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Being a Teen of Mixed Race in America
January 19, 2023
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
-Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher, 1895-1986

Thanks to Francis Wardle for keeping us alert to topics we need to address, I recently found this December 2022 Parents magazine article by eighteen-year-old Aidah Siler, “Here’s What It’s Like Being a Teen of Mixed Race in America.”

Siler writes, “Initially, I thought that there was something wrong with me. My brother and I bounce from being Black to white to Black to white again, depending on where we are, who we are with, what we're thinking about, and what we're talking about. We've both admitted to making friends through the practice of code-switching, or subconsciously adjusting your dialect depending on who you're with.”

“At its core, being biracial makes you a little bit different than your friends, parents, and extended family. I'm living two truths, functioning in two ways, learning two sets of rules.”

Siler concludes by speaking directly to parents of mixed race children, “Mixed children are in a unique position, independent from their parents in terms of race. They're a beautiful amalgamation, just like a kid should be. Help them. They have things to learn from you. You have things to learn from them.”

Wardle first highlighted the complexities of “Interracial Families and Biracial Children” for Exchange magazine back in 1993. At the time, he pointed out, “Most multicultural books and curriculums take one of two approaches: ignore the existence of these children or assume biracial children belong with the cultural group of their minority parent. Neither approach is acceptable… Early childhood programs must support these families’ right to raise their children according to family choice, beliefs, values, and customs. We must realize that culture and cultural groups change and are never static.”

Access articles by Francis Wardle and others through Articles on Demand, a valuable part of your Exchange magazine subscription.


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