Understanding interracial relationships

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2009-11-14 20:54Z by Steven

Understanding Interracial Relationships

Russell House Publishing
June 2009
160 pages

Toyin Okitikpi, Professor
University of Bedfordshire

It is no longer a novelty to see people of different races and ethnicity holding hands and going about their daily lives. Between 1991 and 2001, the British population grew by 4.0 per cent, while the mixed population increased by 138 per cent; and in 2008 the Office of National Statistics reported more people involved in interracial relationships in Britain than in any other country in Europe. But despite the normality of seeing children of mixed parentage and couples – married or cohabiting – in interracial relationships, there remains strong interest in the nature of the relationships, in the motivations that drive them and in the experiences of the children that are born from such relationships. Sometimes this is articulated as concern and prejudice, both in society as a whole and in the helping professions.

This book provides an analysis of the experiences of the people involved in such relationships and explores the implications for anyone who works with them. For counselors, social workers and others involved in work with families and children, it will also be illuminate learning and research in these areas.

Most publications to date that explore practice around interracial relationships focus on the children of mixed parentage. This book explores the experiences, dilemmas and complexities involved in forming intimate relationships across the racial divide. But, as workers’ attitudes and approaches towards children of mixed parentage are generally guided by their views and assumptions about the nature of interracial relationships, this is an important book about working with children, as well as with couples. It:

  • provides detailed discussion of the history of the wider social and economic relationship between white and black people
  • discusses the way black and white relationships have evolved over the centuries and the underlying assumptions
  • offers an account of the dilemmas and complexities involved in interracial relationships
  • explores the nature of the explanations that have been advanced by others about people’s motivation for getting involved in such relationships
  • explores the reactions, views, attitudes and concerns others have towards the relationship; and identifies how people in interracial relationships cope with the negative attitudes and approbation
  • identifies the implications for effective intervention by welfare professionals working with couples involved in interracial relationships.

Reflecting the fact that interracial relationships consisting of black men and white women constitute the highest proportion of interracial relationships in the UK, and that this type of relationship also appears to provoke the greatest disapprobation from many in society, this book is based on interviews with 20 black men and 20 white women who are or have been in interracial relationships. It focuses on developing a better understanding.

Table of Contents

Introduction – looking at interracial relationships

The historical context: looking back to look forward

  • Black people in Britain: a brief history
  • A changing relationship
  • A very visible relationship
  • Interracial as an artistic genre
  • Making sense of the fault lines
  • Racial mixing

Making sense of people’s experiences

  • Experiences matter
  • Revisiting the popular explanations
  • Interracial relationships: is it all about sex?
  • Managing interracial relationship
  • Looking beyond the boundaries
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Working with children of mixed parentage

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2009-11-14 18:04Z by Steven

Working with children of mixed parentage

Russell House Publishing
160 Pages

Edited by

Toyin Okitikpi, Professor
University of Bedfordshire

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: mixed responses: working with children of mixed parentage.
  • Looking at numbers and projections: making sense of the census, emerging trends.
  • Mulatto, marginal man, half-caste, mixed race: the one-drop rule in professional practice.
  • The social and psychological development of mixed parentage children.
  • Identity and identification: how mixed parentage children adapt to a binary world.
  • Practice Issues: working with children of mixed parentage.
  • Direct work with children of mixed parentage.
  • Exploring the discourse concerning white mothers of mixed parentage children.
  • Permanent family placement for children of dual heritage: issues arising from a longitudinal study.
  • Mixed race children: policy and practice considerations.
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Mixed-up kids? Race, identity and social order

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2009-08-20 02:37Z by Steven

Mixed-up kids? Race, identity and social order

Russell House Publishing
December 2008
184 pages
ISBN: 9781905541386

Tina G. Patel
University of Salford

Transracial adoptees, children of mixed parentage, children of settled immigrant families… more and more children are growing up in mixed-race families and social environments. And there is increasing variety within this mixed-ness. Yet services for them have been bogged down by restrictive policy and practice guidelines based on:

  • outdated and problematic ideas about essentialised racial identities
  • the supposed need for children to commit fully to one of these identities (usually the black minority ethnic one) in order to minimise identity problems and experiences of discrimination.Of great significance to anyone working with such children and young people – in social work, adoption and fostering, education, youth work and youth justice – this book asks:
  • why essentialist ideas about a single identity tend to dominate
  • what the consequences are for those who actively choose not to identify themselves as having a single racial identity
  • how policy and practice can be improved.Patel provides thought provoking analyses of existing literature, and calls for recognition of these individuals, for example those who were transracially adopted as children, and whose reflective narratives form a major part of this book. She offers suggestions on how we can best serve their needs and facilitate their access to racial identity rights. She covers such issues as:
  • racism in a black and white society
  • the implications of assigned binary black or white racial labels
  • the construction of various social relationships, with an insight into the complex issues involved in their racialised negotiations
  • ways of supporting mixed-race people to express multiple identity status.
  • Mixed-up Kids? argues for better and more informed ways of thinking about how racial identity is flexible, diverse, and possesses a multiple status; and how such thinking will progressively lead to an improvement in the child, family and community support services which seek to assist some of the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, namely black minority ethnic and mixed race children.

    As the book presents the narratives of six adults who had been transracially adopted as children, it is of special interest to anyone working in the field of adoption and fostering. It will also be of compelling interest to academics, researchers and students in the social sciences, especially sociology, social work and family/community studies; and of direct practical value to child, family and community support workers. It can serve both as a handbook on which to base policy and practice, and as a tool for considering key issues in the area.

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