Resources That Explore Identity for Multicultural or Mixed-Race Families
July 6, 2021
The picture of the modern U.S. family is changing as the country grows more racially and ethnically diverse.
By 2060, 11 percent of children under age 18 will be multiracial (PDF, 407 KB), according to the latest Census Bureau projections. This new generation is much more likely to identify with multiple racial groups. What does this mean for multiracial families? And what does it mean for social workers, teachers and other professionals who work with them? These resources can be a helpful starting point for exploring mixed-race identity and other issues children may face.
Helping multiracial children process their views and experiences with race and identity starts with talking about it. Yet a review of the literature on racial-ethnic socialization in multiracial families found that most parents do not discuss multiracial identity with their children. Those conversations probably aren’t happening at school either.
“They are the fastest-growing youth population in the United States, yet we don’t exactly know how they fit into these curricula and interventions,” Sarah Gaither, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, told the Monitor on Psychology.
How do you engage children in a conversation about race? Just start talking, suggests EmbraceRace, an organization dedicated to creating and distributing resources for racial socialization that cater to young children. But that can be easier said than done.
To help facilitate those conversations, Social Work License Map has collected these resources that can be a helpful starting point for exploring mixed-race identity and other issues children may face.
Three Ways to Support Your Biracial Child, Magination Press: Children’s book author Lynnette Mawhinney, Ph.D., offers suggestions parents can use to assist in the emotional development of their biracial children.
The Benefits of Teaching Children to See Race, PBS KIDS: This article written by a white social worker and mother of four adopted Black and biracial children explores when, why and how to talk to kids about race and diversity.
How Cute! Is He Yours? The Longest Shortest Time podcast: In this episode, a Black woman and mom with a biracial son talks about what it’s like to be mistaken for the nanny by people of all races, and her comeback to that persistent question about her child.
Other: Mixed Race in America, The Washington Post: A five-part podcast series featuring interviews with multiracial people about what their racial identities mean to them.
How Kids Learn About Race, EmbraceRace: A webinar and transcript looking at the childhood landscape of racial learning and what factors, beyond what adults say to them explicitly, shape what children learn about race.
How Multiethnic People Identify Themselves, NPR, Talk of the Nation: A discussion with the lead author of a study showing that most people who are mixed race self-identify as biracial. But in many instances, multiethnic Americans change the way they self-identify depending on the context.
Nick News Presents: Kids, Race, and Unity: Hosted by Alicia Keys, Nick News talks with founders and leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, offers tools for families, including mixed-race families, to have constructive conversations about race and highlights teen activists who are fighting racial injustice.
Raising Multiracial Children: Tools for Nurturing Identity in a Racialized World, by Farzana Nayani: This book offers parents and caregivers practical guidance for exploring race with their children, including how to consciously foster racial identity development and cultivate a sense of belonging. It provides strategies, resources and developmentally appropriate milestones relevant to raising multiracial children from infancy through adulthood.
Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World, by Sharon H. Chang: Asian and multiracial are the fastest growing self-identified groups in the United States, yet young multiracial Asian children are underrepresented in the literature on racial identity. This book is drawn from research and interviews with 68 parents of multiracial children.
Creating a Family: A national adoption and foster care education and support nonprofit offering resources on their website and podcast for parents and professionals.
Mixed Race Studies: Scholarly perspectives on the mixed race experience with a roundup of podcasts, news articles, journal articles and blog posts.
Project RACE: A national volunteer advocacy organization involved in multiracial education, community awareness and inclusion. The group’s website features a blog, stories about multiracial families and event announcements, such as the annual Multiracial Heritage Week.