Racial Ideologies, Racial-Group Boundaries, and Racial Identity in Veracruz, Mexico

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Mexico, Slavery on 2011-07-31 22:02Z by Steven

Racial Ideologies, Racial-Group Boundaries, and Racial Identity in Veracruz, Mexico

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 5, Number 3 (November 2010)
pages 273-299
DOI: 10.1080/17442222.2010.513829

Recent scholarly interest in the populations of African descent in Latin America has contributed to a growing body of literature. Although a number of studies have explored the issue of blackness in Afro-Latin American countries, much less attention has been paid to how blackness functions in mestizo American countries. Furthermore, in mestizo America, the theoretical emphasis has oftentimes been placed on the mestizo/Indian divide, leaving no conceptual room to explore the issue of blackness. This article begins to fill this gap in the literature by focusing on blackness in the western Caribbean cities of Port of Veracruz and Boca del Río, which lie in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Specifically, it looks at the racial-based and color-based identification of individuals of African descent, societal construction of the ‘black’ category, and the relationship between national and racial identities. This article relies on data from participant observation conducted over the course of one year and 112 semi-structured interviews.

…Blackness in Mexico

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Mexico and Peru were the largest importers of African slaves in Spanish America (Palmer, 1976). Most scholars estimate that approximately 200,000 African slaves reached Mexico’s shores, although the number may be higher since many slaves were imported illegally (Aguirre Beltrán, 1944). When the slave system collapsed in the early 1700s, the biological integration of the population increased as the African-origin population increasingly mixed with the Indian and Spanish groups (Cope, 1994). After 1821, when Mexico gained independence from Spain, legal distinctions pertaining to race were terminated (González Navarro, 1970). By this time it was generally assumed that the black population had ‘disappeared’ through biological integration with the broader population.

Mexico’s early-20th-century post-revolutionary ideology further solidified the narrative of the disappearance of Mexico’s black population. This ideology promoted the mixed-race individual (mestizo) as the quintessential Mexican (Knight, 1990; Vasconcelos, 1925). In doing so, however, it not only glorified the mestizo, but sought to assimilate the Indigenous (Knight, 1990) and African (Hernández Cuevas, 2004, 2005) components of Mexico’s population through integration. The erasure of the African element in Mexico continued in the following decades through the Eurocentric re-interpretation of particular aspects of Mexican culture (Gonzalez-El Hilali, 1997; Hernandez-Cuevas, 2004, 2005).

The supposed disappearance of the African-origin population was first questioned in the 1940s when Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán (1946, 1958) studied what he defined as a ‘black’ population in the Costa Chica region of Mexico’s southern coast. Aguirre Beltrán’s pioneering study set the stage for the re-emergence of the issue of blackness in Mexico. In the past few decades, there has been a surge of scholarly work on the topic, much of which has focused on the historical experience of Africans and their descendants (Aguirre Beltrán, 1944; Alcántara López, 2002; Bennett, 2003; Carroll, 2001; Chávez Carbajal, 1997; García Bustamante, 1987; Gil Maronã, 1992; Herrera Casasús, 1991; Martínez Montiel & Reyes, 1993; Martínez Montiel, 1993; Motta Sánchez, 2001; Naveda Chávez-Hita, 1987, 2001; Palmer, 1976; Rout, 1976; Vincent, 1994; Vinson III, 2001; Winfield Capitaine, 1988) and the African contribution to Mexican culture (Díaz Pérez et al., 1993; Gonzalez-El Hilali, 1997; Hall, 2008; Hernandez-Cuevas, 2004, 2005; Malcomson, forthcoming; Martínez Montiel, 1993; Ochoa Serrano, 1997; Pérez Montfort, 2007; for more general overviews and/or discussions of Afro-Mexicans, see Hoffman, 2006a, 2008; Martinez Montiel, 1997; Muhammad, 1995; Vinson III & Vaughn 2004); less attention has been paid to the contemporary experience of Mexicans of African descent. When the contemporary experience is addressed, most scholars focus on the Costa Chica region (Aguirre Beltrán, 1946, 1958; Althoff, 1994; Campos, 2005; Díaz Pérez et al., 1993; Flanet, 1977; Gutiérrez Ávila, 1988; Hoffman, 2007a; Lewis, 2000, 2001, 2004; Moedano Navarro, 1988; Tibón, 1961; Vaughn, 2001a). However, Hoffman (2007a, 2007b) argues that the Costa Chica represents an exceptional case in Mexico, and that identity formation in this region is not based on negotiation with state-sponsored institutions due to their limited presence in the area…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Debate: Are the Americas ‘sick with racism’ or is it a problem at the poles? A reply to Christina A. Sue

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-07-31 21:19Z by Steven

Debate: Are the Americas ‘sick with racism’ or is it a problem at the poles? A reply to Christina A. Sue

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 32, Issue 6 (July 2009)
Special Issue: Making Latino/a Identities in Contemporary America
pages 1071-1082
DOI: 10.1080/01419870902883536

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Professor of Sociology
Duke University

Christina A. Sue commented on my 2004 article in Ethnic and Racial Studies on the Latin Americanization of racial stratification in the USA. Almost all her observations hinge on the assumption that racial stratification in Latin American countries is fundamentally structured around ‘two racial poles’. I disagree with her and in my reply do three things. First, I address three major claims or issues in her comment. Second, I point out some methodological limitations of Americancentred race analysis in Latin America. Third, I conclude by discussing briefly the Obama phenomenon and suggest this event fits in many ways my Latin Americanization thesis.

The Americas are sick with racism, blind in both eyes from North to South.
(Eduardo Galeano 2000, p. 56)

Since I unveiled my Latin Americanization thesis in 2001, I have received plenty of critical feedback  some negative, but mostly positive. Accordingly, I welcome Christina Sue’s comment. Although we see race matters in both Americas quite differently  I believe the Americas are ‘sick with racism’ and Sue seems to believe racism is a problem at the ‘racial poles’  our exchange may stimulate further debate about the racial question in Latin America and the USA.

In this rejoinder I do three things. First, I address some of Sue’s criticisms. Second, I advance several methodological observations orthogonally related to Sue’s comments. Third, I briefly tackle the big elephant in the contemporary American racial room (the election of a black man as president) and suggest it fits my Latin Americanization thesis…

…First, Obama, like most politicians in the Americas, worked hard during the campaign at making a nationalist, post-racial appeal. Second, like some racially mixed leaders in the Americas, Obama was keen to signify the peculiar character of his ‘blackness’ (his half-white, half-black background) and the provenance of his blackness (his father hailed from Kenya and in the USA African blackness is perceived as less threatening). Obama has cultivated an outlook where his ‘blackness’ is more about style than political substance; Obama is the ‘cool’, exceptional black man not likely to rock the American racial boat. Third, Obama has exhibited an accommodationist stand on race (Street 2009). In a speech in Selma, Alabama, he stated the USA was ‘90% on the road to racial equality’ (Obama 2007) and continued this path in his so-called ‘race speech’ (Obama 2008). Fourth, whites see Obama as a ‘safe black’ who, unlike traditional black politicians, will not advocate race-based social policy. Fifth, Obama will formulate ‘universal’ (class-based) policies that are unlikely to remedy racial inequality (Obama 2004). Sixth, his election, in conjunction with other developments in the last decades, evinces the ascendance to political power (with a small ‘p’) of ‘neo-mulattos’ (Horton and Sykes 2004), will exacerbate the existing colour-class divide within the black community, and reinforce ‘multiculturalist white supremacy’ (Rodríguez 2008)…

Read the entire article here.

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Campus Colorlines: The Changing Boundaries of Race Within Institutions of Higher Education in the Post-Civil Rights Era

Posted in Campus Life, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-07-31 20:19Z by Steven

Campus Colorlines: The Changing Boundaries of Race Within Institutions of Higher Education in the Post-Civil Rights Era

University of Southern California
August 2007
675 pages

Patricia Elizabeth Literte, Assistant Professor of Sociology
California State University, Fullerton

A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School University of Southern California In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy

The post-Civil Rights era has been characterized by numerous challenges to traditional understandings of race. The dismantling of legalized segregation and discrimination, ongoing immigration from Asia and Latin America, increasing acceptance of interracial contact and relationships, and relatively unceasing conflict between the Western and Arab world, are just some of the socio-political trends and events which have yielded an increasingly fluid, complex, and intricate racial terrain. Given the increasing fluidity of race in U.S. society, the overarching goal of this dissertation is to illuminate the nature and implications of changing racial identity boundaries in the post-Civil Rights era. In order to fulfill this goal, I examine (1) the experiences of university students who defy conventional racial identity categorizations, (2) the processes of organization/mobilization in which these students engage, and (3) the role universities play in shaping and responding to these students, whose racial identities and politics are often incongruent with the institutions’ views of race. The majority of research on college students’ racial identities and racialized political activity focuses on conventional understandings of racial identity, which rely on the assumption that there are five singular racial categories – black/African American, Latino/a, white, Asian American, and Native American. Less is known about racial identities and corollary political activity which falls outside these boundaries. My dissertation addresses this gap through a two-tieredanalysis. First, I comparatively examine how students come to organize/mobilize around two identities which challenge singular or “monoracial” conceptualizations of race: (1) biracial identity and (2) “people of color” identity. Second, I examine how monoracially oriented student services (i.e., black student service offices) respond to such organization/mobilization. Study of these processes within the particular domain of higher education can assist student service practitioners in the formulation and implementation of programming on increasingly diverse campuses and can provide insight into how students can more fully participate in their universities’ public life. My methods of data collection include interviews (N = 90) with students and administrators, student focus groups, observation, and archival research.

Table of Contents

  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgements
  • Abstract
  • Chapter 1: Introduction: The Changing Nature of Race in Post-Civil Rights Society
  • Part 1: Institutional Histories: Understanding the Racial Dynamics of Three Universities
    • Chapter 2: Western University: The Long, Strange Path from Racial Leftism to Colorblindness
    • Chapter 3: California University: A Bastion of Conservatism Rethinks its Identity in the Post-Affirmative Action Era
    • Chapter 4: Bay University: A Majority-Minority School Struggles and Embraces Multiculturalism
  • Part 2: The Construction and Mobilization of Biracial Identity: Disrupting the Monoracial Landscape of Universities
    • Chapter 5: Western University and California University: Biracial Students: Facing Double Consciousness, Otherness, and the Complexities of Organizing
    • Chapter 6: Bay University: The Force of Working Class Status, the One Drop Rule, and Mestizaje: The Absence of Biracial Students
  • Part 3: “We all share the same struggle”: Coalition Building and the Formation of People of Color Identity among University Students
    • Chapter 7: Western University: The Power of Students of Color: A Tradition of Resistance Continues in the Wake of Proposition 209
    • Chapter 8: California University: Contesting Apathy and the Strength of Monoracialism: Students of Color Struggle to Engage New Racial Politics
    • Chapter 9: Bay University: Working Class Obligations, Segregation, and the Black-Brown Conflict: The Diminishment of Coalitions and People of Color Identity among Students
    • Chapter 10: Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Best of both worlds?

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes, Family/Parenting on 2011-07-31 06:20Z by Steven

“Best of both worlds” arguments are also problematic because at times they border on claiming a biracial identity is superior. While some biracial children may have exposure to diverse environments that gives them broad knowledge, it is unfair to assume that monoracial children cannot have this exposure or that biracial children do have this exposure… …Moreover, it is not safe to assume that a racially diverse set off experiences can translate into success.

Another problem with this argument is that it accepts the notion that the parents really are from “two different worlds” and necessarily have two different set of experiences that they share with their children. Parents of biracial children could have similar views about racial issues and similar socialization experiences. Moreover, they could both take the race blind approach to racial socialization, in which the differences of parents are denied of minimized. While very few couples in this study appeared to be raising their children in race blind manner, this is clearly a possibility.

Sullivan, Rachel. “Revisioning Black/White Multiracial Families: The Single-Parent Experience,” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Atlanta Hilton Hotel, Atlanta, GA, Aug 16, 2003.


Half-white is an insult

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2011-07-31 06:10Z by Steven

Half-white is an insult

The Guardian

Michael Paulin

The debate over how black Obama is obscures the racial reconciliation his election represents

Barack Hussein Obama’s stunning victory against what was a thoroughly cynical Clinton campaign and a confused and morally bankrupt conservative Republican opposition is as historically significant as the fall of the Berlin Wall. His victory has revealed that a radical new form of political discourse and dialogue is possible, and that the tired dichotomies the political class have sustained for so long can be challenged by the people.

We now have our first black president. The most powerful man in the world is a black man. A man partly raised by his white grandparents. We have the first black president of the United States and, simultaneously, our first mixed-race president.

In Britain, Obama’s victory has exposed a predominantly white minority’s inherent suspicion and mistrust of black people. Christopher Hitchens, appearing on Newsnight last week, declared: “We do not have our first black president. He is not black. He is as black as he is white. He is not full black.” Rod Liddle, writing in the current edition of the Spectator under the headline “Is Barack Obama really black?”, suggested that “coloured“—a term of reference used in apartheid South Africa—would be more appropriate…

…These commentators are ignorant of the realities of the black experience and of the possibility of being of mixed heritage. Hitchens’s reliance on the concept of being “full black”, which harks back to the age of eugenics, exposes just how reactionary he has become. At this great moment in the global struggle for genuine democracy and racial unity, such commentators wriggle in discomfort, clinging to Obama’s “whiteness” in order to appease their own anxieties about the fact that we now have a black president. Even Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wrote an atrocious piece in the Evening Standard suggesting it was an insult to Obama’s mother to call him black…

…It is unfortunate that this needs to be said but, for the avoidance of doubt: Barack Hussein Obama is black. Yet he is also mixed-race. Perhaps more important, he is a black, mixed-race intellectual…

Read the entire article here.

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A Multiracial Movement and a Multiracial Box Won’t Solve the Racism Problem

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-07-31 05:50Z by Steven

A Multiracial Movement and a Multiracial Box Won’t Solve the Racism Problem

Rachel’s Tavern: Race, Gender, and Sexuality from a Sociological Perspective

Rachel Sullivan, Associate Professor of Sociology
Montgomery College, Germantown, Maryland

In a comment on the last thread on Rachel’s Tavern about how biracial children affect family approval of black/white relationships Dave of mulatto.org, made the following comment:

Professor Rachel Sullivan here gives a good textbook example of propaganda that facilitates white/black biracial subordination, by making the case that white/black biracials shouldn’t be considered a population with challenges distinct from blacks except for being more privileged.

The problem is that this is not what I said, but I do think this is an opportunity to talk about some of the politics of multiracial identity. For the record, my dissertation was not on how people of mixed race identify. It was about family approval of black/white relationships, and the reason children (biracial or not) were important was because the most common reason given for opposing an interracial relationship was the idea that the children would suffer. That belief was premised on the “tragic mulatto myth.” In this study, all of the people I interviewed were couples in Black/White interracial relationships. Only one of those people self identified as biracial. I did not interview the children of these couples, so I did not get their opinions.

However, for the record I do not agree with Dave’s position, which to me reads that “people who have one black parent and one white parent are a distinct racial group and should identify as biracial, mixed race, or mulatto, not as black.” (I’m not sure how he feels about people of mixed parentage identifying as white.) Here’s a quote from his comment:

It’s logically inconsistent to say (1) white/black biracials should be identified as black because most white people will only see and treat them as black, and (2) whites treat white/black biracials better than black people because they see them as different than dark-skinned black people. Although I don’t think this makes logical sense, I think it’s crafted to be anti-white/black biracial propaganda. The first part implies that white/black biracials shouldn’t have a distinct affinity identity to organize and advocate for ourselves, because we aren’t treated differently, and the second part implies that white/black biracials are less deserving of telescopic philanthropy (definition on Wikipedia) than black people.

Dave’s belief is that mixed race people mixed ancestry should organize their own groups, and they should see themselves as distinction from African Americans. I have no objection to organizing some multiracial groups, but I also thinking that many of the needs, concerns, and issues overlap with those of other people of color. Personally, I do not think it would be beneficial to try to create a new racial group akin to the “colored” population in South Africa.

I am tired of multiracial activists who say people should have an option to choose their race, and then these same people get mad if people do not choose “biracial” or “multiracial.” People should have the choice, regardless of their color of phenotype, to define themselves racially. I also feel that these choices may change over time or circumstances; making racial identities fluid in some cases. I feel that both the one drop rule, and the assertion that people must choose biracial are racist because they encourage essentialist definitions of race and because they do not allow the freedom of self definition…

Read the entire entry here.

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Post-race? Nation, Inheritance and the Contradictory Performativity of Race in Barack Obama’s ‘A More Perfect Union’ Speech

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-07-31 04:23Z by Steven

Post-race? Nation, Inheritance and the Contradictory Performativity of Race in Barack Obama’s ‘A More Perfect Union’ Speech

thirdspace: a journal of feminist theory & culture
Volume 10, Number 1 (2011)
18 pages

Bridget Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences
University of Manchester

This article takes the speech that Barack Obama made in his campaign for democratic nomination in 2008 as a moment in the performativity of race. It argues that Obama was unable to sustain an attempt to be ‘post race’, but is also asks the extent to which Obama was able to re-write the way in which race is positioned within the US, particularly with reference to the place of African-Americans within the national narrative.


[S]ome people have a hard time taking me at face value. When people who don’t know me well, black or white, discover my background (and it usually is a discovery, for I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites), I see the split-second adjustment they have to make, the searching of my eyes for some tell-tale sign. They no longer know who I am.
(Obama, Dreams from my Father xv).

It’s not likely that there are too many people left who do not know who Barack Obama is, or that he is the product of a ‘brief union’ as he puts it, between ‘a black man and a white woman, an African and an American’ (Obama, Dreams from my Father xv). Nonetheless, Obama’s racial identity remains a source of fascination. The website democraticunderground.com hosted a discussion thread in March 2008 prompted by the question ‘What ethnicity is Obama’. The original questioner was interested in exploring ‘his white half’s ethnicity’. One of the respondents to this thread provides links to a website publishing Obama’s family tree and writes ‘it is amazing to see just how ‘white’ his mother and grandparents are’. The same respondent also provides a picture from Obama’s mother’s high school yearbook to demonstrate her ‘amazing’ whiteness as well as one of Obama with his white grandparents. The thread continues with a string of photos of different members of his family (including his half-Indonesian sister’s ‘Oriental husband who came from Canada’). This is just one example of the fascination that Obama’s racial positioning prompts in supporters and detractors alike and suggests that for many, it takes more than a ‘split-second’ adjustment to reconcile themselves to complex ideas of family, heritage and racialized identities.

This paper will explore a particular moment in the racialized positioning of Obama and his own self-positioning as an example of the performativity of race or possibly of ‘post-race’. The paper will take a key instance when Obama put his own racial positioning on the stage, in response to a particular set of political events. Through an examination of his ‘A more perfect union’ speech in Philadelphia during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination (18th March 2008), I want to consider the extent to which we can ‘trouble race’ in the same way that Judith Butler has argued for the troubling of gender. The campaign election of Barack Obama has inserted the concept of ‘post-race’ into popular discourse in a forceful way. This article will question what the theoretical literature, which might regard race to be ‘under-erasure’ rather than ‘overcome,’ can offer to an analysis of the positioning of Obama. This is important because, despite longstanding academic and activist insistence that ‘race’ is a social construction devoid of any inherent or essential meaning, the ontological status of ‘race’ remains in question. As the reaction to Barack Obama shows, race is something that we still appear to need to ‘know’ about each other (and perhaps particularly about those who are not ‘white’). Yet, as I will argue, the racialized performativity offered by Obama is far from clear-cut and suggests that a more complex analysis is required. This paper will first explore the ideas of being ‘beyond’ or ‘post’ race and then consider how the notion of gender performativity might be productively extended to race peformativity. Then it will return to the speech given by Barack Obama in the course of his nomination campaign to explore both the impossibility for some figures to step outside of race, but also the potential scope to re-fashion concepts of race and inheritance, and particularly their relation to the nation…

Read the entire article here.

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Black-White interracial parenting in the Midwest: Naturalistic inquiry into race-related experiences, race identity choices, and education realities

Posted in Campus Life, Dissertations, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2011-07-31 03:57Z by Steven

Black-White interracial parenting in the Midwest: Naturalistic inquiry into race-related experiences, race identity choices, and education realities

University of South Dakota
May 2009
133 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3367641
ISBN: 9781109276206

Anita A. Manning

A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education

On November 4, 2008, the United States of America elected the first biracial president, Barack Hussein Obama, a Black man of Black and White heritage. President Obama’s self-claimed identity reinforced this image. Many of the laws and ways of classifying people changed since President Obama’s generation and with these changes arose a growing population of people with one White parent and one Black parent. This group claimed neither a Black nor White identity, but rather a biracial identity. “Biracial is not currently a recognized racial category within the American cultural landscape” (Rockquemore & Brunsma, 2002, p. 336).

According to Root (1996), “The US Census (1992) reported that while the number of monoracial white babies was 15%, the number of Black/White biracial babies has grown almost 500%” (p. xv). For the first time in history, the number of biracial babies is increasing at a faster rate than the number of monoracial babies (p. xiv). Root (1996) referred to this phenomenon as the biracial baby boom (Root, 1996, p. xv).

This qualitative naturalistic inquiry study described the experiences of six interracial couples raising biracial children. The interracial couples consisted of Black men married to White women. The source of information for this study came from individual audio-recorded face-to-face interviews from the 12 participants. The interviews were transcribed, verified by the participants, and analyzed by the researcher and a peer debriefer for themes. Themes of the six interracial couple’s experiences emerged.

The overall consensus of the respondents was that society has not changed significantly during the past 10 years. The participants are still experiencing discrimination, racism, negative classification, social rejection, marginalization, negative stereotypes, exclusion, and ignorance from the members and practices of society.

Most of the participants’ experienced their children being excluded, marginalized, and forgotten at school, and shared situations of condemnation, name calling, and racist remarks. At parent conferences, practices of not having eye contact with the Black father and directing communication toward the White mother were reported.

The participants in this study voiced concern about teachers, principals, and administrators lacking knowledge in regard to the teaching of biracial students. Respondents stated that teachers had low expectations of biracial students and used low-level curriculum.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
    • Statement of Problem
    • Purpose of the Study
    • Research Questions
    • Significance of the Study
    • Definition of Terms
    • Delimitations
    • Assumptions
    • Organization of the Study
  • 2. Review of Selected Literature
    • Historical Classification of People
    • Laws and Customs
    • Marriage
    • Parenting
    • Family Dynamics
    • Extended Families
    • Societal Issues
    • Identity Development
    • Racial/Ethnic Identity Development
    • Biracial Identity Development
    • Models of Biracial Identity Development
    • School Environment
    • School Practices
    • School Achievement
    • Teachers/Staff
    • Summary
  • 3. Methodology
    • Purpose of the Study
    • Research Questions
    • Researcher’s Perspective
    • Participants
    • Data Collection
    • Data Analysis
    • Verification
    • Ethical Considerations
    • Dissemination of Results
  • 4. Findings
    • Statement of the Problem
    • Purpose of the Study
    • Research Questions
    • Participants
    • Findings
    • Experiences Raising Biracial Children
      • Biracial Parenting
      • Identification/Classification
      • Family
      • President Obama
      • Society
    • Child Development
      • School Environment
      • School Practices/Achievement
      • Teachers
    • Recommendations for Respondents about Making Improvements
      • Society
      • Schools
    • Summary
  • 5. Summary Conclusion, Discussion, and Recommendations
    • Summary
      • Purpose of the Study
      • Research Questions
      • Literature Review Summary
      • Methodology
      • Findings
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion
    • Recommendations
      • Recommendations for Practice
    • Recommendations for Further Study
  • References
  • Appendixes
    • A. Interview Protocol Questions
    • B. Invitation to Participate
    • C. Informed Consent
    • D. Audit Trail

Statement of the Problem

What did parents in this study believe their children experienced in the Midwest in the largest urban environment in South Dakota? This study was designed to explore through a naturalistic research model how a selected small group of these parents experienced the social and educational environment of the community of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a city of increasing diversity. Additionally, this study was designed by a researcher who herself is a White mother with a Black husband and has raised their son in this environment. The study asked a group of interracial parents what they perceived their biracial children experienced and what meaning the parents ascribed to these experiences that affected the maturation of the children.

There are few research studies that explore interracial parental perceptions of the experiences and meanings that these parents believe their children experience. While literature on self-identity is extensive, little is written to identify what an increasing number of interracial parents in an urban center in the Midwest (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) have seen as the experiences of their children. The problem of this study was to identify and explore parental perceptions regarding the matters of their children’s racial identity, personal efficacy, and self-worth that might influence social acceptance and educational achievement.

Purchase the dissertation here.

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Does Gates DNA Data Make Black Indians an Urban Legend? Or Does Eating Out of the Same Pot Still Matter?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2011-07-31 03:35Z by Steven

Does Gates DNA Data Make Black Indians an Urban Legend? Or Does Eating Out of the Same Pot Still Matter?

Indian Voices
July/August 2011
page 7

Phil Wilkes Fixico

I am Phil Wilkes Fixico a Seminole Maroon Descendant who was featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s book and exhibit entitled “IndiVisible” African-Native American Lives. My personal and family’s genealogy was researched by Kevin Mulroy, Ph.D. of UCLA. Dr. Mulroy is recognized as the worlds’s leading authority on Seminole Maroons. I am pleased that Bruce Twyman, Ph.D. and author of “The Black Seminole Legacy and North American Politics’ has done a survey targeting the general public’s views about African- Native Americans and Dr. Henry Louis Gates DNA studies.

The problem that I have with Dr. Gates’ attempts to end the myth that there is a goodly some of African-Americans with Native American ancestry is that he bases his findings totally on DNA results. He then “quotes a quote” by advising African Americans to Seek the White Man as their correct blood ancestor…

Read the entire article here.

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Rhetoric, Identity and the Obama Racial Phenomenon: Exploring Obama’s Title as the “First Black President”

Posted in Barack Obama, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-07-31 02:11Z by Steven

Rhetoric, Identity and the Obama Racial Phenomenon: Exploring Obama’s Title as the “First Black President”

Wichita State University
May 2010
75 pages

Krystal Cole

A Thesis by Krystal Cole Bachelors of Communications, Southwestern College, 2008 Submitted to the Department of Communication and the faculty of the Graduate School of Wichita State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts

In 2008, a nearly 200 year U.S. historical precedent was overturned when Barack Obama was named the “first Black president.” Although Obama is of mixed heritage, he adopted an almost singularly Black identity and has long been characterized by the media as Black. This study is concerned with the role that society and Obama’s acceptance of the title play in identifying and portraying him as the “first Black president.” This study compares Barack Obama’s self-portrayal in his book, Dreams From my Father, to mainstream and Black media portrayals of his race. Results track Obama’s self portrayal as Black, mainstream media’s sensemaking of his classification as the “first Black president” and Black media’s unquestioned acceptance of the classification.


  • I. Introduction
  • II. Literature Review
    • a. Racial Classification in History
    • b. Racial Classification in Today’s Society
    • c. Racial Classification of the Self
    • d. Mass Media and Social Impact
  • III. Methodology
  • IV. Results
    • a. Research Sub-Question 1a
    • b. Research Sub-Question 1b
    • c. Research Sub-Question 1c
  • V. Discussion
    • a. Research Sub-Question 1a
    • b. Research Sub-Question 1b
    • c. Research Sub-Question 1c
  • VI. Future Research and Conclusion


Racial identity is not fixed or mutually exclusive, but rests on individualistic choices within structurally and culturally defined parameters (Rockquemore & Brunsma, 2008). The common theme in research studies is that the one-drop rule is a significant factor in socially classifying race (Korgen, 1998: Rockquemore & Brunsma, 2008). Obama has primarily adopted a Black identity due to his life experiences, cultural upbringing and the effects of the one-drop rule. Consistent with prior findings, the one-drop rule still proves to be a potent, active agency in determining race. The larger society still sees Biracial individuals as Black, thus, in order to assist in their survival/success, having a Black identity is seen as the only option (Rosenblatt, Karis, & Powell, 1995). It is clear that racial classification has been a complex), multi-layered process in U.S. history.

As prior research notes, the addition of the “check all that apply” option in 2000 for reporting race on the U.S. Census suggests that the notion of assigning Biracial children to the Black race, is considered outmoded (Brunsma, 2006). This is not the case when it comes to Barack Obama’s self-portrayal. Anecdotal evidence indicates that multiracial people still encounter mono-racial categorizations (Shih & Sanchez, 2005). As a result of his Ambivalent Identity, Obama’s lifelong struggle with his race has led him to choose a Singular Identity. He has chosen to claim his Black ancestry. Although it took centuries for multiracial people to finally have the opportunity to “check all that apply'” on the U.S. Census, Obama chose to disregard the option.

On April, 2, 2010 it was reported by Washington Post that Obama had officially announced that he is Black on the U.S. Census. “The White House confirmed on Friday that Obama did not check multiple boxes on his U.S. Census form, or choose the option that allows him to elaborate on his racial heritage. He ticked the box that says Black, African American, or Negro” (Smith, 2010). Thus, Obama has proudly marked history as the “first Black president.” This characterization disregards his White ancestry and could possibly counteract the mixed-race movement if his example encourages Biracial people to identify with their Black heritage. Ironically, his acceptance of the title as the “first Black president” could indicate that America will never enter a post-racial future if Biracial individuals continue to allow themselves to be placed in arbitrary categories. Unfortunately, Biracial individuals may never break away from being caught between the two ends of the dominant race continuum.

Read the entire thesis here.

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