Revising Race: How Biracial Students are Changing and Challenging Student Services

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, New Media, United States on 2010-03-31 01:09Z by Steven

Revising Race: How Biracial Students are Changing and Challenging Student Services

Journal of College Student Development
Volume 51, Number 2 (March/April 2010)
pages 115-134
E-ISSN: 1543-3382 Print ISSN: 0897-5264
DOI: 10.1353/csd.0.0122

Patricia E. Literte, Assistant professor of sociology
California State University, Fullerton

This research investigates the relationship between biracial college students and race-oriented student services (e.g., Office of Black Student Services). These services are organized around conventional understandings of race that assume there are five, discrete racial categories, namely, Black/African American, Latino/a, White, Asian American, and Native American. Drawing on interviews (n = 60) with students and administrators at two universities, this article examines the problems that arise when students’ racial identities are incongruent with universities’ views of race. This study can assist practitioners in the development of services on campuses that are characterized by increasingly fluid racial terrains in the post–Civil Rights era.

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Multiracialism In America – Jane Junn

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2010-03-30 01:29Z by Steven

Multiracialism In America – Jane Junn

New Century Foundation
New York, New York
2008-08-05
Length: 00:04:04

Jane Junn, Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University
Rutgers University

Political scientist Jane Junn examines shifting views on racial categorization in the United States. Junn notes the increasingly common use of the “Multiracial” designation on the U.S. Census, and discusses what it may mean for American society.

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Policies of Racial Classification and the Politics of Racial Inequality

Posted in Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-03-30 00:15Z by Steven

Policies of Racial Classification and the Politics of Racial Inequality

In Suzanne Mettler, Joe Soss, and Jacob Hacker (eds.). Remaking America: Democracy and Public Policy in an Age of Inequality
Russell Sage Foundation
November 2007
41 pages

Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

Vesla Mae Weaver, Assistant Professor
The Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics
University of Virginia

Introduction: Policy, Politics, Inequality, and Race

In 1890, the United States census bureau reported that the nation contained 6,337,980 negroes, 956,989 “mulattoes,” 105,135 “quadroons,” and 69,936 “octoroons.” In the early twentieth century it also reported the number of whites of “mixed parentage,” the number of Indians with one-quarter, half, or three-quarters black or white “blood,” and the number of part-Hawaiians and part-Malays. The boundaries between racial and ethnic groups, and even the definition of race and ethnicity, were blurred and contested. By 1930, however, this ambiguity largely disappeared from the census. Anyone with any “Negro blood” was counted as a Negro; whites no longer had mixed parentage; Indians were mainly identified by tribe rather than ancestry; and a consistent treatment of Asians was slowly developing. In other work we examine how and why these classifications rose and fell; here we examine the consequences for contemporary American politics and policy.

Official governmental classification systems can create as well as reflect social, economic, and political inequality, just as policies of taxation, welfare, or social services can and do. Official classification defines groups, determines boundaries between them, and assigns individuals to groups; in “ranked ethnic systems” (Horowitz 2000), this process enshrines structurally the dominant group’s belief about who belongs where, which groups deserve what, and ultimately who gets what. Official racial categories have determined whether a person may enter the United States, attain citizenship, own a laundry, marry a loved one, become a firefighter, enter a medical school, attend an elementary school near home, avoid an internment camp, vote, run for office, annul a marriage, receive appropriate medical treatment for syphilis, join a tribe, sell handicrafts, or open a casino. Private racial categories have affected whether an employer offers a person a job, whether a criminal defendant gets lynched, whether a university admits an applicant, and whether a heart attack victim receives the proper therapy. In these and many more ways, racial classification helps to create and maintain poverty and political, social, and economic inequality. Thus systems of racial categorization are appropriate subjects for analysis through a policy-centered perspective because they are “strategies for achieving political goals, structures shaping political interchange, and symbolic objects conveying status and identity” (p. 2 of Intro). Race is also, not coincidentally, the pivot around which political contests about equality have been waged for most of this country’s history.

The same classification system that promotes inequality may also undermine it. Once categorization generates groups with sharply defined boundaries, the members of that group can draw on their shared identity within the boundary to mobilize against their subordinate position—what one set of authors call strategic essentialism (Omi and Winant 1994). Thus classification laws are recursive, containing the elements for both generating and challenging group-based inequality. For this reason—and also because demographic patterns and other social relations on which classification rests can change—categorizations are unstable and impermanent.

We explore these abstract claims by examining the past century of racial classification in the United States. That period encompassed significant change in systems of classification and their attendant hierarchies; thus we can see how classification and inequality are related, as well as tracing the political dynamics that reinforce or challenge inequality-sustaining policies. From the Civil War era through the 1920s, the Black population was partly deconstructed through official attention to mulattos (and sometimes quadroons and octoroons), then reconstructed through court decisions and state-level “one drop of blood” laws. As of 1930, a clear and simple racial hierarchy was inscribed in the American polity — with all the attendant horrors of Jim Crow segregation. However, the one-drop policy that reinforced racial inequality also undermined it. From the 1930s through the 1970s, that is, the Black population solidified though a growing sense of racial consciousness and shared fate, and developed the political capacity to contest their poverty and unequal status…

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The Challenge of Identity: The Experience of Mixed Race Women in Higher Education [Book Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, New Media, Women on 2010-03-29 17:59Z by Steven

The Challenge of Identity: The Experience of Mixed Race Women in Higher Education [Book Review]

Academic Matters
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty
Journal of Higher Education
2009-09-23

Yasmin Jiwani, Associate Professor of Communications Studies
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The gaps between policies and the realities of those to whom these policies are addressed remains a crucial issue in any critical policy analysis. Indra Angeli Dewan’s Recasting Race brings to the fore an analysis of the experientially-based identities of mixed race women and their entry into, as well as experiences within, the realm of higher education.

Anti-racist advocacy movements of the last three decades have highlighted the embedded nature of discrimination in the education policies, pedagogical approaches, and curricular materials used at different levels of schooling and higher education. They have emphasized the need for inclusive educational policies and practices. These social movements have spurred critical analyses of, and interventions in, education policy and praxis. Many of the existing studies have documented the paucity of representations of racialized groups and the erasure of their histories in traditional pedagogical approaches and standard curricula. [1] Indeed, some studies have gone further and explored how racialized youth negotiate the school yard and their encounters within the structure of the school system. Issues of racism have been underscored as shaping the lived realities and constraining the life choices of racialized youth within mostly white schools. [2]

Dewan’s work takes this analysis further by first focusing on mixed race women and then exploring their encounters within higher education institutions and their response to educational policies. This allows her to refrain from essentializing race and racialized identities, thereby emphasizing the constructed nature of such identities. She argues that the trap of essentialism surfaces in terms of how popular discourses position mixed race people—as either belonging to one “race”—usually perceived as being inferior—or as celebratory embodiments of postmodern identity. In the latter respect, mixed race people are regarded as signs of the “end of racism” and the evolution of a whole new world marked by race-lessness. Canadian scholar Minelle Mahtani has described this as a “vacant celebration of hybridity” that “veils gendered and racialized power dynamics.” (p. 74) [3] While Dewan adopts a constructionist perspective, she argues that her findings suggest that “essentialist, postmodernist and individualist theories and discourses do not manifest themselves in mutually exclusive ways.”…

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Home on the Range: Kids, Visual Culture, and Cognitive Equity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, Teaching Resources on 2010-03-29 17:43Z by Steven

Home on the Range: Kids, Visual Culture, and Cognitive Equity

Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies
Volume 9, Number 2 (April 2009)
pages 141-148
DOI: 10.1177/1532708608326606

Lorna Roth, Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

This essay focuses on Binney and Smith’s creation and marketing of Crayola fleshtone art products from the late 1950s until the mid-1990s, analyzing the company’s shifting nomenclature—from “flesh” to “peach” to its multicultural collection. After reflecting on the significance of Crayola’s color adjustment for children’s sociocultural and aesthetic development and for teacher’s pedagogical repertoires around diversity issues, I introduce an original notion–cognitive equity. I propose this as a refined way of understanding racial and cultural equity issues that don’t just revolve around statistics and access to institutions, but also inscribes a new normative vision of skin color equity directly into technologies, products, and body representations in a range of visual media. At the very early stage of children’s cognitive development when stereotypes and racisms are being formed, this would be a particularly intelligent design strategy in which to reinforce multiculturalism and multiracialism in all aspects of their visual culture and the commodities that are available to them.

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Multiracial versus Collective Black Categories: Examining Census Classification Debates in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2010-03-29 17:18Z by Steven

Multiracial versus Collective Black Categories: Examining Census Classification Debates in Brazil

Ethnicities
Volume 6, Number 1 (2006)
pages 74-101
DOI: 10.1177/1468796806061080

Stanley R. Bailey, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Edward E. Telles, Professor of Sociology
Princeton University

Current census debates in Brazil surrounding Brazilian race categories center on two contrasting proposals: the adoption of the multiracial moreno term vs. the use of the collective black classification negro. Those proposing the former base their argument on the right to self-classify according to one’s own sense of identity. Proponents of the negro category contend that it would be most efficient for redressing racial discrimination. We examine the meaning and saliency of these categories and explore the possible consequences of their adoption. Using national survey data, we demonstrate how education, age, color, sex and local racial composition structure the choices of moreno and negro over official census terms. Findings include a negative correlation between education and the choice of moreno, while the opposite is true for negro. In addition, an age effect on both categories suggests a popular shift in racial labeling away from official census terms. We note that similar issues structure current census debates in the USA.

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Multiracialism & the civil rights future

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-03-29 00:16Z by Steven

Multiracialism & the civil rights future

Daedalus
Volume 134, Number 1 (Winter 2005)
Pages 53-60
DOI: 10.1162/0011526053124406

Kim M. Williams, Associate Professor of Public Policy
Harvard Kennedy School
Harvard University

Spurred by a small group of activists in the 1990s, the American system of racial classification changed recently in a conceptually bold way. With moving reference to the self-esteem of their children, along with the moral conviction that multiracial recognition could help the entire nation beyond an impasse, multiracial advocates were astonishingly successful in the 1990s.

Yet at the height of activity, the multiracial movement involved no more than a thousand individuals, mainly living on the East and West Coasts. Only a handful of leaders pushed the multiracial category effort forward, in fits and starts, throughout the decade. Despite its small size, the group that advanced the cause did not agree on much beyond the belief that forcing multiracial Americans into monoracial categories was inaccurate and inappropriate. Still, with only the slightest nudging by this poorly financed and increasingly fractious handful of activists, six states passed legislation between 1992 and 1998 to add a multiracial category to state forms. During the same period, legislators introduced multiracial category bills in five additional states, while two other states added a multiracial designation by administrative mandate.

The multiracialists’ best-known campaign would have added a multiracial category to the 2000 census. While the group did not get exactly what it wanted, its efforts led to the creation of an unprecedented “mark one or more” option, allowing individual Americans to identify with as many racial groups as they saw fit. Throughout the prolonged review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) culminating in this 1997 decision, the priorities of traditional civil rights advocates were twofold. First, they strongly opposed a stand-alone multiracial category, fearing that it would jeopardize civil and voting rights enforcement by diluting the count of minorities. Having successfully averted this outcome, but faced with no alternative to multiple check-offs, civil rights proponents secondly strove to ensure that multiple-race responses would be tabulated to a minority group.

The OMB met both demands. It rejected a stand-alone multiracial category and arrived at a tabulation scheme that has actually increased the tally of minority groups in some contexts, since anyone who checks off boxes for both white and a minority race counts as part of the latter for civil rights purposes. From one perspective, the technical fix adopted by the federal government–intended to balance the tension between growing racial fluidity on the one hand, and on-going racial and ethnic data needs on the other—amounted to symbolic appeasement. Federal-level multiple-race data serve no statutory purpose, and the tabulation guidelines stipulate a systematic process by which to convert multiple-race responses into single-race data. This is necessary because, to enforce civil and voting rights laws, we must be able to distinguish between those who are members of minority groups and those who are not.

Only 2.4 percent of the population, about 6.8 million people, identify with multiple races, as measured in 2000. At first glance, this might seem insignificant. Given that civil rights enforcement depends heavily on patterns, and that ‘multiple-race’ is not a protected class, the consensus has been that the multiple-race option is probably irrelevant to civil rights claims involving the size and the characteristics of minority groups. (1) But is the “mark one or more” format merely symbolic? Is the symbolism politically irrelevant?…

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The Myth of Latin American Multiracialism

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2010-03-29 00:06Z by Steven

The Myth of Latin American Multiracialism

Daedalus
Volume 134, Number 1 (Winter 2005)
Pages 82-87
DOI: 10.1162/0011526053124398

Melissa Nobles, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Many Latin American nations have long proudly proclaimed a multiracial ideal: unlike the United States, countries like Brazil and Mexico have celebrated the mixing of races, and claimed to extend equal rights and opportunities to all citizens, regardless of race. As a result of the region’s regnant faith in racial democracy, it has long been widely assumed that Latin American societies are nondiscriminatory and that their deep economic and social disparities have no racial or ethnic component.

Yet new statistical evidence (a byproduct of democratization) suggests that most of the region’s societies have yet to surmount racial discrimination. At the very time that some in the United States have timidly embraced multiracialism as a fitting ideal for North Americans, Latin American critics have begun to argue that multiracialism, like racial democracy, functions as an ideology that masks enduring racial injustice and thus blocks substantial political, social, and economic reform.

Latin American elites have always been deeply concerned about the racial stocks ol their populations and have always prized the European antecedents of their peoples and cultures—just like their Counterparts in the United States. But at the same time, and unlike their U.S. counterparts, Latin American political and cultural leaders in the first half of the twentieth century viewed their societies as unique products of racial intermingling. Sensing that such racial mingling might help define an emergent nationalism, intellectuals and statesmen argued that extensive racial mixture had resulted in the formation of new, characteristically ‘national’ races.

For example, the Mexican philosopher JosĂ© Vasconcelos (1882- 1959) famously celebrated the idea of racial mixture by arguing that all Latin Americans, and not just Mexicans, were a raza cĂłsmica (cosmic race) comprised of both Spanish and indigenous peoples. But his conception of mixture left no doubt as to the…

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Counting Multiracial People in the Census: The Unfulfilled Wish for More Data

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-03-28 19:57Z by Steven

Counting Multiracial People in the Census: The Unfulfilled Wish for More Data

Racism Review
2010-03-26

Jenifer L. Bratter, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Institute for Urban Research
Rice University

People who study the multiracial population are constantly confronted with the problem of small numbers to work with.  A recent article I co-authored on the multiracial health (Bratter, Jenifer and Bridget K. Gorman. Forthcoming. “Does Multiracial Matter? A Study of Racial Disparities in Self Rated Health.” Demography)  required combining seven years of data from a health survey (over 1.7 million cases) to get 20,000 mixed-race folks for analysis.  The 2000 Census, with its “check all that apply” race question, remains the database with the largest number of cases and the 2010 Census will be the first to count race the same way as the preceding installment. While this may sound like a mundane detail, this will allow us to gauge growth, decline, or stability of this population and whether this will affect the population bases of single-race communities.  If the sheer anticipation doesn’t shake you to your core, perhaps you have forgotten the history of introducing this option into the Census…

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Biracial Youth and Their Parents: Counseling Considerations for Family Therapists

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2010-03-28 19:02Z by Steven

Biracial Youth and Their Parents: Counseling Considerations for Family Therapists

The Family Journal
Volume 12, Number 2 (2004)
pages 170-173
DOI: 10.1177/1066480703261977

Laurie McClurg
University of Virginia

In spite of recent developments in the area of multicultural family therapy, interracial families and their biracial children remain a neglected population in the mental health field. Very little research exists, and few suggestions have been made for working with this unique population. This article addresses the developmental needs of such families and provides suggestions for family counselors and therapists.

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