Becoming White: The Experience of Raising Biracial Children

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2018-03-18 21:48Z by Steven

Becoming White: The Experience of Raising Biracial Children

Psychology Today

Tiffany McLain LMFT
San Francisco, California

Source: Carlos Enrique Santa Maria/123rf

How the racial identity of white mothers is shaped by parenting biracial kids.

Over the past few months, I have been exploring parenthood through the lens of white mothers who are raising biracial children. As a therapist in San Francisco who specializes in working with individuals who straddle cultural, racial and economic worlds, it has been my pleasure to go back to the beginning, so to speak, and have conversations with the mothers of children who may one day sit across from me as they seek to understand how the patterns established in their youth are playing out today in their personal and professional lives.

I’ve been most surprised to learn about the ways in which becoming a parent to a child ‘of color’ has caused these mothers to re-conceptualize what it means to be “white.” While many of the women I interviewed have thought about their racial identity in passing, it wasn’t until they experienced race first hand through this unique lens of parenthood that they really began thinking about the nuances of race relations in America. For many of them, they became aware that they had been thinking of themselves almost as “neutral,” or the “default,” that is, lacking a racialized body—until they had children of their own.

With a thoughtfulness that inspired me, these mothers were willing to reflect openly on the ways they had unwittingly participated in racist systems. The act of having a biracial child shed light on aspects of their own identity that had previously been locked away…

Read the entire article here.

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Mothering, Mixed Families and Racialised Boundaries

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Canada, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, Social Work, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2016-01-02 21:47Z by Steven

Mothering, Mixed Families and Racialised Boundaries

120 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781138953697
Hardback ISBN: 9780415733748

Edited by:

Ravinder Barn, Professor of Social Policy
Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom

Vicki Harman, Senior Lecturer
Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom

This pioneering volume draws together theoretical and empirical contributions analyzing the experiences of white mothers in interracial families in Britain, Canada and the USA. The growth of the mixed race population reflects an increasingly racially and culturally heterogeneous society, shaped by powerful forces of globalisation and migration. Mixed family formations are becoming increasingly common through marriage, relationships and adoption, and there is also increasing social recognition of interracial families through the inclusion of mixed categories in Census data and other official statistics. The changing demographic make-up of Britain and other Western countries raises important questions about identity, belonging and the changing nature of family life. It also connects with theoretical and empirical discussions about the significance of ‘race’ in contemporary society.

In exploring mothering across racialised boundaries, this volume offers new insights and perspectives. The notion of racialisation is invoked to argue that, while the notion of race does not exist in any meaningful sense, it continues to operate as a social process. This crucial resource will appeal to academics, researchers, policy makers, practitioners and undergraduate and postgraduate students.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction / Ravinder Barn and Vicki Harman
  2. ‘Doing the right thing’: transracial adoption in the USA / Ravinder Barn
  3. The experiences of race in the lives of Jewish birth mothers of children from black/white interracial and inter-religious relationships: a Canadian perspective / Channa C. Verbian
  4. Researching white mothers of mixed-parentage children: the significance of investigating whiteness / Joanne Britton
  5. Social capital and the informal support networks of lone white mothers of mixed-parentage children / Vicki Harman
  6. Narratives from a Nottingham council estate: a story of white working class mothers with mixed-race children / Lisa McKenzie
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Researching white mothers of mixed-parentage children: the significance of investigating whiteness

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, Women on 2013-03-08 01:30Z by Steven

Researching white mothers of mixed-parentage children: the significance of investigating whiteness

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Published online: 2013-01-14
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2013.752101

Joanne Britton, Lecturer in Applied Sociology
University of Sheffield

This article takes as its starting point the increasing number of research studies that pay specific attention to family relationships when investigating mixedness. It draws on the critical study of whiteness to illustrate the significance of examining, in more detail than is usual, white mothers’ racialized identity in studies of mixed-parentage families. It is argued that by doing so, understanding of the identity development and sense of belonging of children and young people in mixed-parentage families can be enhanced, as well as understanding of these issues in mixed-parentage families generally. The article explains how kinship relationships and wider social networks are two related areas of investigation that can help to shed light on what happens to whiteness in mixed-parentage families. Both encourage a specific focus on the identity and sense of belonging of mothers, without marginalizing the identities of other family members.

Read or purchase the article here.

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