Biracial identity

Discuss why it is important to view biracial identity development as different from monoracial identity development. How might family, relationships, and cultural beliefs also impact biracial identity development?

Biracial identity development is viewed differently from monoracial identity development because a biracial individual has the alternative to self-identify with one of their racial heritage or opt for a label that would incorporate multiple racial identities (Kleinman-Fleischer, 2010). Therefore, from a developmental point of view, the biracial individual may encounter challenges while trying to withstand pressures of identifying with one race over the other. For the monoracial individual, society has already enforced codes of identification. Therefore, such an individual can quickly identify with his/her race. Again, it is significant to view biracial identity development differently because a biracial individual tends to face various social pressures emanating from their peers and family structure, unlike the monoracial individual.

The family has a significant influence on the development of an individual from an early age, whereby the child not only develops a sense of self but also gets to figure out how to fit in the society (Dibong, 2009). Therefore a family plays a significant role in creating a strong foundation for an individual to deal with any shortcomings that one may face due to biracial identity. Therefore, if one’s family structure fails to help him/her build self-esteem and foster identity formation, then that individual may not withstand the pressures of choosing which race to identify with. In addition, the socio-cultural context in which an individual is brought up influences his/her development (Dibong, 2009). The cultural beliefs that exist in a particular society also have an impact on the environment that parents will raise their children. As such, you find the biracial individuals in a community with a majority of monoracial individuals being asked to identify themselves. Therefore, for those whose parents have integrated them into their two races, they tend to be more open-minded and culturally intelligent, whereby they have respect for other people’s cultures.   

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References

Dibong, G. P. (2009). Biracial identity development: Understanding a sense of self.

Kleinman-Fleischer, B. (2010). Biracial/Multiracial identity development. Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology, 161-164. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-71799-9_45