Multiculturalism is Nothing New, its Been around for Decades by Deb Williams, MA, PsyD

DebIn terms of cultural history, we are women, men, and children of descendants that may have been of mixed heritage where both parents could have been of different heritages as well.  In today’s society, we now have Americans who are of various or multiple ethnicities who look very unique and beautiful in comparison to how we physically looked decades before us.  I remember growing up and my father was ashamed to say he was a “mulatto” (half-white and half-black)  to his children and did not want to acknowledge that part of his heritage at all.  Therefore, my paternal family line was never discussed (or talked about) and I always felt that there was a missing piece in my family tree.  As a teenager in high school preparing a family tree for my biology course I decided to study my family’s different shades of “color”.  My father’s side was traced all the way to Boston and my mother’s side to Native-Indians in the mid-south.  The problem for me was that my father insisted that I did not disclose that his father was white, only very “fair”.  Now during that time in high school many teenagers were already acknowledging that they were either biracial or multiracial openly.  However, he still feared in the 60’s and 70’s that some people may retaliate or cause problems for our family.
I wonder just how many multicultural children of today feel the same way as my father did in the past?
If we think about history, many Native Americans were the fore-fathers that lead us into this new age of multiculturalism unknowingly.  The mixing of cultures really began during that time without us really paying attention.  When I researched this topic in early graduate school in the late 70’s it was reported that there were 632,000.00 interracial marriages in the United States of which 125,000.00 of the marriages where of black/white ethnicities.  This was a conservative figure and did not account for those who were in non-legal relationships.  Of course, the non-legal relationships were not an issue because these individuals (on the down-low) avoided retaliation from larger and bigger problems that would only complicate their lives.  Furthermore, there were no statistics on the number of children of mixed heritage because the Census Bureau did not recognize this was an important category to make note of back in that era.  Is it safe to say that “Multiculturalism” was never really excepted in the past and now we somehow find it still hard to accept in some places within the United States of America that struggle with this increasing phenomenon? There are no dividing lines when it comes to being just Black or White or Brown anymore in terms of culture. In reality, what have we done to make it more acceptable for the children of today who are of mixed cultures?  That is the important question.
How will this impact the United States of America?  Well, for one there are cultural ramifications that we must all  acknowledge, in addition to educational, financial, economic, and psychological/emotional issues that will affect how we interrelate with one another on a daily basis.  Children of mixed races today are confronted with prejudice, social injustice, bullying for looking “different” than everyone, and inequality that still lives among us in the 21st century each and everyday.  Should we just ignore this problem?  How do we as a people move this nation into a world where color and ethnic fears should not dictate who we are to become in the future?
These are just thoughts for a better world for our children.
Be Blessed to Be a Blessing to Someone else, because you may just save a life.