A Phenomenological study of racial identity development of Black-White mixed-race Children in the United States
Furdge, Cherly Gary
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This study examines how black-white mixed-race children develop their racial identity and how black-white parents of mixed-race children help their children with developing their racial identity. For this study, racial identity development is the process by which one selects or identifies his/her racial category. Three research questions are explored: (1) How do black-white interracial couples assist their children with developing their racial identities? (2) How do children born to black-white parents develop their racial identities? (3) What are some of the challenges faced by black-white mixed-race children? This study included 36 participants: 12 biracial children who were raised by their biological parents and 12 black-white interracial couples who conceived a child together. In-depth interviews were conducted to collect data about how the parents assisted the children with developing their racial identity, how the children developed their racial identity, and what challenges are encountered by these children. The data collected for this study provide answers to all of the three research questions. The parent participants used four strategies to assist their children with their racial identity development: educating them about their culture, the "one drop rule", using their race to benefit them, and "see no race and hear no race." The adult children in this study chose either black or biracial as their racial identities because of their experiences, but none of them chose white as their racial identity. The adult children participants also reported challenges they experienced, including being rejected by family members, the object of prejudiced in school, and being made to feel invisible.