ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Raising Multi-Cultural Children in the 21st Century.

Updated on February 8, 2016
Raine Law Yuen profile image

Raine has interest in exploring the intersections between East and West, A South African Born Chinese with two children of mixed ancestry.

Raising Multicultural Children In The 21st Century: Multi-cultural Children will be in the majority globally  by 2050.
Raising Multicultural Children In The 21st Century: Multi-cultural Children will be in the majority globally by 2050. | Source

The world in 2050.

According to author Laurie Lali McCubbin,PHD 'The fastest growing youth group in the USA are multiracial children, which has increased almost 50 percent to 4.2 million since 2000 (Saulny, 2011). The overall population for multiracial individuals from 2000 to 2010 grew from 6.8 million to 9.0 million people, representing 2.9 percent of the country’s population.'

International forecast predict a multi-racial majority in the USA and other multi-cultural societies by the year 2050 with East Asians being one of the fastest growing minorities in multi-cultural societies.

It is also forecast that China will overtake the USA by 2050 as the worlds leading economy, placing America as the second biggest world economy.

The implications of these forecasts suggest that in the not too distant future:

China and America will lead the world.

Our future leadership and possibly heads of state could most likely come from a mixed race individual with part Asian heritage.

Barack Obama being the first mixed race president of not just any country but the most powerful country in the world.

What Values Will We Teach Our Future Leaders?

America is currently seen as the worlds most powerful nation built on values that reflect Western ideals of :

Individuality, Equality, Materialism, Science and Technology, Competition,Work ethic, Progress, Action and Achievement.

Studies are showing that these values are being increasingly imbalanced with the consequences that children are developing anti-social behaviours

Extreme Materialism leads to superficiality and overemphasis on external gratification.

Exclusive recognition of outcomes based only on science and technology leads to decisions devoid of inner reflection and mankind's long-term interest.

Over-emphasis of work leads to the increase of stress, poor health and breakdown of family values.

Competition at any cost leads to unfair practices, corruption, loss of personal integrity. and winning at any cost

imbalance in progress, action and achievement values leads to overly busy lives and family neglect.

China's success in applying the collective will of its people to turn its economy around into its current position as the imminent new world economic leader has also created a society over-focused on making money and economic prosperity often to the detriment of personal and family well-being.

Many perceive China today as a country that has lost its traditional values of harmony, mindfulness, kindness, modesty and inner reflection.


Extreme materialism leads to superficiality  with children  more inclined to develop antisocial behaviors when values are unbalanced.
Extreme materialism leads to superficiality with children more inclined to develop antisocial behaviors when values are unbalanced. | Source

How Children Affected by the Absence of Balanced Wholesome Values.

Children of today face challenges as never before. Modern life is characterized by multi-tasking, overly busy, absent and stressed parents often in conflictual relationships. Children are often left to their own devises to make decisions which they are ill prepared for or not equipped to make and as a consequence many a child tyrant has been born and bred.

Research indicates poor parenting skills are to blame for the ‘generation of angry children’ .

Child care professionals agree that more children today demonstrate anti-social behaviour characterized by angry, aggressive and disobedient behaviours coupled with absence of pro social behaviours of communication, co-operation and affirming

Mass media today is characterized by an abundance of shows that depict deviant behaviour as normal and often rewarding. As children learn from modelling, exposure to saturated multimedia blurs the line between the adult world and children’s lives. In the age of multimedia It is difficult for caregivers to cut off their family completely from electronic media where daily exposure to bad language, insulting, bullying behaviour are found across media platforms from popular songs, radio programmes, television, DVDs and the computer games.

TV and films are sexually explicit and violent, celebrities foul-mouthed.

The manners of successive generations reflect the cultural decline.




Issues of Multi-Racial Identity.

Racial and ethnic socialization is often more complicated for interracial families than for mono-racial families. For one, interracial marriages differ from the societal norm of marrying within one’s own racial or ethnic group, thus leaving parents without clear, established guidelines for socialization. Additionally, parents bring diverse ideologies and understandings of race and ethnicity to the family. Multiracial children also lack an identified community in which to belong (in the absence of an established class of multiracial children in US society), and since parents in interracial families are usually mono-racial, they cannot completely understand their multiracial child’s experience (Rockquemore, Laszloffy, & Noveske, 2006). Hughes and Chen (1999) identify a need for “creative, diverse and multiple methods” in order to adequately study racial and ethnic socialization (p. 469).

Chong said Asian-Americans face both the "model minority" stereotype, where they are perceived to achieve a higher level of success based on their race, and the "forever foreigner" problem, even if their family has lived in the United States for several generations. "They will still get questions like 'where are you from?' or ‘your English is so good,’ because your looks always mark you as being a foreigner," she said. "That's why I was very interested to see where Asian-Americans would fit into this."

Through the interviews. she found that the Asian-American spouses experienced this growing up, particularly if they lived in a mostly White community. Many noticed similar occurrences with their own children from the interracial marriage. "I find that a lot of it has to do with the way you look. Biracial kids who look more Caucasian have a much easier time than ones who look more Asian, because the ones that look more Asian just get marked," she said. Overall, Chong said a key finding in her study was how most Asian-American parents in the interracial couple typically gave little attention to their own ethnicity until they had children. "It's just so interesting how many of the participants said that they themselves couldn't care less. They actually say if I didn't have children, I wouldn't even be carrying about any of this business of reclaiming my ethnic identity or roots. It's just because of my children.

The increase in multi-racial population has led to many research studies on issues relating to this identity type.

  • Stereotyping
  • Discrimination
  • Lack of exposure to public role models, media, textbooks.
  • Racial classification of 'other'
  • Non-acceptance by respective mono-ethnic family members.
  • Being asked -'what are you'
  • Finding a sense of self and where they belong.

In spite of forecasts that predict a power shift to mixed race ancestry in the near future, many studies and personal analysis continue to relate from an historic mono-racial essentialist perspective.

Research funding is generally awarded to studies on multi-racial issues with a regional bias resulting in outcomes that do always progress the global nature of its true ethnic identity.




Be Well Informed about all aspect of multiculturalism.
Be Well Informed about all aspect of multiculturalism. | Source

How to Raise a Well Adjusted Bi-Racial Child.

Be Well Informed.

Read up, study and collect information about bi-racial identity. Knowledge is power and will empower and equip you to be supportive and pro-active in affirming your child's identity.

Refer to studies that debunk the mulatto myth. For example, a study by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry posits that “multiracial children do not differ from other children in self-esteem, or psychiatric problems.” On the contrary, mixed children tend to celebrate diversity and appreciate an upbringing in which various cultures played a part.

Celebrate Your Child's Multi-ethnic Heritage.

Research indicates that kids who are allowed to embrace all sides of their heritage have the greatest chance of growing up to be well adjusted.

mixed children may choose a racial identity based on which parent they spend time with most.

Choose A School That Is Culturally Diverse.

Enrol your child in a school that celebrates cultural diversity. note whether the school keeps books with multi-ethnic characters.

Donate books to the school if the library lacks them.

Talk to teachers about racist bullying in the classroom and discuss ways to counteract them.

Parents can provide a sense of identity affirmation and security by discussing types of challenges they’re likely to face. For example, a common question asked “What are you?” Talk to children about the best way to answer such questions.

Network with Fellow Kin Globally.

Mixed race identity is an identity based on ethnicity rather than region. The internet provides networking opportunities through fellowship sites and forums. (Don't allow children direct access without parental mediation)

An increasing number of mixed race communities are being established to provide global association opportunities. Example the mixed Japanese hafu community.

Live in a Multicultural Neighborhood

If you can live in an area where diversity is the norm and the higher the chances that a number of interracial couples and multiethnic children will live there.

Support Cultural Events.

Broaden your child's knowledge and acceptance of different cultures? Some events that take place annually include Chinese New Year St. Patrick’s Day,

Visit a museum with themes of racial oppression such as slavery, the holocaust, Apartheid, Japanese American Internment. How do you bring up racial oppression with children?

Teach Your Children Cultural Pride.

Expose your children to positive role models.

Provide resources from toys, books, films, music that has images of people from their cultural background.

Be an Example To Your Children.

Children learn by following your example as parent. If you want your children to be respectful and non judgemental towards other races You need to check your own biases about different races.

Teaching Kids about Race and Cultural Diversity

A good time to teach children about different races and cultures is when they are in Grade school as this is the time when children are naturally curious about themselves and others and a time when they form opinions about others.




Educate your children about diversity and encourage them to value all sides of their heritage.
Educate your children about diversity and encourage them to value all sides of their heritage. | Source
Donate Books on multiculturalism to your school of they do not have any.
Donate Books on multiculturalism to your school of they do not have any. | Source

Affirming Bi-Racial identity Through Education.

Teachers need to encourage students to shift to Banks' (2003) social action approach which means that students must engage in problem-solving and critical thinking activities that require them to evaluate and take action on social issues rather than only surface level concepts are being taught but the mainstream curriculum remains the same.

Biracial students should see themselves in the curriculum through famous biracial or multiracial historical individuals, such as George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DeBois, as well as more contemporary ones, such as Bob Marley, Tiger Woods, Colin Powell, Halle Berry, Derek Jeter, Alicia Keys, and Barack Obama. Also, inviting members from the local community into schools to reinforce the presence of biracial role models not only validates racial identity for biracial students, but also helps white and other minority children recognize the growing number of biracial and multiracial people around them. Having real role models is crucial to students' overall success and positive racial identity (Wardle & Cruz-Janzen, 2004).

Finally, teachers should supply their classroom libraries with picture books, adolescent novels, and reference books that focus on biracial children. This requires effort on the teachers' part, due to many schools' and libraries' lack of resources about biracial children.

Three major themes and associated issues emerged from the community dialogues:

1. Communication
2. Assistance to Families
3. Implications of Racial and Cultural Difference
4. Accountability

In general terms, regarding each of the areas, participants expressed

A need to communicate clearly and consistently the school systems mission, programs, progress, opportunities and challenges.

A need for strengthened channels of communication between and among the school staff, parents, and community members

A need for assistance in identifying and accessing available community and governmental supports and resources

A desire for school-based parenting centers, to include parent effectiveness training

A conviction that sensitivity training in racial and cultural difference, be provided to all levels of school personnel as well as to families, would improve relations between the schools, the community and families

Specific issues that I identified from the community meetings are summarized below,

1. Communications

Parents were concerned with both the accuracy and consistency of information they received from school personnel at all levels. For example, how schools operate, the nature of, and access to, special programs and services with which many parents are not familiar, and their rights to information about their children's academic experiences and performance.

A need for the development of common strategies and procedures and common paths of dissemination was expressed often by parents and community leaders alike.

Further examination revealed that the variances and disparities that were so frustrating extended to such areas as commitment of personnel to teaching children, curriculum, textbook adoption, and ways in which parents were (or were not) valued by school personnel.

Non-teaching school personnel should be regarded as valuable community and school resources and they should be encouraged to become familiar to parents and students.

Finally, it was strongly suggested that other organizations in the community be utilized as communications vehicles: churches, civic organizations, etc.

2. Family Assistance.

The schools are seen as institutions within the community that might assist families by compiling listings of resources of support and by making referrals for families in need.

There is a pervasive view among community folks that the system itself has narrowly defined "parental involvement" to mean attendance at parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings and that only the proscribed activities are valued as evidence of involvement and/or concern. Considerable interest was generated by the distribution of a document that identified many ways of being involved with schools and a child’s education, many of which did not involve coming to the school.

3. Implications of Racial and Cultural Difference

Many people at the meetings spoke about feeling intimidated by school personnel, many of who use educational jargon when speaking with parents. This uncomfortable situation is made worse because most of the circumstances that result in teacher-parent communications are about a child's negative behavior (actual or perceived) that the teacher is reporting. Meeting participants were looking for ways to create a sense within communities that schools are a place from which to seek help and support. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, community members were looking for ways in which the school could demonstrate a sense of caring about the children in their charge, and a sense that the system and school personnel were genuinely interested in the children and their lives.

At every meeting without exception, the need for "sensitivity training" was discussed. Dialogue on race, culture, gender, and social class and the effects of each of these areas of difference on the ways teachers and administrators perceive their students and parents was thought to be the starting point for better school and community relationships.

4. Accountability

Teachers, as well as principals, are perceived as not being subject to any accountability. There were complaints that the School Board, administrators and others in charge were the first and last resort for many school related concerns. Teachers were further seen as needing to be committed to the community rather than just to a job. The sense that school personnel were just too busy to be bothered has to be ameliorated in some way.

The sense of "not feeling welcome in the schools" came up so often in these community meetings, and the pervasive feelings of disconnection and alienation suggests that parents and other community members seem to feel that while schools exist in their communities, they are not part of the communities.


One of the consistent themes that emerged from the many meetings that I conducted was the need for all teachers to receive “sensitivity” and skills training in diverse learning styles. Addressing issues of diversity and racial difference in the school system will need to be done carefully, but, I believe, must not be ignored as school systems move to eliminate racial disparities in educational outcomes.


Managing Questions

Don’t discourage questions. If your child has questions about differences in physical characteristics or cultural practices, discuss them openly. This teaches your child that it’s okay to notice differences, and more importantly, it teaches him that it’s good to talk about them.

References

(Chu, Nikonorova, & Pyper, 2005)Chu, M. C. M., Nikonorova, E., & Pyper, J. (2005). Defining “ Multiculturalism ,” 1–2.

Minkov, M. (2013). Cross-Cultural Analysis: The Science and Art of Comparing the World’s Modern Societies and Their Cultures, 504. Retrieved from http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book235478

MULTIRACIAL CHILD RESOURCE BOO: Matt Kelley Maria P. P. Root: 9780972963909: Amazon.com: Books. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2015, from http://www.amazon.com/MULTIRACIAL-CHILD-RESOURCE-Kelley-Maria/dp/0972963901

Nezu, A. M. (n.d.). CROSS - CULTURAL INTEGRATION IN CBT : Cross- Cross - Cultural Integration in CBT : Some Definitions.

Russell, S. T., & Endowed, F. N. (n.d.). Cultural Differences in Parenting Practices : What Asian American Families Can Teach Us Cultural Differences in Parenting Practices : What Asian American Families Can Teach Us A Strategic Focus for New Research, 2(1), 1–4.

Winkler, E. N. (2009). Children are not colorblind: How young children learn race. PACE. Practical Approaches for Continuing Education, 3(3), 1–8. Retrieved from https://graduateschool.uwm.edu/letsci/africology/faculty/upload/children_colorblind.pdf

Zhou, M. (1997). Growing Up American: The Challenge Confronting Immigrant Children and Children of Immigrants. Annual Review of Sociology, 23(1), 63–95. http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.23.1.63

(“MULTIRACIAL CHILD RESOURCE BOO: Matt Kelley Maria P. P. Root: 9780972963909: Amazon.com: Books,” n.d.)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Raine Law Yuen profile image
      Author

      Raine Law Yuen 2 years ago from Cape Town

      Thank You so much for your constructive and complementary feedback. Teachers like you make all the difference! It is easy to overlook things just to keep the status quo. We can change mankind's destiny by just being the change that we want to see.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 2 years ago from Canada

      @Raine Law Yuen, wow! This was a fascinating article. As a middle school teacher, I really do see how many kids from this generation do not have the sense of empathy that helps them relate to others. In fact, I am making a point of trying to teach those skills to my class.

      I loved all the studies you included, and data to back up your points. I can see how parents of biracial children may find it difficult to teach their culture, and you gave such excellent suggestions for helping to overcome this difficulty.

      I love your writing, and you have just earned your latest fan. Voted up and sharing.

    • Raine Law Yuen profile image
      Author

      Raine Law Yuen 2 years ago from Cape Town

      Thank You - I am glad you found it informative.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 2 years ago

      This is so well written and researched. Voted up.

    • Raine Law Yuen profile image
      Author

      Raine Law Yuen 2 years ago from Cape Town

      Thank you for this feedback.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is something countries better get used to because we will only see more and more of it. I love the cultural diversity. I think we all benefit from it. Great article.