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Multiracial Cultural Attunement
Kelly Faye Jackson and Gina Miranda Samuels
ISBN: 978-0-87101-544-0. 2019. Item #5440. 208 pages.
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"What are you" "But you don’t sound black!" "Aw, mixed-race babies are so cute!" These microaggressions can deeply affect an individual’s basic development, identity, sense of security, and belonging. Rather than having "the best of both worlds," research suggests that multiracial people and families experience similar or higher rates of racism, bullying, separation, suicide, and divorce than their single-race-identified peers. Multiracial people and families don’t face these challenges because they are multiracial, but because dominant constructions of race, rooted in white supremacy, privilege single-race identities. It is this foundation of monocentrism that perpetuates the continued pathologizing and exotifying of people and families of mixed-race heritage. Furthermore, pervasive but misguided claims of colorblindness often distort the salience of race and racism in our society for all people of color. This reinforces and enables the kind of racism and discrimination that many multiracial families and people experience, often leaving them to battle their oppression and discrimination alone.

In this book, Jackson and Samuels draw from their own research and direct practice with multiracial individuals and families, and also a rich interdisciplinary science and theory base, to share their model of multiracial cultural attunement. Core to this model are the four foundational principles of critical multiraciality, multidimensionality and intersectionality, social constructivism, and social justice. Throughout, the authors demonstrate how to collaboratively nurture clients’ emerging identities, identify struggles and opportunities, and deeply engage clients’ strengths and resiliencies. Readers are challenged to embrace this model as a guide to go beyond the comfort zone of their own racialized experiences to disrupt the stigma and systems of racism and monoracism that can inhibit the well-being of multiracial people and families.

With case studies, skill-building resources, tool kits, and interactive exercises, this book can help you leverage the strengths and resilience of multiracial people and families and pave the way to your own personal growth and professional responsibility to enact socially just practices.

Chapter 1: Multiraciality in the United States of America

Chapter 2: Doing Family Multiracially

Chapter 3: Theorizing Multiracial Identity Development

Chapter 4: Practice Model of Multiracial Cultural Attunement

Chapter 5: Critical Reflexivity and Engagement

Toolkit A: Critical Reflexivity and Engagement – Practical Tools for In-Relation Work with Multiracial Individuals and Families

Chapter 6: Exploration and Collaborating in Action

Toolkit B: Exploration and Collaborating in Action – Practical Tools for In-Relation Work with Multiracial Individuals and Families

About the Authors
Kelly Faye Jackson, PhD, MSW, is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. As a social worker and multiracial person, Dr. Jackson is committed to expanding the current knowledge base of multiracial identity through the dissemination of empirical research to help social workers and other helping professionals work more inclusively and responsibly with the growing population of individuals and families living multiracially. Her research examines the identity development and overall well-being of people of mixed racial heritage. Since 2008, Dr. Jackson has maintained regular involvement in local and national multiracial organizations, including serving on the executive boards of MAVIN, Mixed Roots Stories, and Critical Mixed Race Studies. She self-identifies as mixed black and white and resides in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and daughter. Dr. Jackson remains grateful to close family and friends who make it possible for her to affirm her identity as a multiracial woman of color.

Gina Miranda Samuels, PhD, MSSW, is an associate professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and faculty affiliate at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. For the past 20 years, her scholarship has explored issues of multiracial identity, relational permanence, belonging, and ambiguous loss among people who have experienced disconnections from their families, cultures, and racial-ethnic communities of origin. Her prior social work practice and current scholarship focuses on child welfare populations, including transracial adoptees and their families, youth aging out of foster care, and young people who experience homelessness. She uses critical-intersectional theories and interpretive methods of research to advance youth- and family-centric practices and policies in child welfare and social work broadly. Dr. Miranda Samuels is herself mixed race (black-white) and transracially adopted. She lives and works in Chicago but spends increasing amounts of time at her cabin in North Carolina with her husband and two dogs.
The multiracial population has become one of the fastest-growing segments in the United States. As with all growing populations, as the numbers increase, we as helping professionals find ourselves encountering more diverse individuals and families in our work. Having the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to work with the population becomes vital. This book will provide valuable learning not only for the professional practice of social work, but for other helping and clinical professions as well.

Kelley R. Kenney, EdD
Professor emeritus of higher education
Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA, and
higher education consultant
Desales University, Center Valley, PA