ERIC Number: ED425248
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Identity Development of Multiracial Youth. ERIC/CUE Digest, Number 137.
In the past several decades, individuals have been responding more actively to political and personal pressures to identify with a specific group that shares their background. For many people of mixed racial, ethnic, and cultural heritage, making such an identification is complicated. It is important for society to foster the positive development of these individuals, and it is even more important for educators and counselors to know how best to serve the special developmental and educational needs of multiracial students. A key factor in the lives of multiracial children is how they are labeled by themselves, their families, and society in general. A model of the identity development of multiracial children and youth has been proposed by W. Poston (1990). This model suggests that families may foster identity choices for their children that encompass "human,""multiracial," and "monoracial" options. At present, many of the important official tallies of individuals in the United States allow for only one racial or ethnic designation. However, in the year 2000, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget will allow individuals to identify themselves with as many racial designations as appropriate. By 2003, schools will also have to change the ways in which students report race, and this may affect the way in which multiracial students see themselves. Individuals who are socialized as multiracial usually benefit from their heritage, but there are disadvantages to being multiracial. One of the disadvantages is the complicated nature of the identity development process for multiracial youth. Another pressure on multiracial youth is societal racism in general and bias against interracial marriage in particular. Given the existence of the prejudices, it is likely that educators and counselors will also harbor some of these ideas, even unconsciously. It is important that educators and counselors consider their personal views carefully to ensure that they do not further complicate the development of the multiracial student's identity. Learning about and respecting the beliefs, attitudes, and concerns of multiracial students is crucial for educators. (Contains 17 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Adolescents, Children, Classification, Counselors, Cultural Background, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Ethnic Groups, Individual Development, Models, Multicultural Education, Multiracial Persons, Racial Identification, Social Bias, Teacher Role, Urban Schools
ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Box 40, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027 (free).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY.