (Brown, 2009, p. 124). Biracial population, as a branch of multiracial population, refers individuals whose parents are of different single races (Gullickson, & Morning, 2011, p. 498). Attention has been drawn to multiracial/biracial people lately due to the increasing exposures of famous multiracial/biracial people.
The most obvious example will be Barack Obama, current President of the Untied States of America, whose father is African and mother is white American (Chang- Ross, 2010, p. 108). Besides the fact that multiracial people’s excellence in various domains is acknowledged, another significant reason for scholars to be interested in racially-mixed people is that federal government made an adjustment in its official classification system recently and allow individuals to choose more than one race which apply (Gullickson, & Morning, 2011, p. 498).
It is exciting that multiracialism brings all races closer; however, it also raises problems due to its complexity. Multiracial people’s appearances are usually exotic and hard for people to define their races. “What are you? ” is probably the most commonly odd questions they receive when meeting new people (Chang- Ross, 2010, p. 108). Even though it is not a pleasant question to be asked, it still shows that people understand the racial entirety of a mixed race individual rather than solely classify s/he in an exclusive race category.
Tiger Woods’ self-identification as multiracial caused a controversy and challenged the world on its old belief for centuries that racial category is homogenous (Nagai, 2010, p. 1). And due to historical reasons, several conventions are assigned to identify mixed race people. The most well-known one is called “one drop rule”– if an individual has any known African ancestry, s/he will be categorized as black socially and officially (Gullickson, & Morning, 2011, p. 499). Therefore it is hard for the society to accept the concept of defining a person in more than one race in a short period.
And because of the exclusive race categorization, racially mixed people face a difficult time to be accepted as a totality of all their heritages by other. Tiger Woods expressed that he felt troubled when people only identify him as African American because of his skin color (Hall, 2001, p. 334). Studies show that racially mixed people tend to have higher depression symptoms and lower self-esteem if part of their heritages is not acknowledged by other people (Townsend, Markus, &Bergsieker 2009, p. 193). Since multiracial population refer to a huge number of people, my paper will emphasize on the issues of biracial people.
It is necessary for the society to respect biracial people’s identity choices, therefore people need to understand that family Influences, public impacts and self – realization work together for biracial people to conclude their self-identities and build up their self-respects. It is necessary to be clarified that young children are not cognitive to races, therefore people’s realization of racial distinctions start at early teenage time ((Townsend, Markus, &Bergsieker 2009, p. 193). Ever since then, family, society and selves will each play a dominant role in mixed race people’s identification choices chronically.
Courtney from Study Moose
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