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Biracial Identity Development

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  • multiracialbookclub
    `Biracial Identity Development In 1990, W.S. Carlos Poston developed a model of `Biracial Identity . He identified five stages. These stages `mirror some of
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 15, 2005
      `Biracial Identity Development'

      In 1990, W.S. Carlos Poston developed
      a model of `Biracial Identity'.

      He identified five stages.

      These stages `mirror' some of the work done by Cross
      in his theory of 'African American "racial" development
      [as the African-Americans are actually a largely `mixed'-race
      "ethnic" group and not a "racial" group of any sort at all]:

      1). Personal Identity:

      Individuals at this stage are young.
      At this stage, children do not see
      themselves as having a racial identity.

      2). Choice of Group Category:

      In this stage, individuals gain an increased
      awareness of their race/ethnic heritage
      and are pushed to choose an identity.
      Typically there are two choices:
      identify with one group or the other.
      This choice is motivated mostly
      by families, peers, and/or social groups.
      The choice made at this stage involves a number of
      interrelated factors such as neighborhood, physical
      appearance, parental presence and influence, and
      influence of others (peer groups, church, family, school, etc.)

      3) Enmeshment/denial:

      In this stage, an individual usually experiences emotional
      tension (confusion, guilt, self-hatred) because claiming
      one identity does not fully express who they are.
      In many cases, a biracial person feels that his or her
      identity choice makes it difficult to identify with both parents.
      At this stage, a biracial adolescent make be scared to have
      friends meet his or her parent whose racial background is
      different than the norm in the neighborhood or school.
      Eventually the child most resolve the anger
      and or guilt and learn to appreciate both
      parental cultures, or stay at this level.

      4). Appreciation:

      At this stage, individuals attempt to learn more about all
      of the racial/ethnic cultures that make up who they are.
      Although an appreciation of diverse cultures exist, biracial
      persons still primarily identify with one ethnic or racial group.

      5) Integration:

      At this final stage, integration is crucial to
      identity development because it is
      closely tied to positive mental health.
      Through integration, individuals are able to carve
      out an identity that reflects their complete selves.

      Excerpted from Interracial Communication:
      Theory Into Practice, Mark Orbe and Tina
      Harris (Wadsworth, 2001, pages 90-91)



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