Biracial Children: Struggles With Identity and Cultural Heritage - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1759 Words
Date:  2023-05-06


A common phenomenon in most developed countries is the increase in the number of biracial children. Existing literature indicates that biracial children are likely to struggle with behavioral, psychological, and emotional issues compared to their single-race counterparts. The problem is said to be independent of economic and demographic factors. It is related to the consequences of struggle with identity development and difficulties in connecting with the cultural heritage of their parents. They are also more exposed to risks of subtle forms of discrimination and overt racism. Children from mixed race or ethnicity are likely to be caught in between socially significant groups, with one being denied or both making them be thought of as having less than authentic racial identity. In the united states, there are more than 4.5 million married and unmarried couples, of which the two members are from different races (McKinney, 2016). In the 2000 census, 6.8 million people in the United States were from two racial groups (McKinney, 2016). Of this number, 42% were below the age of 18 (McKinney, 2016). It is an indication that the number of biracial children in the United States is increasing compared to previous years.

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In most cases, children prefer to affiliate with their racial category, but these preferences vary for biracial children. There are several reasons as to why it is essential to study this group of people as they are susceptible to certain risks. For instance, due to the high racial stratified society, biracial is a distinct category that is not congruent with other single-race population (Brown, 2017). The difference in categorization makes it hard for the biracial children to conform with either of their singe race cultures the biracial lack social capital provided to their single-race counterparts due to the disconnect in their heritage, which also increases the chances of poor wellbeing results (Brown, 2017).

Despite the high number of biracial marriages in the united states, the unions are highly stigmatized, making then uncommon. However, in recent year, the number of multiracial families have been on the rise. In the 1970s, 1 in 100 children was born from parents from different races (Chavez, 2019). These figures have increased in recent years to 1 in 19 children born from parents from different races (Chavez, 2019). Social stigmatization for biracial children still happens. The primary source of unease in biracial marriages is from relatives who do not want the unions to produce children. It, in turn, leads to the rejection of biracial families by their extended families and the community. Such denial may lead to distress and social isolation.

The term biracial is extensive, and in most cases, it is socially constructed with its meaning changing with time and context. Although many people in the United States have had some type of ethnic, cultural, and racial mix up at some point in the history of their families, most of them are not aware of it. In the 1980s, most of the people understood the issue of race as a one-drop rule whereby the biracial individuals were identified using their minority heritage (Bratter, 2007). It was not until the late 1980s that researchers and individuals began to reconceptualize the idea of a race to include a category for those from the mixed-race (Bratter, 2007). Although the move was to provide for the accurate description of those from a mixed-race, by describing their racial characteristics, it led to the stigmatization of persons of biracial heritage who claimed the identity of a single race. It led to the need for researchers to identify the legitimacy of the ways through which bi-racial children identify themselves.

The understanding of biracial identity is based on self-reported information from parents and children. The term biracial hence refers to children who have a mixed-race heritage. Biracial children struggle more with their identity compared with their single-race counterparts as the wellbeing outcomes of biracial children are particularly bleak. The experiences of biracial children are disadvantaged as they lie in the margin of two cultures and have no connection to either (Graham, 2017). Researchers have also found that biracial children have a better social interaction with peers compared to single-race children, although the outcome of their psychological well being may be poor (Graham, 2017).

Biracial children report a similar number of friends with which they can discuss various issues with as do the singe race children. However, the quality of the friendships is lower compared to those of single-race counterparts. For risk-taking behaviors and general health, biracial children fare worse compared to their colleagues. For example, biracial children are at high risk compared to children who identify with a single race in terms of drinking, smoking, school experience, and general health (Lewis, & Demie, 2019). The example indicates that biracial children are generally disadvantaged.

The issue of being naturally disadvantaged for biracial children does not occur in all cases. There is no significant difference in the wellbeing outcome of biracial children compared to their single-race counterparts in terms of social and emotional wellbeing. However, there is a race-specific disadvantage. There are several reasons explaining why biracial children are likely to struggle with their identity compared to their single-race counterparts in terms of their wellbeing outcomes. For example, systematic differences occur across race categories in economic characteristics and social background. There are high chances of union dissolution for children born by an interracial couple compared to those in racially homogenous union (Smith, 2019). Also, parents in mixed-race families are likely to have high education levels compared to their monoracial white counterparts but with a lower income. However, the revenue of biracial families is higher than that of monoracial minorities in the USA, such as Asians and African Americans.

Previous research on the outcomes of the wellbeing of biracial children has supported that accounting for gender and age combination is essential for a mixed-race family. For example, gender differences are common in marital instability among biracial couples (Caverley, 2017). Compared to single-race couples, biracial marriages are more prone to divorce, which is more likely to affect the identity of the children. Research has also indicated that mixed racial children are less likely to be affected by racial discrimination compared to their single-race minority counterparts as they may appear white because they have better management of their racialized identity. In addition to this, biracial children have better socioeconomic circumstances compared to their single-race minority counterparts. Both reduced exposure to racism and racial discrimination and better socioeconomic conditions result in favorable socioemotional wellbeing.

It is worth noting that there are also some exceptions to the socioemotional difficulties experienced by biracial children. There are concerns over the generalization of the finding as most of the research has been done on clinical settings generating children presented with biracial problems and struggling with their identity and who have socioemotional issues in their schools, families, and communities.

Article and Hypothesis Agreement

The article agrees to the findings of my hypothesis, which evaluates attributes of influence and existence of a statistical relationship between two variables. the hypothesis of the research is based on the null and alternative hypothesis below:

  • H0: There exists no statistically significant relationship between being biracial as a child and the struggles exhibited with identity.
  • H1: There is a statistically significant relationship between the biracial attributes of a child and their struggles with identity compared to their single-race counterparts.

The article does not agree with the null hypothesis; there is no significant relationship between being biracial as a child and struggle with identity as at a young age, children are sensitive to social grouping, and they demonstrate clear social preference when choosing among informants (McKinney, 2016). Children are likely to endorse information from familiar persons over unfamiliar ones as well as from speakers with a familiar accent over an unknown dialect. The article agrees with the alternative hypothesis as there exists a statistically significant relationship between biracial attributes and struggle with identity compared with their single-race counterparts. It is supported by the fact that biracial children show the worst wellbeing outcomes.

Specifically, their outcome should be worse than that of their single-race counterparts in the minority groups as well as whites as they are not able to access social identity from either cultural heritage groups and are likely to be disconnected from their extended families (Tran et al., 2016). Multiracial children with white mothers are more likely to have worse struggles with identity compared to other multiracial children. Black white families are characterized by poor households, which leads to higher levels of stigmatization, and their lack of experience with racial discrimination makes the white mothers unable to help their children cope with racism.

Additional Variables

From the literature, more variables can be identified that have significant explanatory power. These variables include health and risk behaviors associated with children from a multiracial family compared to those with a monoracial family. Biracial children indicate higher risk on general health questions, drinking, smoking, and school experience compared to their single-race counterparts (Atkin & Yoo, 2019). Anther variable from the article is that of the emotional wellbeing of the children. The well being of biracial children is at risk compared to that of monoracial children as they lie on the margin of two cultures and have no connection to either. The third variable is the social wellbeing of multiracial children.

The article pays attention to how child-parent relationship and the intersection of racial identity is likely to affect the patterns of social wellbeing among biracial children. Specific measures of social welfare can be considered, and they include a feeling of social acceptance, considerations of suicide, depression, and connection with the school. The other variable is how family income in multiracial families affect struggles with identity for children. Biracial children in families that have low income are likely to struggle more with identity compared to other biracial children in high-income families.


The development of identity is a lifelong process that begins in early childhood and progresses to adulthood. The primary purpose of this process is to allow one to identify themselves by answering the question "who am I?" this is a difficult question for most people, especially those in biracial families. The identity of an individual is complex and consists of different domains or aspects. Racial identity is socially constructed to differentiate people based on their physical characteristics. Research indicates that children from multiracial families are likely to struggle with identity more than their single-race counterparts with results showing that biracial children struggle more with negative emotional and social wellbeing as they can not identify with either of their parents' culture.


Atkin, A. L., & Yoo, H. C. (2019). Familial racial-ethnic socialization of Multiracial American Youth: A systematic review of the literature wit...

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Biracial Children: Struggles With Identity and Cultural Heritage - Essay Sample. (2023, May 06). Retrieved from

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