There are many common myths and negative assumptions attached to the mixed-race debate.
Many of these myths have been inherited and are not intended as harmful but become so when looked upon as fact rather than uniformed opinion.
Below are some common myths for you to consider. It is useful to be aware of these misconceptions and assumptions that other people may carry about your child's racial identity and his/her home environment.
The young people we spoke to had the following to say:
1. It is a myth that a mixed-race person must only identify with one parent group (ethnic group) to develop a positive sense of self.
Through our work with young people Mix-d: has found that in order to have a positive sense of self one must have a positive appreciation for both sides of their cultural heritage.
2. It is a myth that a mixed-race person will automatically have access to all/ both sides of their parent cultural heritages.
This is not always the case. Many mixed-race young people may be raised in an extended white family and have little or no contact with relatives from one side of their parent culture.
3. It is a myth that he/she will be automatically accepted by both / all parent groups.
We have met and spoken to many young people who have experienced negative responses from one of their parent families - be aware that such experiences do exist and support your child to explore and acknowledge both sides of their heritage.
4. It is a myth that he/she will have an opportunity to discuss and explore ideas about their mixed-race experience.
Many young people often tell us that they have few or no opportunities to talk about topics related to their mixed-race identity. Ensure the discussion of race, identity and culture are accepted as healthy conversation points in the home. (link to positive racial literacy)
5. It is a myth that he/she will stay with one fixed identity through out their life.
Young people may experience a range of emotions and identity searching (link to mix-d: journey)
6. It is a myth that he/she will automatically follow the same identity as their birth parents.
Many young people create individual racial identities which are not specifically the same as either birth parents. Encourage a meaningful celebration of all sides of their cultural heritage.
7. It is a myth that Mixed-race young people are destined to be confused and misunderstood.
Mix-d: have found there are many historical negative assumptions associated with developing a healthy mixed-race identity. (link to Mix-d: Museum)
Mix-d: Parenting is work in progress.
We would appreciate any feedback you have about this section.