Does It Matter If Black + White Equals Black or Multiracial?

Does It Matter If Black + White Equals Black or Multiracial?

Northwestern University News
Evanston, Illinois

Pat Vaughan Tremmel, Associate Director and Social Sciences Editor

According to a new Northwestern study, racial characterizations do matter.

EVANSTON, Ill. — “Is Barack Obama Black or Biracial?” a recent headline asks.

The question of whether Obama should be considered black or multiracial has been a concern of the media throughout the campaign.

Should such racial characterizations of people like Obama — who have one black parent and one white parent — really matter?

According to a new Northwestern University study, they do matter.

The findings suggest that the immediate response of non-black study participants is to categorize a racially ambiguous person as black when it was known that one of the person’s parents was black and one was white.

In other words, when study participants knew of the person’s black-white ancestry, in comparison to not knowing of the parentage, they quickly adhered to the simplistic characterization of biracial people as black, said Northwestern’s Destiny Peery

Read the entire article here.

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