What is another word for biracial?
For many people who identify this way, being biracial could mean that both of their parents are from two different racial categories, for example having a Black father and a white mother. The term Biracial can imply having a background that includes two different races, with “bi” signifying two. However, researchers have argued that a biracial heritage means having a mixed parentage of any kind, and terms like biracial, multi-racial, interracial, and mixed-race are used interchangeably. However, it likely varies from person to person.
What's the difference between race and ethnicity?
Race is difficult to define and no definition is perfect. One way to look at race is as a category of humankind used to describe people that share certain distinctive physical traits. The idea of race itself is a social construct meaning that we as people in different societies have given this category social meaning, despite race having no real biological truth. The term “race” was created to divide different groups of people and maintain social hierarchy. Ethnicity on the other hand describes the culture of people in a given geographic region, including their language, heritage, religion and customs. Ethnicity also includes nationality but is much broader than just country of origin.
So, when we talk about a person who identifies as biracial, it is not something we can assign to another person even if we know they have parents who come from two distinct racial groups because their history, culture and upbringing can influence how they develop their identity and which term best matches their sense of self.
What is an example of biracial?
Another example of someone who is biracial is someone who could have one parent that is half LatinX, half Black and another parent who is Black. This person may still identify as biracial since they have a mixed parentage which comprises two different racial groups, LatinX and Black. Multiracial cannot be easily categorised because their attitudes and life experiences can differ widely based on their racial background. A 2015 study on multiracial adults in the U.S. found that biracial white and Asian adults felt more connected to other white people compared to Asians. But for those adults who were biracial white and American Indian, they felt more connected to their Native American heritage.
Being biracial can have a variety of different meanings and interpretations depending on who chooses to identify this way. We are all uniquely shaped by our lived experiences and it is not always clearcut which identity suits us best. It’s important to keep this in mind as you interact with biracial colleagues, friends and family and to always remain respectfully curious in conversations with those who are from other racial backgrounds that are different to our own.
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