Black-White Marital Matching: Race, Anthropometrics, and Socioeconomics

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-25 23:32Z by Steven

Black-White Marital Matching: Race, Anthropometrics, and Socioeconomics

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Bonn, Germany
Discussion Paper No. 6196
December 2011
34 pages

Pierre-André Chiappori, E. Rowan and Barbara Steinschneider Professor of Economics
Columbia University

Sonia Oreffice, Assistant Professor of Economics
Universitat d’Alacant and IZA

Climent Quintana-Domeque, Assistant Professor of Economics
Universitat d’Alacant and IZA

We analyze the interaction of race with physical and socioeconomic characteristics in the U.S. marriage market, using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1999 to 2009 for black, white, and inter-racial couples. We consider the anthropometric characteristics of both spouses, together with their wage and education, and estimate who inter-racially marries whom along these dimensions. Distinctive patterns arise by gender and race for inter-married individuals: the black women who inter-marry are the thinner and more educated in their group; instead, white women are the fatter and less educated; black or white men who inter-marry are poorer and thinner. While women in “mixed” couples find a spouse who is poorer but thinner than if they intra-married, black men match with a white woman who is more educated than if they intra-married, and a white man finds a thinner spouse in a black woman.

Read the entire paper here.

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Allegedly the confrontation with African American literature and history led those present to call themselves “Afro-German” and to record “their-story.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes, Women on 2012-03-25 22:55Z by Steven

To discuss the perspective of race in contemporary German literature, it is worthwhile to focus on those writers associated with the programmatic efforts of the Afro-Germans, a heterogeneous, biracial group of individuals usually of German and African or African American heritage and born since 1945. In 1984 the late feminist author and scholar Audre Lorde presented a lecture and workshop in Berlin that apparently struck a resonant chord among the biracial women present. Lorde’s topic was African American and feminist literature. Allegedly the confrontation with African American literature and history led those present to call themselves “Afro-German” and to record “their-story.” The result has been organizational and publishing initiatives as well as a series of texts that include such disparate genres as lyric, film, essay, and rap. Perhaps the most interesting aspect in the evolution of Afro-German literature is the reception of the African American experience.

Leroy T. Hopkins, “Speak, So I Might See You! Afro-German Literature,” World Literature Today,Volume 69, Number 3, Multiculturalism in Contemporary German Literature (Summer, 1995): 533-538.

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Sui Sin Far deconstructs Orientalism by dramatizing the destructive ways in which North American culture defines the Chinese as inhuman “Other” in order to prevent interracial understanding and maintain profitable power structures.

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Excerpts/Quotes on 2012-03-25 22:19Z by Steven

A focus on Sui Sin Far’s depiction of Eurasian characters and on the subject of interracial marriage illustrates her multifaceted understanding of the crisis in US race relations. Through the treatment of these subjects, she enacts a revolutionary revisioning of race differences. The stories found in Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings, including “Pat and Pan,” “Its Wavering Image,” along with excerpts from “The Story of One White Woman who Married a Chinese,” “Her Loving Husband,” and Sui Sin Far’s autobiographical essay, “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian,” exemplify the artistic and psychological complexity of Sui Sin Far’s treatment of the biracial character and of interracial marriage. In particular, by addressing these themes, Sui Sin Far deconstructs Orientalism by dramatizing the destructive ways in which North American culture defines the Chinese as inhuman “Other” in order to prevent interracial understanding and maintain profitable power structures. Sui Sin Far’s fiction and essays illustrate the lengths to which members of the dominant culture will go to preserve a notion of racial purity based on hatred and ignorance, and she explores the terrible effects that racism has on its victims.

Vanessa Holford Diana, “Biracial/Bicultural Identity in the Writings of Sui Sin Far,” MELUS, Volume 26, Number 2 (Summer 2001): 160-161.

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The revisionist celebration of a mixed-race identity negates and eclipses a long history of white men crossing the color line to engage in sex with Black women, usually without their consent…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes, Judaism on 2012-03-25 21:43Z by Steven

The revisionist celebration of a mixed-race identity negates and eclipses a long history of white men crossing the color line to engage in sex with Black women, usually without their consent.  It has rendered invisible violations of Black women while critiquing the strategic efficacy of privileging Black political identities. Although questions of appearance, performance and class require a separate analysis of diverse and divisive perceptions and conceptions of Blackness, the campaign for a multiracial category obscures the fact that Black/African-Americans is already a multiracial category. Legal scholar Patricia Williams skillfully encapsulates this sentiment when she writes, “what troubles me is the degree to which few people in the world, and most particularly in the United States, are anything but multiracial, to say nothing of biracial.  The use of the term seems to privilege to offspring of mixed marriages as those ‘between’ races without doing much to enhance to social status of all of us mixed-up products of illegitimacies of the not so distance past.”

Katya Gibel Azoulay [Katya Gibel Mevorach], “Jewish After Mount Sinai: Jews, Blacks and the (Multi) racial Category,” Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, Volume 9, Number 1 (Summer 2001): 31-45.

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A Longitudinal Study of Migration Propensities for Mixed Ethnic Unions in England and Wales

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-03-25 20:35Z by Steven

A Longitudinal Study of Migration Propensities for Mixed Ethnic Unions in England and Wales

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Bonn, Germany
Discussion Paper No. 6394
February 2012
21 pages

Zhiqiang Feng, Research Fellow
University of St. Andrews

Maarten van Ham, Professor of Urban Renewal
Delft University of Technology and IZA

Paul Boyle, Professor of Geography and Sustainable Development
University of St. Andrews

Gillian M. Raab, Research Fellow
University of St. Andrews

Most studies investigating residential segregation of ethnic minorities ignore the fact that the majority of adults live in couples. In recent years there has been a growth in the number of mixed ethnic unions that involve a minority member and a white member. To our knowledge, hardly any research has been undertaken to explicitly examine whether the ethnic mix within households has an impact on the residential choices of households in terms of the ethnic mix of destination neighbourhoods. Our study addresses this research gap and examines the tendencies of migration among mixed ethnic unions in comparison with their co-ethnic peers. We used data from the Longitudinal Study for England and Wales. Our statistical analysis supports the spatial assimilation theory: ethnic minorities move towards less deprived areas and to a lesser extent also towards less ethnically concentrated areas. However, the types of destination neighbourhood of minority people living in mixed ethnic unions varied greatly with the ethnicity of the ethnic minority partner.


Residential integration is regarded as a measure of structural assimilation of ethnic minority populations and has drawn long-standing interest from academic studies (Park and Burgess 1969; Lieberson 1963; Massey 1985; Allen and Turner 1996). Residential integration is not only an indicator of the degree of ethnic assimilation, but also further enhances social and cultural integration. Conversely, ethnic segregation is deemed to hinder social interaction with majority populations, and to marginalise ethnic minority populations. Hence the British government has increasingly promoted community cohesion and residential integration.

While a body of research has examined aggregate levels of residential segregation of ethnic minority groups and the cross-sectional residential locations of ethnic minority populations at the individual level, few studies have examined the determinants of the actual residential migration of ethnic minorities in relation to characteristics of neighbourhoods of origin and destination (Finney and Simpson 2008). Little is known about how ethnic minority people move between neighbourhoods with different levels of concentration of their own groups and with different levels of deprivation. Most existing studies of ethnic segregation ignore the fact that the majority of adults live in couples. In recent years there has been a growth in the number of mixed ethnic families that involve a minority member and a white member (Feng et al, 2010). However, to our knowledge, almost no research has been undertaken to explicitly examine whether the ethnic mix within households has an impact on tendencies of residential migration between different types of neighbourhood. In the US, a few studies which examined the residential locations (but not mobility) of ethnic populations, have taken the ethnic mix within households into account. Ellis et al. (2006) used cross-sectional data in the US and came to the conclusion that mixed-ethnic households are less likely to live in minority ethnic neighbourhoods. White and Sassler (2000) also used US census data and found that Latinos and blacks who married a white spouse were more likely to reside in higher status neighbourhoods, while in contrast the marriage of a white person to a non-white person seemed to result in them residing in a lower-status neighbourhood than they might otherwise have done. Although Ellis et al (2006) argued that their results are more likely due to mixed-ethnic couples choosing to live in mixed-ethnic neighbourhoods, rather than mixed neighbourhoods ‘creating’ these couples, it is difficult with cross-sectional data to come to any firm conclusion about this. The same is true for the study by White and Sassler (2000) due to the use of cross-sectional data. In their review of geographies of mixed ethnic unions, Wright et al (2003) called for further research on migration of mixed ethnic unions in a longitudinal perspective.

With this study we fill this gap, and use longitudinal data from the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study (ONS LS), to explore whether minority people in mixed ethnic unions were more likely to move to areas which are less concentrated in their own group than ethnic minorities living in mono ethnic unions. In our analyses we also take the level of deprivation of neighbourhoods into account…

…In the past decades Britain has witnessed a growing ethnic diversity in populations. In England, for example, the percentage of ethnic minorities has risen from 4.6 % to 8.6 % between 1981 and 2001 (Rees and Butt 2004). It is estimated that nearly a million people report themselves as having a mixed-ethnic identity in Britain today (CRE 2006). Along with the trend in diversity the number of marriages and partnerships between people of different ethnic groups is also on the rise (Aspinal 2003; Coleman 1985; 2004; Voas 2009; Song 2010). The one per cent census sample from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Longitudinal Study (LS) reveals that the total number of mixed ethnic unions reached 5,139 in 2001 in England and Wales, a 46 Per cent increase from 1991 (Feng et al. 2010)…

…The ONS LS was a unique and very rich dataset. However, we acknowledge that the data has some limitations. We did not have information on migration between two censuses. Some couples might move more than once between 1991 and 2001. The British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) is a panel dataset which provides annual information for sample couples. However, the number of mixed ethnic unions in the BHPS is too few for a meaningful statistical analysis. The other limitation is the self reported ethnicity can change over time. It is not a big problem for South Asians as they reported their ethnic identity very consistently over time. But the consistency was not high for Black Others who were part of the Black group in our analysis (Platt et al 2005). Therefore our results here should be treated with caution…

Read the entire paper here.

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Conjure Tales and Stories of the Color Line: Collected Stories

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2012-03-25 19:24Z by Steven

Conjure Tales and Stories of the Color Line: Collected Stories

Penguin Classics
June 2000
304 pages
5.23 x 7.59in
Paperback ISBN: 9780141185026

Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932)

Edited by:

William L. Andrews, E. Maynard Adams Professor of English
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Unlike the popular “Uncle Remus” stories of Joel Chandler Harris, Charles W. Chesnutt’s tales probe psychological depths in black people unheard of before in Southern regional writing. They also expose the anguish of mixed-race men and women and the consequences of racial hatred, mob violence, and moral compromise.

This important collection contains all the stories in his two published volumes, The Conjure Woman and The Wife of His Youth, along with two uncollected works: the tragic “Dave’s Neckliss” and “Baxter’s Procustes,” Chesnutt’s parting shot at prejudice.

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Why race still matters

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-03-25 18:41Z by Steven

Why race still matters

Volume 134, Number 1 (Winter 2005)
Pages 102-116
DOI: 10.1162/0011526053124460

Ian Hacking, Professor of Philosphy
University of Toronto

Why has race mattered in so many times and places? Why does it still matter? Put more precisely, why has there been such a pervasive tendency to apply the category of race and to regard people of different races as essentially different kinds of people? Call this the ‘first question.’ Of course there are many more questions that one must also ask: Why has racial oppression been so ubiquitous? Why racial exploitation? Why racial slavery? Perhaps we lend to think of races as essentially different just because we want to excuse or to justify’ the domination of one race by another.

I shall proceed with the first question by canvassing live possible answers to it that variously invoke nature, genealogy (in the sense of Michel Foucault), cognitive science, empire, and pollution rules.

One final preliminary remark is in order. Most parts of this essay could have been written last year or next year, but the discussion of naturalism, medicine, and race could only have been written in November of 2004. and may well be out of date by the time this piece is printed.

Why has the category of race been so pervasive? One answer says that the distinction is just there, in the world for all to see. Superficial differences between races do exist in nature, and these are readily recognized.

The naturalist agrees at once that the distinctions are less in the nature of things than they once were, thanks to interbreeding among people whose ancestors have come from geographically distinct blocks. Racial distinctions are particularly blurred where one population has been translated by force to live in the midst of another population and yet has not been assimilated—slaves taken from West Africa and planted in the Southern United States, for example. The naturalist notes that traditional racial distinctions are less and less viable the more children are born to parents whose geographical origins are very different.

Sensible naturalists stop there. The belief that racial differences are anything more than superficial is a repugnant. John Stuart Mill was the wisest spokesman for this position…

…In the United States, the National Bone Marrow Program maintains the master registry. Most people in existing registries have tended to be middle-aged and white, which means that whites have a good chance of finding a match. Hence there have been racially targeted programs for Asian and African Americans. In the United States and Canada there is also the Aboriginal Bone Marrow Registries Association, and in the United Kingdom there is the African Caribbean Leukemia Trust. Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches has been very successful, especially in the Los Angeles region. The African Americans Uniting for Life campaign has been less successful, for all sorts of historical reasons. An African American with leukemia has a far worse chance of finding a match in time than members of other populations have. That is a social fact, but there is also a biological fact: there is far greater heterogeneity in the human leukemia antigen in persons of African origins than in other populations. (This fact fits well with the hypothesis that all races are descendants of only one of many African populations that existed at the time that human emigration began out of Africa—populations whose characteristics have continued to be distributed among Africans today.)

If you go to the websites for the organizations that maintain the registries, you will see they do not shilly-shally in some dance of euphemistic political correctness about race. For them it is a matter of life and death. Without the Asian registries there would have been many more dead Asian Americans in the past decade. For lack of more African Americans on the registries there will be more dead African Americans in the next few years than there need be…

…How much more powerful pollution and the imperial imperative become when history puts them together! Pollution rules are important for maintaining the imperial group intact. As soon as pollution rules break down, men of the master group sire children with women from subjugated groups, and a new kind of person–the half-breed–emerges. The etymology of words such as ‘Eurasian’ embodies this phenomenon. We learn from the trusty 1911 Encyclopaedia that ‘Eurasian’ was “originally used to denote children born to Hindu mothers and European (especially Portuguese) fathers.” There are pecking orders between conquerors, as well as among the conquered–and this British word was a put-down meant to keep the Portuguese in Goa in their place. Note also the dominance order between the sexes: a Hindu father and a European woman would yield, at least in the official reckoning, a Hindu, not a Eurasian.

The French noun métis, derived from a Portuguese word originally used for Eurasians, dates back to 1615. In French Canada it signified the children of white fathers and native mothers. Early in the nineteenth century it was adopted in English to denote the offspring of French Canadian men, originally trapper/traders, and native women. In other words, ‘Eurasian’ and métis alike meant the children of males from conquering groups of lower status and females from the totally subjugated groups–and then the offspring of any of those children.

For a few generations, one can be precise in measuring degrees of pollution. At that the Spanish and Portuguese Empires excelled. First came ‘mulattoes,’ the children of Spanish or Portuguese men and South American Indian women. With the importation of black slaves from West Africa, the label was transferred to the children of white masters and black slaves, and then to mixed race in general. The OED [Oxford English Dictionary] says it all: the English word is derived from Portuguese and Spanish, “mulato, young mule, hence one of mixed race.”

The Spanish cuarteron became the English ‘quadroon,’ the child of a white person and a mulatto. The few quotations given in the OED are a record of colonial history. Here is the first, dated 1707: “The inhabitants of Jamaica are for the most part Europeans … who are the Masters, and Indians, Negroes, Mulatos, Alcatrazes, Mestises, Quarterons, & c. who are the slaves.” The next quotation in the list is from Thomas Jefferson.

And so on: from Spanish the English language acquired ‘quintroon,’ meaning one who is one-sixteenth of Negro descent. The 1797 Encyclopaedia Britannica has it that “The children of a white and a quintroon consider themselves free of all taint of the negro race.” More importantly, from an 1835 OED citation, “‘The child of a Quintroon by a white father is free by law.’ Such was recently the West-Indian slave code.” Better to have a white father than a white mother.

In real life, interbreeding was endemic, so such classifications were bound to become haphazard. Only one option was left. The American solution was definitive. One drop of Negro blood sufficed to make one Negro. Which in turn implied that many Americans could make a cultural choice to be black or not, a choice turned into literature in Toni Morrison’s Jazz and, more recently, in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. The one drop of blood rule perfectly harmonizes the imperial imperative and the preservation of group identity by pollution prohibitions.

Why is there such a widespread tendency to regard people of different races as essentially different kinds of people? That was our first question…

Read the entire article here.

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Black people ‘least satisfied of UK population’

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, New Media, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-03-25 18:06Z by Steven

Black people ‘least satisfied of UK population’

BBC News


Black and mixed-ethnic Britons are less satisfied with their lives on average than the UK population as a whole, a survey suggests.

Some 80,000 people across the UK, polled by the Office for National Statistics, produced an average life satisfaction rating of 7.4 out of 10.

But black Britons averaged 6.6, while mixed-ethnic Britons scored 6.9.

The survey, in April to September 2011, was part of the ONS’s ongoing Measuring National Well-being Programme.

The average rating for life satisfaction was also lower than the national figure for those of Pakistani origin – 7 out of 10 – and Bangladeshis – 7.1.

The four questions posed by the survey also included one seeking ratings for people’s overall happiness, with answers nationwide producing an average of 7.3 out of 10.

Again, black Britons reported the lowest level of happiness – 6.9 on average – followed by mixed-ethnic and Pakistani respondents, with both of those groups averaging 7 out of 10…

Read the entire article here.


Of Matters Very Much Related: Trayvon Martin, “Multiracial” Identity, and the Perils of Being Black, Breathing, and Nearby

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-25 07:24Z by Steven

Of Matters Very Much Related: Trayvon Martin, “Multiracial” Identity, and the Perils of Being Black, Breathing, and Nearby

We Are Respectable Negroes

Chauncey DeVega

Scholars have long maintained that race is merely a social construct, not something fixed into our nature, yet this insight hasn’t made it any less of a factor in our lives. If we no longer participate in a society in which the presence of black blood renders a person black, then racial self-identification becomes a matter of individual will.

And where the will is involved, the question of ethics arises. At a moment when prominent, upwardly mobile African-Americans are experimenting with terms like “post-black,” and outwardly mobile ones peel off at the margins and disappear into the multiracial ether, what happens to that core of black people who cannot or do not want to do either?

Trayvon Martin was killed for the crime of being black, young, and “suspicious.” Like many other young black boys and grown men throughout United States history, he was shot dead for the crime of possessing an innocuous object (and likely daring to be insufficiently compliant to someone who imagined that they had the State’s permission to kill people of color without consequence or condemnation).

The facts are still playing themselves out. From all appearances, the police have failed to investigate the incident properly. Trayvon Martin’s family has been denied the reasonable care, respect, and response due to them by the local authorities. Observers and activists have gravitated towards racism as the prime motive for the shooting and murder of a young black boy by a grown man and self-styled mall cop, Charles Bronson, Dirty Harry wannabe vigilante.

Common sense renders a clear judgement here: if a black man shot and killed a white kid for holding a bag of Skittles he would already be under the jail; in this instance, the police are operating from a position where a young African American is presumed “guilty,” and his murderer is assumed innocent.

Yes, race matters in the killing of Trayvon Martin. However, and I will explore this in a later post, it is significant in a manner that is much more pernicious than the simple calculus of whether to shoot a young black boy for some imagined grievance or offense—as opposed to being asked a question, or perhaps sternly talked to. The latter is also problematic: it assumes that black people’s citizenship and humanity are forever questionable, and subject to evaluation, by any person who happens to not be African American…

The sociological imagination draws many connections. To point, Trayvon Martin’s murder is also a surprising (and for many, counter-intuitive) complement to The New York Times’ excellent series of essays on race, interracial marriage, and identity.

As someone who has loved across the colorline, and also believes that there are many ways to create a family, I have always held fast to a simple rule.

In this society, in this moment, and given what we know about how race impacts life chances, if a white person is going to have a child with a person of color (especially one who is African American or “black”), a parent is committing malpractice if they do not give their progeny the spiritual, emotional, philosophical, and personal armor to deal with the realities of white supremacy.

By implication, young black and brown children must be made to understand that they are not “special,” “biracial,” or part of a racial buffer group that is going to be given “special” privileges because one of their parents is white. These “multiracial” children are some of the most vulnerable and tragic when they are finally forced to confront the particular challenges which come with being a young black boy or girl in American society. In post civil rights America, this notion is politically incorrect. Nonetheless, it remains true.

Here, Thomas Chatterton Williams offers a great comment on blackness and the dilemma of “post-black” identity:

Still, as I envision rearing my own kids with my blond-haired, blue-eyed wife, I’m afraid that when my future children — who may very well look white — contemplate themselves in the mirror, this same society, for the first time in its history, will encourage them not to recognize their grandfather’s face. For this fear and many others, science and sociology are powerless to console me — nor can they delineate a clear line in the sand beyond which identifying as black becomes absurd.

Question: what happens for those young people who do not see themselves as “black” or “brown,” yet run into the deadly fists of white racism? Do they have the skill sets necessary to survive such encounters whole of life and limb?…

Read the entire essay here.

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A troubled experiment’s forgotten lesson in racial integration

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-25 06:57Z by Steven

A troubled experiment’s forgotten lesson in racial integration

Point Reyes Light
Point Reyes Station, California

Carina Ray, Associate Professor of African and Afro- American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

The year 2012 marks the fortieth anniversary of my Puerto Rican mother and Irish-Italian father’s unusual wedding. They met and married in an experimental community called Synanon, where I was born. Readers might remember Synanon as the founding model of the therapeutic community, but they are more likely to recall its tragic retreat into a cultish enclave near Tomales Bay. What few people know, however, is that Synanon committed itself to a program of racial integration throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. While it belongs to a bygone era of social experimentation, its deliberate effort to foster a racially inclusive society was an experiment worth remembering.

Chuck Dederich, a charismatic recovered alcoholic, started Synanon in southern California in 1958 to lift drug users out of addiction and despair. Not long after, Dederich began to envision its mission more broadly. Synanon, he proclaimed, would promote “a lifestyle that makes possible the kind of communication between people that must exist if we are to prevent this planet from turning into uninhabitable ghettos.” In the 60’s and early 70’s it grew rapidly in size and prominence.

Synanon members, who came from every racial, religious and class background imaginable, lived and worked side by side. They also came together in “the game,” a form of no-holds-barred group encounter therapy that was the focal point of Synanon’s rehabilitation regime. At once intimate and confrontational, the game allowed people from all walks of life, and especially whites and blacks, to encounter each other in ways that would have been unimaginable elsewhere…

…As a result, I grew up surrounded by white, black and multi-racial kids. Because everything from toys and clothes to showers and mealtimes were shared, a sense of equality structured my relationships with my peers. Even as a child I was aware that many things weren’t ideal about Synanon and its ever-changing philosophies and dictums, but my early years in a multi-racial community, where mixed marriages and multi-racial identities were normalized, have shaped me for the better in ways I will probably never fully understand…

Read the entire article here.

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