Multiracial Identity and Intersectionality: New Ways of Understanding Racial Identity in Ourselves and Our Students

Multiracial Identity and Intersectionality: New Ways of Understanding Racial Identity in Ourselves and Our Students

National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) 26th Annual National Conference
New Orleans, Louisiana
2013-05-28 through 2013-06-01

2013-05-30, 13:30-15:30 CST (Local Time)

Meg Chang, Faculty
California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California

Charmaine L. Wijeyesinghe, Consultant, Organizational Development and Social Justice Education
Delmar, New York

This highly interactive session uses new models of Multiracial Identity and the framework of Intersectionality to enhance our understanding of how race and identity are experienced by individuals. It presents an overview of shared, core characteristics found in the literature on Multiracial identity and Intersectionality. In addition, we examine models that represent identity as fluid, influenced by multiple factors, and a process in which race, gender, sexual orientation, class, generation, and other social identities interact and influence each other. Using a range of approaches, we apply the material to our own experience and examine the impact of other social identities (such as gender, age, and sexual orientation) and our campus roles (faculty, counselor, student affairs staff, or student) on how we experience and enact our racial identity on campus. While highlighting the connection between self authorship and racial identity, this session positions racial identity development within larger social and institutional systems, and dynamics of social power and privilege Through discussion, dialogue, and creative arts activities, presenters and participants explore ways of honoring our multiple racial heritages and our range of racial identities. In addition, we examine how racial identity is framed in our research, teaching, and work with Multiracial and other students. While discussion is directed by the topics raised by participants, questions we explore may include: How do we address situations where an individual’s chosen racial identity is inconsistent with the race ascribed to him or her by other people (often based on appearance)? Is it necessary to include attention to multiple social identities when we teach or conduct research on Multiracial issues? Do we need to recreate models of racial identity based on a more holistic and intersectional approach, and if so, what do we do with the old models? How do campuses acknowledge and provide for Multiracial students, and how may these programs be improved by incorporating the themes of self authorship and intersectionality?

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