Third Culture Kids

On May 3, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

 

A reader said that biracial and multiracial children are often called Third Culture Kids overseas. (I can’t put my hands on original question. I think I put it in a safe place and forgot where, which means I hid it from myself. I really hate it when that happens.) The reader asked what I thought of the term, and I had to do a bit of research.

“Third Culture Kids,” according to the U.S. State Department, “are those who have spent some of their growing up years in a foreign country and experience a sense of not belonging to their passport country when they return to it. In adapting to life in a ‘foreign’ country they have also missed learning ways of their homeland and feel most at home in the ‘third-culture’ which they have created. Little understood by American schools, where they are often considered an oddity, what third culture kids want most is to be accepted as the individuals they are.”

Based on that definition, I have to say no. At the same time, I see where the reader is going. Biracial and multiracial children experience an entirely different culture in their homes, and you certainly don’t have to go to a country to experience its culture. Sometimes it is right there in your living room.

What do you say? Are biracial and multiracial children Third Culture Kids?

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  • http://youthnasia.wordpress.com Tanya

    There are biracial and multiracial kids who are TCKs, but the two are not the same thing, at all. They are different experiences. Same as 1st generation immigrants are not TCKs – it’s a different experience. From my 6 years of working with TCKs in Beijing, China, I’d say that the characteristics of TCKs tend to look different in some biracial/multiracial kids – an exaggeration in some areas, for example.

  • http://expatriatelife.wordpress.com Judy

    If you read the illustrated book, which has recently been revised and republished, you will see that a whole section has been added on Cross Cultural Kids (CCKs). This is a much wider, umbrella term and includes bi- and multi-racial children, as well as TCKs. Although there are differences between them, they have many traits in common.

    • http://www.honeysmoke.com Honeysmoke

      That’s good to know. Thanks for the update.

  • http://www.learningtoenjoytherain.blogspot.com Mrs. K

    Based on the US Dept definition I am a Third Culture Kid I guess. Although I can see the comparison that was trying to be made, I don’t think it’s the same for biracial kids in the strict definition of the term. True 3rd Culture Kids are removed from their homeland and has to balance adapting to the new culture while not forgetting about the native culture. I can identify with biracial kids because in some instances I feel accepted in both cultures and other times I don’t feel like I’m a part of either. Very interesting topic. Thanks :)