Jared Sexton, Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism [Comer Review]

Jared Sexton, Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism [Comer Review]

Black Diaspora Review
Volume 3, Number 1 (2012)
pages 52-53

Nandi Comer
Indiana University, Bloomington

Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism. By Jared Sexton. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. 345 pp.

“It’s proud to be able to say that… The first black president… That’s unless you screw up. And then it’s going to be what’s up with the half white guy?”
—Wanda Sykes, 2009 White House Correspondents Dinner

Shortly after the 2008 presidential election, Wanda Sykes stood in front of a banquet hall of the most prominent journalists in the United States and celebrated Barack Obama for being the “first black president.” During her comments she also acknowledged his biracial identity, but her emphasis on his Black identity represented the frame of mind of millions of Americans who acknowledge Obama as the first Black president. Still, Sykes’s remarks about Obama’s racial identity indicates the choice people of mixed race have—to accept traditional notions about race and hypodescent, which determines anyone with African blood Black, or to claim a multiracial identity. Although this choice is a personal one, since the 1980s multiracial communities have mobilized to construct a politicized identity in the pursuit of racial equality.

In Amalgamation Schemes, author Jared Sexton examines the political history and current discourse of multiracialism in order to uncover the negative ramifications of its political agenda. Through his critical analysis, Sexton argues that in its attempt to gain political recognition as a progressive movement committed to racial equality and the elimination of sexual racism, multiracialism has positioned itself in opposition to notions of hypodescent and antimiscegenation, while simultaneously adapting a morally conservative identity. For Sexton the multiracial political agenda are dangerous breeding grounds for antiblackness, heteronormativity, desexualization of race, and deracialization of sex. In other words, Jared Sexton argues that multiracialism is a mechanism for further reinforcement of “global white supremacy”.

In his work Sexton’s primary aim is to “address the problematic of multiracial discourse” (154). What was originally a movement dedicated to furthering the goals of the Civil Right Movement, seeking acknowledgement and representation in the census, Sexton argues, was actually a misinterpretation of the original policy meant to “track the progress towards racial equality.” Ironically, Sexton argues, the very Black civil rights leaders from whom multiracialism draws are the same individuals from whom multiracialism seeks to distance itself…

Read the entire review here.

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