Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority

Posted in Anthologies, Barack Obama, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-11 17:50Z by Steven

Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority

Policy Press
February 2012
256 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN-10: 1447301005; ISBN-13: 978-1447301004

Andrew J. Jolivétte, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies (Also see biographies at Speak Out! and Native Wiki.)
Center for Health Disparities Research and Training
San Fransisco State University

Since the election in 2008 of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States there have been a plethora of books, films, and articles about the role of race in the election of the first person of color to the White House. None of these works though delves into the intricacies of Mr. Obama’s biracial background and what it means, not only in terms of how the President was elected and is now governing, but what multiraciality may mean in the context of a changing U.S. demographic. Obama and the Biracial Factor is the first book to explore the significance of mixed-race identity as a key factor in the election of President Obama and examines the sociological and political relationship between race, power, and public policy in the United States with an emphasis on public discourse and ethnic representation in his election. Jolivette and his co-authors bring biracial identity and multiraciality to forefront of our understanding of racial projects since his election. Additionally, the authors assert the salience of mixed-race identity in U.S. policy and the on-going impact of the media and popular culture on the development, implementation, and interpretation of government policy and ethnic relations in the U.S. and globally. This timely work offers foundational analysis and theorization of key new concepts such as mixed-race hegemony and critical mixed race pedagogy and a nuanced exploration of the on-going significance of race in the contemporary political context of the United States with international examples of the impact on U.S. foreign relations and a shifting American electorate. Demographic issues are explained as they relate to gender, race, class, and religion. These new and innovative essays provide a template for re-thinking race in a ‘postcolonial’, decolonial, and ever increasing global context. In articulating new frameworks for thinking about race and multiraciality this work challenges readers to contemplate whether we should strive for a ‘post-racist’ rather than a ‘post-racial’ society. Obama and the Biracial Factor speaks to a wide array of academic disciplines ranging from political science and public policy to sociology and ethnic studies. Scholars, researchers, undergraduate and graduate students as well as community organizers and general audiences interested in issues of equity, social justice, cross-cultural coalitions and political reform will gain new insights into critical mixed race theory and social class in multiracial contexts and beyond.


  • Part I
    • Obama and the biracial factor: An introduction – Andrew Jolivette
    • Race, multiraciality, and the election of Barack Obama: Toward a more perfect union? – G. Reginald Daniel
    • “A Patchwork Heritage” Multiracial citation in Barack Obama’s Dreams from My FatherJustin Ponder
    • Racial revisionism, caste revisited: Whiteness, blackness and Barack Obama – Darryl G. Barthé, Jr.
  • Part II: Beyond black and white identity politics
  • Part III: The battle for a new American majority
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Assimilating to a White Identity: The Case of Arab Americans

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-11 03:46Z by Steven

Assimilating to a White Identity: The Case of Arab Americans

International Migration Review
Volume 41, Issue 4, December 2007
pages 860–879
DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2007.00103.x

Kristine J. Ajrouch
, Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Life Course Development Program
Institute for Social Research
University of Michigan

Amaney Jamal, Associate Professor of Politics
Princeton University

Racial identity is one of the primary means by which immigrants assimilate to the United States. Drawing from the tenets of segmented assimilation, this study examines how the ethnic traits of immigrant status, national origin, religious affiliation, and Arab Americaness contribute to the announcement of a white racial identity using a regionally representative sample of Arab Americans. Results illustrate that those who were Lebanese/Syrian or Christian, and those who felt that the term “Arab American” does not describe them, were more likely to identify as white. In addition, among those who affirmed that the pan-ethnic term “Arab American” does describe them, results illustrated that strongly held feelings about being Arab American and associated actions were also linked with a higher likelihood of identifying as white. Findings point to different patterns of assimilation among Arab Americans. Some segments of Arab Americans appear to report both strong ethnic and white identities, while others report a strong white identity, yet distance themselves from the pan-ethnic “Arab American” label.

Read or purchase the article here.

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New Geographic Categories Listings for MixedRaceStudies.org

Posted in Articles, My Articles/Point of View/Activities on 2012-03-11 02:51Z by Steven

New Geographic Categories Listings for MixedRaceStudies.org


Steven F. Riley

Over the next few days, I will be removing several frequently used geographic tags (indexed items) and converting them into categories (which are listed on the right-hand side).  The current tags (that will be placed under the parent tag United States) are: Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, and Texas. South Africa will be placed under Africa. The last tag, Mexico will be placed under Caribbean/Latin America.

Thanks again to Dr. G. Reginald Daniel for letting me flush out my ideas with him.

Métis identity matters

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy on 2012-03-11 01:42Z by Steven

Métis identity matters

Winnipeg Free Press


The question of Métis identity has befuddled Canadians, governments and the courts ever since Louis Riel occupied Upper Fort Garry in 1869 and established a provisional government. Just who were these troublemakers, who had their own language, customs and practices, and who now claimed territorial rights?

Well, they weren’t First Nations and they weren’t Europeans, and they weren’t merely “half-breeds,” but a relatively new nation born in the fur-trading culture of 18th-century North America.

That was probably good enough, as definitions go, until 1982 when the Canadian Constitution guaranteed legal rights to aboriginal peoples, including the Métis, but left it to the courts to sort out those rights. Obviously, if they had rights, whatever those rights were, it mattered who and what was a Métis…

Read the entire editorial here.


Exploring Prejudice, Miscegenation, and Slavery’s Consequences in Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2012-03-11 01:32Z by Steven

Exploring Prejudice, Miscegenation, and Slavery’s Consequences in Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson

The Kennesaw Journal of Undergraduate Research
Volume 1, Issue 1, Article 3 (2011)
5 pages

Steven Watson
Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia

This research paper analyzes Mark Twain’s use of racist speech and racial stereotypes in his novel Pudd’nhead Wilson. Twain has often been criticized for his seemingly inflammatory language. However, a close reading of the text, supplemented by research in several anthologies of critical essays, reveals that Twain was actually interested in social justice. This is evident in his portrayal of Roxana as a sympathetic character who is victimized by white racist society in Dawson’s Landing, Mississippi during the time of slavery. In the final analysis, Twain’s writing was a product of the time period during which he wrote. This knowledge helps students understand the reasons behind Twain’s word choices, characterization, and portrayal of race.

In his novel Puddn’head Wilson, Mark Twain uses racist speech and ideology to examine slavery’s consequences and make a plea for the elevation of the black race. Roxana, the true protagonist and an obviously sympathetic character, appears to be a white supremacist. This is a logical contradiction. It is one of many contradictions that lend the book its complexity and make it challenging to interpret. Roxana has a dual nature in more ways than one. She is smart yet always loses. She is committed to her own survival while being filled with self-loathing. She is free and relishes her freedom, yet can be bought and sold at any time.

The basic plot of Pudd’nhead Wilson involves Roxana, a house slave of Percy Driscoll living in Dawson’s Landing, Missouri. She gives birth to a child on the same day that Driscoll’s wife does. Fearing her child will be sold down the river, Roxana switches the two babies in their cribs so that her son will be raised as Driscoll’s son and heir. She is able to do this because both she and her son are of mixed race and can pass for white (Twain 15). When the children become adults, one is accused of murder. Only the title character, a disgraced young lawyer, is able to sort out the identities and identify the murderer…

Read the entire article here.

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Race and American Indian Tribal Nationhood

Posted in History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Papers/Presentations, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-03-11 00:07Z by Steven

Race and American Indian Tribal Nationhood

February 2009
44 pages

Matthew L. M. Fletcher, Professor of Law & Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center
Michigan State University

Forthcoming in a 2011 University of Wyoming Law Review issue.

American Indian tribes and nations are at a crossroads. One on hand, many tribes like the Cherokee Nation—mired in the politics and law of disenfranchising the Cherokee Freedmen—continue to hold to a citizenry based in race and ancestry. Federal Indian law tends to protect, and encourage, even the worst abuses of this regime. The United States long has adopted Indian blood quantum as a proxy for tribal citizenship, creating unfortunate paradoxes for Indian tribes and their citizens. For example, the Supreme Court just a few days ago in Carcieri v. Salazar held against an Indian tribe in Rhode Island on an important land case, perhaps, because the tribe’s citizens did not have significant blood quantum collectively.

But in most other cases, the Court is skeptical of tribal government authority because tribal citizenship is based at least in part on race. This means for the Court, especially Justice Kennedy, that non-Indians by blood or ancestry can never be citizens of an Indian tribes. And the Court worries that a tribal government seeking to assert jurisdiction over these persons somehow violates the social contract.

I argue, perhaps for the first time, that Indian tribes must move beyond race and ancestry as the single most important means of determining tribal citizenship. It will not be easy for Indian tribes to move beyond race and ancestry, but it is necessary if Indian nations wish to move beyond their status as an afterthought in the American constitutional structure and develop into more complete sovereign nations. I suggest several ways for Indian tribes to alter their citizenship criteria and recommend an incremental solution based on immigration law and policy.

Read the entire paper here.

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