Navigating “Mixedness”: The Information Behaviours and Experiences of Biracial Youth in Australia

Indra Ayu Susan Mckie

Abstract


It is generally understood that, ‘for those deemed white, the idea of race serves as a vast source of unearned privilege within all facets of life; for those deemed coloured, it means susceptibility to countless forms of prejudice and racism’ (Nuttgens 2010, p. 255). But what does this mean for a person with indistinguishable physical features, who is questioned daily, “where are you from?” or, even more dehumanisingly – “what are you? In the current racial climate of Australia, biracial second-generation Australians are left to choose between two or more identities on how to behave in attempts to fit binary racial groups and expectations (Shih & Sanchez 2009).
This paper presents the data from six in-depth interviews with Asian biracial youth from across Sydney. The interviews explore how this group has confronted race while developing their own identities during adolescence, as well as how their understanding of being “mixed” has developed over time. In exploring this collective racial identity, I draw from my own racialised experiences to address emergent themes from my findings.
Numerous displays of information behaviours emerged from the participant’s stories of isolation, belonging and resentment towards their racial mixedness. Information avoidance, browsing, seeking and satisficing were observed within their daily experiences of school, family and social life. Such practices informed how these individuals internalised their inherited intersection of racial persecution and privilege. Critical engagement with information behaviours theories justifies the modern notions of identity as a continuous state of reconstruction (Hall 1996) as the biracial participants of this study struggle to find balance with the external validation of others and their driving agency to be themselves.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v10i2.5941

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