Multiracial competence in social work: recommendations for culturally attuned work with multiracial people.
This article summarizes recommendations following the domains of awareness, knowledge, and skills in the NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice (NASW, 2001) to support culturally attuned social work practice with multiracial people. We argue that a culturally attuned practice approach, one that is inclusive of multiraciality is not only timely, but also consistent with the profession's ethical obligation to provide culturally relevant services to all consumers and clients.This article draws from an interdisciplinary body of scholarship, including social work, to highlight both shared and distinct experiences among multiracial populations. We posit that by comprehending the experiences of multiracial people and how multiracial identities are influenced by multisystemic factors, including the intersection of other identities (for example, gender, socioeconomic status, sexuality), we can expand rather than constrict the lens social workers use to understand ethnic and cultural identity processes within and across diverse groups. This article guides social workers through the first phase of competence--initially expanding our knowledge, awareness, and skills to be more inclusive of multiracial individuals and families. By introducing an initial discussion of this topic, we hope to challenge traditional notions of homogeneous racial groups and expand our commitment to the growing group of people who identify as multiracial. We use the terms "multiracial" and "mixed race" interchangeably as umbrella labels inclusive of, but not as substitutes for, derivative terms emerging in the literature to describe multiracial populations or people who identify two or more racial heritages, including biracial, hapa, mestizo, Mexipino, Amerasian, and Afroasian (Root & Kelley, 2003). In 2010, 2.9 percent of the U.S. population, officially identified with more than one racial-ethnic category on the U.S. census. This represents a 32 percent increase in the multiracial population since 2000 (Humes, Jones, & Ramirez, 2011). This significant percentage increase corresponds directly to increases in immigration and interracial contact and the rise in interracial marriage. It is estimated that by the year 2050, one in every five Americans could claim a mixed-race background (Lee & Bean, 2004; Smith & Edmonston, 1997). As much of the U.S. population is either multiethnic or multiracial, this is certainly an underestimate of people whose origins are racially and ethnically "mixed" (Morning, 2003). Furthermore, youths are most likely to officially claim their multiraciality (Dhooper, 2003;Jones & Smith, 2001), an identity increasingly visible in U.S. pop culture. Mixed-race actors, athletes, models, and musicians appear on popular magazines, tel...