Interracial Families in Family Relations: history, strengths & benefits, challenges.

Essay by kei-1High School, 11th gradeA-, May 2003

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An Introduction

What makes a perfect family? Is there even such a thing? The family is the first agent of socialization that teaches us the basic skills of life. It is perhaps the most influential agent of all the socialization aspects. In standard cases, a family is where we can learn about our own identity and qualities; and shows us how loved we are. This group takes on many forms today--including those of single parent, foster, extended, and interracial. However, families are becoming increasingly difficult to sustain as we progress into the 21st century. The reason being is the "shifting of values, economic change, technological innovations, mobile population, social trends and other factors" (Juniour Encyclopedia of Canada, 1989, Vol 2 Pg.133). Of all the variety of forms of family in the world today, we will focus on the "interracial family".

An interracial family consists of the two parents coming from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

It can also include couples of the same race or of different races adopting children out of their own races. This form of family in Canada today is more socially accepted than ever before. Sociologist Reginald Bibby of the University of Lethbridge states that the "percentage of Canadians approving of intermarriage went from 64% in 1975 to 82% in 1995" (Alberta Report, 1998). Although the number of mixed-race families in Canada is steadily rising, it still remains a controversy "and often strains friendships and divide families" (Of Many Colours, 1997, Pg. XI).

The History of Interracial Families

The history of interracial families can be traced back to the age of slavery in the late 16th century in Britain. "Since the great majority of the slaves brought there were males, sexual relationship and marriages with white women must have been frequent" (Black White or Mixed Race?, 1993, Pg.7).