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Counseling Individuals of Multiracial Descent

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Courtney McArthur

on 30 October 2012

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Transcript of Counseling Individuals of Multiracial Descent

Counseling Individuals
of Multiracial Descent By: The Tiger Tots "Check All That Apply" History Important Dates One Drop Rule Big Problem Statistics Constantly fighting for right to identify themselves as belonging to more than one racial group.
Mixed race are ignored, neglected and considered nonexistent in our educational materials, media portrayals and literature.
Lead to psychological and social stressors in identity formation, lowered self-esteem, and existence between the margins of 2 or more cultures. The inability of people to distinguish the monoracial category of the multicultural individual from prototypical characteristics.
Play a major role in how people perceive a multiracial person
“One Drop Rule” Definition: Racial/Ethnic Ambiguity Societal Issues 7.3 million report more than one race
White and some other race- 2.3 million
White and American Indian- 1.3 million
White and Asian- 862,000
White and African American- 792,000
30-70% African American interracial.
Women more likely to marry interracially.
Highest rate of interracial marriage
White men and Asian women Mental health professionals receive little training in working with multiracial clients victimized by having monoracial categories imposed upon them!!!!! 1967 Biracial Baby Boom
Last law against race mixing repealed.
Children living in families where 1 parent is White and the other is African American, Asian or American Indian tripled.
2000 Census Debate
Check more than 1 box for racial identities. “Do you know how powerful black blood is?”
Assigning the person of mixed racial heritage to the least desirable racial status.
European Americans attempt to maintain racial purity and superiority by passing laws against interracial marriages.
Additional property for slave owners.
Counsel those that feel lesser than a White person and have identity confusion. Our society places a continuing negative association with the process and dynamics that produce a multiracial child
Interracial marriages
Interracial relationships
The language associated with multiracial offspring is unfamiliar and undesirable
Mulatta (o)
Mestiza (o)
Others? Societal Issues Cont. “What are you?” question asks biracial children to justify their existence in a world rigidly built on the concepts of racial purity and monoracialism
This is then reinforced by multiracial people attempting to answer the “What are you?” question by trying to figure out the motives of the interrogator:
“Why does it matter”
“Do they see me as an oddity?” Implications Multiracial children often feel isolated and feel little support from their parents, especially true for monoracial parents who are not multiracial
Ex: How does a White mother married to a Black husband raise her child- White, Black, Mixed, Other?
Parents of interracial marriages sometimes fail to understand challenges their multiracial children face
Therapists can help interracial couples understand each other’s worldview, especially if the value differences between them are large, and to prepare their children for questions regarding racial heritage (Kenney, 2002) The Marginal Syndrome:
Existing between the Margins Racial/Ethnic Ambiguity "What are you?" Definition Mixed-raced people begin life as “marginal individuals” because society views the races as unequal and because their ethnic identities are unclear
Sometimes viewed as fractionated people: comprised of fractions of a race, culture, or ethnicityIdentity purgatory: the existence of a person of mixed race who lives on the margins of one or several worlds, not fully included in any. Root’s Healthy Resolutions
of Marginality 1. Acception of the societally- assigned identity
2. Identification with both groups
3. Active single racial identity
4. Identification with a new “mixed-race heritage” or multicultural identity Implications Therapists should be aware of the growing number of multiracial individuals who are choosing “multiracial” as their identity
Should not be interpreted as confusion or inability to commit to an integrated identity
Therapists should be aware that being multiracial does not lead to emotional problems. It’s the society and environmental issues that negatively influences the individual Stereotypes and Myths:
Multiracial individuals
and Interracial Couples “There is a stereotype that multiracial individuals are fundamentally flawed, even pathologically wounded, because they embody two halves that cannot fit together.”– Michel Marriot, NY Times
Multiracial individuals:
Have an immoral or troubled lifestyle
Suffer from identity problems
Have low-self esteem
Are socially isolated
Are forced to identify with only one racial group Stereotypes and Myths Stereotypes of
Multiracial Children Multiracial children:
Are inferior to monoracial children
Are prone to major social and psychological problems (Sue & Sue, 2008)
Previous legal prohibitions against interracial relationships are one reason as to why multiracial children may also be subjected to negative perceptions and stereotypes Stereotypes of Interracial Marriages and Relationships Individuals who chose to ‘marry out’:
Possess low self-esteem
Are filled with self-loathing
Harbor feelings of inferiority
Stereotypes fluctuate depending on the race and the gender of the person ‘marrying out’
Examples of this stereotype include… Take away points! As counselors in training:
It is important to dismantle these myths
Provide a safe context for talking about race
Understand that clients may have internalized these stereotypes
Tracy Herring
Courtney McArthur
Jacelyn Miller
Sean Nevarro
Jaclyn Shaw http://www.youtube.com/v/bMb_jDwZs48&start=0&end=108&version=3 A Multiracial Bill of Rights “How exactly does a person be one-fourth, one –eighth, or one-half something? To fragment myself and others…was to unquestioningly be deployed to operate the machinery that disenfranchised myself, my family, my friends, and others I was yet to meet.” – Maria Root To help her in her personal and professional journey, she developed the "Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People" comprised of three major affirmations: resistance, revolution, and change. Resistance I have the right not to:
Justify my existence in this world
Keep the races separate within me
Be responsible for people’s discomfort with my physical ambiguity
Justify my ethnic legitimacy Revolution I have the right to:
Identify myself differently than strangers expect me to
Identify myself differently from how my parents identify me
Identify myself differently than my brothers and sisters
Identify myself differently in different situations Change I have the right to:
Create a vocabulary to communicate about being multiracial
Change my identity over my lifetime—and more than once
Have loyalties and identify with more than one group of people
Choose freely whom I befriend and love Implications Challenges the notions of a monoracial classification system
Reorients our thoughts about the many myths of multiracial persons
Makes us aware of the systemic construction and rationalizations of race
Warns us about the dangers of fractioning identities
Advocates freedom of choice for the multiracial individual Multiracial Strengths Enhanced feelings of cultural competence
Comfort in more than one cultural setting
Ability to shift between multiple identities helps buffer the effects of stereotypes on performance
Perception of the individual can change Implications for Clinical Practice Become aware of your own stereotypes and preconceptions regarding interracial relationships and marriages.
Avoid stereotyping; this may deny an individual of their own uniqueness.
See multiracial people in a holistic fashion rather than fractions of a person; emphasize positive qualities of the total person; be careful with the “What are you?” question.
Remember that being a multiracial person often means coping with marginality, isolation, and loneliness which are often brought about by external factors related to prejudice. Identify strengths regarding multicultural identity as well as the challenges faced by the individuals and the resources available to them.
Emphasize freedom to choose their own identity; consider Root’s Bill of Rights; there is no one identity suitable for everyone and they can change often.
Take an active psychoeducational approach. Help clients understand oppression and empower them to take an active role in formulating their own identity. Stress positive attributes and advantages of being multiracial and multicultural.
Recognize that family counseling may be valuable in working with mixed-race clients, especially children.
Ensure multiracial clients that you possess basic knowledge of the history and issues related to hypodescent thinking (One Drop Rule), ambiguity (What are you?), marginality, and racial/cultural identity. THE

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