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Diverse Family Structures Within Multiracial Families

  • Henry L. Harris
  • Katie W. Lamberson
  • Clare P. Merlin
Chapter

Abstract

Biracial families represent a growing segment of families in the United States today and improved societal attitudes towards interracial relationships have contributed immensely to this increase. For example, in 2013, 12% of all newlywed couples married someone from a different race and slightly over 6% of all married couples were from different racial groups (Pew Research Center, 2015a). In addition, the number of individuals claiming a multiracial heritage increased to represent nearly 3% of the total population in 2013. Biracial families comprise a diverse family structure that includes married couples, blended families, cohabiting families, grandfamilies, single-parent families, same-sex biracial families, and adoptive families. Regardless of the family structure, it is important to recognize the turbulent history that biracial families have experienced in the United States. Biracial children were once perceived as societal misfits who would experience a life of emotional confusion as a result of their mixed heritage (Stonequist, The marginal man: A study in personality and culture and conflict, Russell & Russell, New York, 1937). Furthermore, at certain points in history, interracial marriages and partnerships were legally prohibited. It was not until 1967 in Loving vs. Virginia that the Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriages were unconstitutional. At that time approximately 16 states still had such laws on the books (Zack, Race and mixed race, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1993). This chapter provides an overview of DBFs, addresses specific challenges encountered, and explores unique strengths. Supportive practice implications are also provided.

Keywords

Diverse biracial families (DBFs) Biracial Multiracial Blended family Biracial grandfamilies Same-sex biracial families Microaggression 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry L. Harris
    • 1
  • Katie W. Lamberson
    • 2
  • Clare P. Merlin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Counseling at University of North GeorgiaDahlonegaUSA

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