Home     Blog     About Us     ParentNet®     Get Involved     Resources
We urge you to help make family engagement a priority in education reform. Everyone — parents, schools, and communities —have a responsibility to help kids succeed in school and life! – The Leadership Team
Home of ParentNet�
We are home to ParentNet, a face-to-face family engagement program for parents of children in grades Pre-K to 12. Get quick facts about the program at ParentNet� At-a-Glance.

Meet Our Bloggers
ParentNet® Unplugged offers an online opportunity for frank conversations about family engagement. Please meet our bloggers and engage them in dialogue! Want to keep up with the conversation? Subscribe to new articles by email below.

Subscribe to ParentNet� Unplugged
Sign up to get blog posts by email


» Privacy Policy

Essential Reads

 Woman reading Essential Reads

» A Culture that Engages Every Family, Steven M. Constantino, Ed.D.

» How to Revitalize Your School-Parent Compact, Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D.

» How Do You Know if You're Really Open to Partnership, Anne Henderson & Karen Mapp

»PTA--Gateway to Engagement, Advocacy, and Access, Meryl Ain, Ed.D.

» The Power of Asking-Instead of Telling, Jody McVittie, M.D.

» Empathy in Action, Rick Ackerly, Ed.M.

Featured Books
We have the only bookstore on the web that highlights the field of family engagement! Check out our current Editor’s Picks and browse books on 1) Engaging Parents, 2) Building Partnerships, and 3) Leading Culture Change in Schools. Order from our site to support our mission!

Consultant Directory
Looking for consultants, parent educators, trainers, organization development specialists, parent coaches, or speakers who work in the field of family engagement? Check out our Consultant Directory or submit a free listing!

Nurturing a Child's Multiracial Identity

By Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Ed.D.

Margie and KidsWe are witnessing a great demographic change in the dramatic increase in the number of children who come from backgrounds that are mixed in racial, ethnic, cultural, national, religious, or other ways. Census data shows that the multiracial population of American children has increased almost 50 percent since 2000, to 4.2 million, making it the fastest growing youth group in the country. Schools attempt to classify them in one racial category, but policies are unclear and inconsistent, leaving kids on their own to determine their identities.

One particularly large group are persons with one Asian parent and one non-Asian parent. In the article, “Some Asians' college strategy: Don't check ‘Asian,’” some so-called Hapa reveal the ambivalence and flexibility surrounding their identities. Parents wondering how to nurture their child’s multiracial identity might take a lesson from Tiger Mom Amy Chua, who raised two Hapa children.

Amy describes her two girls, Sophia and Lulu, as having “brown hair, brown eyes, and Asianesque features.” They both speak Chinese and Sophia eats “all kind of organs and organisms, duck webs, pig ears, and sea slugs, critical aspects of Chinese identity.” Yet, on their first trip to China, the girls are treated as spectacles, drawing curious crowds, even in cosmopolitan Shanghai, when people stared, giggled, and pointed at the “two little foreigners who speak Chinese.” At the zoo, when the girls were taking pictures of the baby pandas, the crowd was taking pictures of the girls.  

Later, back in the U.S., when Amy refers to the kids as Chinese, Sophia corrects her, “Mommy—I’m not Chinese.”
Amy insists, “Yes you are.”

Sophia responds, “No, mommy—you’re the only one who thinks so. No one in China thinks I’m Chinese. No one in America thinks I’m Chinese.”

Amy is upset, but not swayed. She writes, “This bothered me intensely, but all I said was, ‘Well they’re all wrong, you are Chinese.’”

To me, this is a great message to give your kids — Don't let others tell you who you are. You determine who you are. Don't let anyone take away your identity. You need to know who you are, accept it, and assert that identity to others.

What more could a parent do to affirm a child’s identity? Exactly what Amy does, give them resources to strengthen and assert their identity—taking them to China, introducing them to Chinese foods, and providing the greatest gift of all, language. They speak Chinese. This ability empowers them to claim a Chinese identity—if they want to. She also gives them her family name Chua, another powerful symbol of ethnic identity, to go along with their father’s name Rubenfeld, together as Chua-Rebenfeld indicating their multiracial identity.

Whether the kids choose to emphasize their Chinese identity is up to them. The college years are often a time of ethnic identity exploration any young people can find great meaning in embracing their ethnicity and joining a community of others who feel the same way. But we all have multiple identities, and the kids may find that their ethnicity has little meaning for them compared to other interests. This is a personal choice. Some young people of mixed ancestry identify as Asian, where others join groups like Harvard’s HAPA (Half Asian People’s Association), and describe themselves as “mixed Asian American.” Others consider drawing lines between different ethnic groups a form of racism, and say their ethnic identity is situational, depending on where they are.

Some Hapa do not accept who they are, wishing they were more like their friends and idols. Too often kids from multiethnic backgrounds like Amy’s, who are Chinese and Jewish, are influenced by the reactions they receive from others about their identity. As Amy’s kids found out on their trip to China, others are quick to classify you, and to tell you who you are and who you are not. When people kept telling them that they were not Chinese, they could have decided it’s easier to just accept with others say. This is when Amy’s message of defiant self-affirmation can be crucial to the child, empowering them to assert with pride and confidence in declaring, “Well, you’re wrong, I am Chinese.”


Posted on June 15, 2012 by Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Ed.D.

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, EdD is a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and Fielding Graduate University. He is the author of a blog on multicultural families, as well as numerous articles and books including, Multicultural Encounters, and When Half is Whole. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Additional Information about our Bloggers
(www.ParentInvolvementMatters.org does not handle reprint requests. For permission to reprint articles, please contact the author directly.)

Permalink   Comments (1)   Send to a Friend

Tags: *Diverse Families, *Parent Engagement at Home , Character Development, Communicating, Multiracial, Parents as teachers

Posted June 15, 2012 by rick ackerly
good one!!! 


Post New Comment
Show Contact Info:


write my essay Copyright © 2000-2011 National ParentNet Association All rights reserved   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   Privacy Policy
web design   |   visualscope llc