Several years ago, I began looking for resources for interracial families on the Internet. I was very surprised to find that one of the first things to pop up was the Center for the Study of Biracial Children. Not only was it a surprise that such an organization existed, but it was based in the city I live and was mostly raised in, Denver, CO. Denver has been a great place to raise an interracial family and we see other IR families everywhere we go. But other than the Center for the Study of Biracial Children, I have never heard of any other resources here. I had been disappointed that Loving Day was not either celebrated or the celebrations covered in the media. Of course, I plan to change that.
I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with the Executive Director, Dr. Francis Wardle about the Center, how it begun, and what it’s role is today. Dr Wardle, who is in an IR marriage and has 4 grown children now, started the Center in 1991 to provide advocacy, training, and consultation to interracial families, biracial children, and multiracial people. When trying to find some answers from “so called experts” to help he and his wife to guide his own children, there was little information out there, and what was out there was poor information. The Center works with schools to help them with inclusion of multiracial students, parents with support and information, and graduate students with help on research papers on related subjects.
I had explained to Dr Wardle that one of the reasons I started to reach out to other families on line, was in response to the only message I constantly heard put out in the media. Biracial, particularly black/white, children suffer from an identity crisis. They can’t find any place to fit in and don’t know who they are. As the mother of seven of these people, who don’t struggle, and having met hundreds of other biracial people who were perfectly well adjusted and happy, I asked Dr. Wardle a question. Why do I keep having to defend myself over this myth again and again? If you have have a dysfunctional family, you are going to raise dysfunctional child, biracial or not. His answer was, society likes the struggle. No one is ready or willing to hear that it is not difficult to tell what race you are if mom is white and dad is black. You are black and white. End of story. There is no struggle. No one wants to hear that race doesn’t matter.
Dr. Wardle has written an excellent article about many of the other issues he and I touch based on in our conversation, and posted it on the Center’s website Friday, April 2, 2010. Instead recapping what he talked about regarding how academics are lagging behind society in the integration of multiracial/multicultural people, I will just encourage you to read the wonderful article on the front page of the Center for the Study of Biracial Children.
Dr. Wardle currently teaches at Red Rocks Community College in Colorado. He has written about 100 articles, been cited in many articles, interview numerous times and written 2 books, Tomorrow’s Children and Meeting the Needs of Multiethnic and Multiracial Children in Schools.