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Title: Black and white mixed-race experiences : the voices of young people
Author: Levy, Carla Selena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 3611
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2011
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Official records show that the mixed-race population represent the fastest growing ethnic minority 'group' in Britain, and young people of a black and white 'racial' mix constitute considerable numbers. Such information resulted from changes in the 2001 census, where mixed-race people were first recognised as a distinct ethnic 'group'. There are two main streams of research around mixed-race individuals: traditional research, and a more recent 'new wave' of 'insider-led' research. The former pathologised these individuals, perceived to be 'marginal', 'mixed up', and confronted with problematic 'racial identities'. In contrast, the latter highlighted a more celebratory view, where mixed-race individuals themselves have indicated advantageous experiences, with fluid, multiple, yet stable racial identities across contexts. Nevertheless, such research presumes that 'racial identity' and categorisation are valid factors underlying individuals' experiences. This study took an exploratory psychological approach in order to listen to the voices of mixed-race young people. There was a focus on African Caribbean black and white mixed-race individuals as there have been concerns about them within social systems. Hence, seven black and white mixed-race young people were interviewed about their mixed-race experiences. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the data indicated that such experiences increase in complexity across levels of context. A deconstructionist approach to self-definition, without any reference to 'racial identity', was highlighted. In addition, being categorised by others was experienced as restrictive and invalidating, highlighting issues of power. Shifting and binary positions of "difference" were identified, where being "in between" positions was experienced as conflict, or as a both/and experience. Rejection through racism was highlighted to lead to anger, where supported and independent coping strategies were utilised. An understanding of racism increased with age and education. Talking about mixed-race was powerful as it moved participants into a position of "difference" or therapeutic relief, however generally led them into a defensive position about their mixed-race. Implications for professional practice are discussed which highlight areas for training and policy development across services. Study limitations are explored, and further research is suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available