The Social Construction of Racial and Ethnic Identity Among Women of Color from Mixed Ancestry: Psychological Freedoms and Sociological Constraints

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Women on 2019-05-22 23:09Z by Steven

The Social Construction of Racial and Ethnic Identity Among Women of Color from Mixed Ancestry: Psychological Freedoms and Sociological Constraints

City University of New York (CUNY)
211 pages

Laura Quiros

A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Social Welfare in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

In the context of the 21st century, when an increasing number of people cannot be classified by an archaic system based on race, an awareness of the complexities of ethnic and racial identity is more important than ever. This study assists in the development of a critical understanding of the complexity of racial and ethnic identity by exploring the construction of racial and ethnic identity among women of color from mixed ancestry. These women are the offspring of parents from multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds. As a result, their identities—both internally and externally constructed—belie traditional racial and ethnic categories. This population faces unique struggles, as identified in the empirical literature and supported by the data analysis. Women of color from mixed heritages: have been assigned monolithic labels based primarily on their physical appearance; may feel pressured to adopt a single and predetermined ethnic or racial label; and are often researched as one ethnic or racial group. Furthermore, scholars agree that institutional racism has been a constricting force in the construction of identity and identification for ethnic groups of color in the United States. This study is important because women of color are not always comfortable with the ascribed identity, particularly when it is based on faulty characterizations and when their ethnicity is overlooked. Additionally, this study brings insight to the psychological and social impact of socially constructed identifications.

This study regards race and ethnicity as social constructions, defined by human beings and given meaning in the context of family, community, and society. As such, women of color from mixed ancestry find themselves in the middle of the psychological freedoms and sociological constraints of identity construction within the dominant society. As a result, they develop management techniques for integrating components of self and for managing the freedoms and constraints in social constructions of race and ethnicity.

This is a subject of pivotal importance to multiple fields of inquiry as well as one having significant educational, clinical, and programmatic implications. Among the implications for social work practice and pedagogy are the need for critical reflection, increased awareness, and cultural diversity.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Philosophy on 2019-05-18 15:30Z by Steven

Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

W. W. Norton
2018 pages
5.5 × 8.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-60886-1

Thomas Chatterton Williams

A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics.

A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family’s multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a “black” father from the segregated South and a “white” mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he’d never rigorously reflected on its foundations—but the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions.

“It is not that I have come to believe that I am no longer black or that my daughter is white,” Williams writes. “It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of us.” Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White is an urgent work for our time.

Note from Steven F. Riley: See Chatterton Williams’ article “Black and Blue and Blond” in the Volume 91, Number 1 (Winter 2015) edition of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Are you a halfie?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2019-05-12 23:37Z by Steven

Are you a halfie?

The Korea Times

David Tizzard

Sunya (left), Loren (right) and their two children Anika and Neptune.

Since the mid-20th century, South Korea has clung to a message of homogeneity and race as a cornerstone of its national identity. It has advocated genetic purity (and at times superiority) as it looks in the geopolitical mirror and asks the most existential of questions.

Yet the story delivered through school text books and the broader public consciousness has often come into conflict with the reality of history. It also ignores the generations of halfies living both here and abroad, often the product of the tragic Korean War that tore the peninsula in two.

While that particular conflict is labeled “the forgotten war,” many see halfies as “the forgotten race.” Throughout the early years the first generations faced discrimination, sometimes growing up in single-parent households, orphaned, or simply socially reviled.

To be a halfie anywhere is difficult. To be a halfie in Korea is a tale unto itself…

Read the entire article here

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“I Will Not Say Nigger” excerpt

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2019-05-04 20:26Z by Steven

“I Will Not Say Nigger” excerpt


Eleanor Kipping

The artist begins performance before audience enters the space. She writes i will not say nigger on a large sheet of charcoal covered brown paper. An hour passes. She begins her monologue by asking audience and herself who the word nigger belongs to, who has the right to use it, and who exactly is a nigger. She concludes that she is a nigger and begins to remove her eurocentric makeup and dress. She stands nude before the audience, revealing her natural hair and skin color and speaks in open confession on the reasons that her ‘light skin is not right skin’ and changes her entire outfit to that more stereotypical of a black female. She packs her white identity into a suitcase and returns to writing lines until she is alone.

The black female experience is heavily dominated by the constant need to navigate the spaces within and between dominant cultures. Many black and brown females are too familiar others monitoring their behavior, language, and appearance, and have to choose where and how they will relate to dominant standards. Despite their double-consciousness, they are still situated as ‘other’ within society. These experiences define their identities and sense of self.

“I Will Not Say Nigger” explores the language and exchanges that take place between dominant and minority cultures/races, but often go unaddressed. The unspoken is present in relationships, the workplace, and other social encounters. They are subtle, difficult to define, and are often brushed under the rug, yet reveal that we are far from the post-racial society that so many insist exists. The character that you in see this piece explores the spectrum of these experiences through her mixed-race identity and shares them in through a spoken and physical confession.

Photo and video shot by Amy Olivia Pierce, edited by Eleanor Kipping, audio recorded live at the University of Maine Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center.

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A Graphic Novel That Answers a Child’s Question About Being Biracial

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-03 15:16Z by Steven

A Graphic Novel That Answers a Child’s Question About Being Biracial

Book Review
The New York Times

Ed Park

Mira Jacob

For a person of color in America, the term person of color can be both useful and divisive, at once a form of solidarity and a badge of alienation. There’s a flattening effect, too: A multitude of ethnicities and cultures, with their own color-coded nuances, get crammed into the initials P.O.C.

Among its many virtues, Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir, Good Talk (One World, $30), helps us think through this term with grace and disarming wit. The book lives up to its title, and reading these searching, often hilarious tête-à-têtes — with her parents and brother, confidantes and strangers, employers and exes — is as effortless as eavesdropping on a crosstown bus.

Mira lives in New York with her husband, Jed, who is white and Jewish, and their young son, Z., who is dark-skinned like his mother — a poster for racial harmony that can, in the current climate, feel like a target. Born in New Mexico to parents who immigrated from India in 1968, Mira is simply “brown,” if ethnically obscure, while growing up (“You’re Indian like feathers or Indian like dots?” a boy asks her). Ironically, she first feels the stigma of skin color on trips to her parents’ native country, thanks to not being as “fair” as the rest of her family. As a girl, Mira envisions the “lighter, happier, prettier me.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Hybrida: Poems

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Poetry, Social Justice, United States on 2019-05-01 22:12Z by Steven

Hybrida: Poems

W. W. Norton
May 2019
144 pages
6.4 × 8.5 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-324-00248-2

Tina Chang, Poet Laureate of Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn, New York

A stirring and confident examination of mixed-race identity, violence, and history skillfully rendered through the lens of motherhood.

In this timely, assured collection, Tina Chang confronts the complexities of raising a mixed-race child during an era of political upheaval in the United States. She ruminates on the relationship between her son’s blackness and his safety, exploring the dangers of childhood in a post–Trayvon Martin era and invoking racialized roles in fairy tales. Against the stark urban landscapes of threat and surveillance, Chang returns to the language of mothers.

Meditating on the lives of Michael Brown, Leiby Kletzky, and Noemi Álvarez Quillay—lost at the hands of individuals entrusted to protect them—Chang creates hybrid poetic forms that mirror her investigation of racial tensions. Through an agile blend of zuihitsu, ghazal, prose poems, mosaic poems, and lyric essays, Hybrida envisions a childhood of mixed race as one that is complex, emotionally wrought, and often vulnerable. Hybrida is a twenty-first-century tale that is equal parts a mother’s love and her fury, an ambitious and revelatory exploration of identity that establishes Tina Chang as one of the most vital voices of her generation.

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New documentary ‘Being Both’ explores mixed-race identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Mexico, United Kingdom on 2019-04-29 16:24Z by Steven

New documentary ‘Being Both’ explores mixed-race identity

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer

The UK’s fastest-growing ethnic group is comprised of anyone with parents who have two of more different ethnicities – and the varieties within that group are almost endless.

The realities of being mixed-race are unique and often overlooked in mainstream narratives, but documentary maker Ryan Cooper-Brown wants to change that. His new short documentary film Being Both tackles issues that directly relate to the mixed-race experience, from displacement and family conflict to racism and fetishisation.

But the film is also brimming with hope and shines a light on the many positives that come with having mixed heritage.

The eight-minute film condenses a series of compelling stories from the mixed-race community. It is an intimate and uplifting short that captures the shared challenges, emotions and histories of mixed-race people from the UK, Denmark, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Germany and Japan

Read the entire article here.

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Passing, Identity and Race

Posted in Audio, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-04-18 00:32Z by Steven

Passing, Identity and Race

New York, New York

WNYC Newsroom

When Anita Florence Hemmings applied to attend Vassar College in upstate New York in 1893, she did not disclose her racial identity to the school. She passed as a white student for years before eventually being outed as a black woman shortly before graduation, after her white roommate’s family hired a private detective to investigate her background.

“Even though Vassar allows her to graduate after she’s been outed to the (college) president, she becomes the subject of a national scandal,” Vassar film professor Mia Mask told WNYC’s Jami Floyd. “And she’s worried that she will be unemployable after her time at Vassar.”

Now, Hemmings’s story is helping to launch a deeper conversation at the college. The conference, Quiet As It’s Kept; Passing Subjects, Contested Identities, runs from Friday Apr. 5 through Sunday Apr. 7.

For the professors coordinating the event, the topic spins off related discussions.

“Part of what happens when we start talking about passing and how we perform our identities is that we also get into a conversation about authenticity,” said English professor Hiram Perez. “It also brings us into this complex conversation about the different ways that we police one another.”

The conference is slated to include presentations about many forms of passing pertaining to race, sexuality, gender, ability, religion, and class.

Listen to the story (00:07:56) here.

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Mixed Up: ‘You don’t get to tell me that I’m not really black’

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-04-17 23:48Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘You don’t get to tell me that I’m not really black’

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer

Kristian has never lived in any country for more than five years. (Picture by Jerry Syder for

Kristian Foged has never lived in one country for more than five consecutive years. With influences from Uganda, Denmark and The Seychelles, his cultural experience couldn’t be more varied.

‘“Where are you from?” has always been a complicated question for me,’ Kristian tells

‘My mix is firstly one of ethnicity, with my mom being from The Seychelles and my dad from Denmark. But it is also a mixed heritage and cultural upbringing.

‘While my mom’s side of the family is fully Seychellois, my grandparents emigrated from The Seychelles to Uganda when they were young, which meant my mom was actually born in Uganda and has spent her whole life there.

‘On the other side of the world, my dad was born in Denmark, and became an engineer because he wanted a job he could do anywhere. Eventually, he ended up in Uganda and met my mom.

‘Since my first four or five years in Uganda, I have moved back and forth between Uganda, Denmark and Greenland, before finally moving to study at university in England in 2010.

‘My moving around as a kid has actually meant I have never lived in any country for more than five years in a row. In fact, if I make it past this summer, London will be my new record!’

Being mixed-race is important to Kristian. The transiency of his upbringing made fitting in a constant battle, but it also generated a strong desire to form a solid sense of identity. No matter where in the world he moved, that sense of self could come with him…

Read the entire article here.

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Participants Wanted for Research on the Influences of Psychocultural Factors and Self-Stigma of Seeking Psychological Help on Biracial Individuals’ Counseling Utilization

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2019-04-17 13:50Z by Steven

Participants Wanted for Research on the Influences of Psychocultural Factors and Self-Stigma of Seeking Psychological Help on Biracial Individuals’ Counseling Utilization

Georgia State University
IRB Number: H19540

Mary Huffstead, M.Ed., LPC, NCC

I am a researcher, recruiting participants for a study examining relationships between racial identity, discrimination, mental health stigma and counseling use.

In this study you will complete survey items about experiences of discrimination, racial identity and beliefs about counseling as a biracial individual. The study takes 20-40 minutes overall. There is no compensation for participating in this study, however, your
participation will contribute to the scientific community by increasing the awareness of factors that may contribute to the develop of counseling outreach efforts and therapeutic outcomes for Biracial individuals.

Anyone who identifies as Biracial (i.e. identifying with two racial groups or ethnicity: African American/Black, Asian American, Caucasian/ White Native American, or Hispanic/Latino) and is over the age of 18 can participate in this study. Up to 1,000 people will participate in this study. The survey is administered on an online platform called Qualtrics.

Participation in the study is expected to take 20-40 minutes. The research will not provide direct benefits to you but it will benefit the scientific community through increasing awareness of factors that may contribute to the development of therapeutic alliance and counseling outreach when working with Biracial individuals.

Participation is confidential and participants may withdraw from the study at any time.

To participate in the survey, click here.

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