Are you racially fluid?

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2018-03-03 02:33Z by Steven

Are you racially fluid?

Cable News Network (CNN)
2018-03-02

Story by John Blake, CNN
Video by Tawanda Scott Sambou, CNN

The blurring of racial lines won’t save America. Why ‘racial fluidity’ is a con

(CNN) He was a snappy dresser with slicked back hair and a pencil mustache. A crack bandleader, musician and legendary talent scout, he was dubbed the “Godfather of R&B.”

But Johnny Otis’ greatest performance was an audacious act of defiance he orchestrated offstage.

Most people who saw Otis perform during his heyday in the 1950s thought he was a light-skinned black man. He used “we” when talking about black people, married his black high school sweetheart and stayed in substandard “for colored only” hotels with his black bandmates when they toured the South.

Johnny Otis, though, wasn’t his real name. He was born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes to Greek immigrants in Northern California. He grew up in a black neighborhood where he developed such a kinship with black culture that he walked away from his whiteness and became black by choice.

“As a kid I decided that if our society dictated that one had to be black or white, I would be black,” he wrote in his 1968 book, “Listen to the Lambs.”

“No number of objections such as ‘You were born white … you can never be black’ on the part of the whites, or ‘You sure are a fool to be colored when you could be white’ from Negroes, can alter the fact that I cannot think of myself as white.

“I do not expect everybody to understand it, but it is a fact. I am black environmentally, psychologically, culturally, emotionally, and intellectually.”…

…What if racial fluidity leads not to less racism, but to more?

That’s the warning being issued by many who study racial fluidity — including some who are racially fluid themselves. They say people are naïve if they believe expanding the menu of racial choices will lead to more tolerance; that racism is deeper and more adaptable than people realize.

A brown-skinned man with a white mother can gush all he wants about his DNA mix, but that won’t stop him from being racially profiled, says Rainier Spencer, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who has written extensively about mixed-race identity, including his own.

“If I stand on a corner holding a sign saying, ‘I’m racially fluid,'” says Spencer, “that still doesn’t mean I’m going to get a cab.”…

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The Race of a Criminal Record: How Incarceration Colors Racial Perception

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-04-04 01:32Z by Steven

The Race of a Criminal Record: How Incarceration Colors Racial Perception

Social Problems
Volume 57, Issue 1 (February 2010)
pages 92-113
DOI: 10.1525/sp.2010.57.1.92

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Andrew M. Penner, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

In the United States, racial disparities in incarceration and their consequences are widely discussed and debated. Previous research suggests that perceptions of crime and the operations of the criminal justice system play an important role in shaping how Americans think about race. This study extends the conversation by exploring whether being incarcerated affects how individuals perceive their own race as well as how they are perceived by others, using unique longitudinal data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Results show that respondents who have been incarcerated are more likely to identify and be seen as black, and less likely to identify and be seen as white, regardless of how they were perceived or identified previously. This suggests that race is not a fixed characteristic of individuals but is flexible and continually negotiated in everyday interactions.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Criminal Justice System and the Racialization of Perceptions

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-10-12 00:01Z by Steven

The Criminal Justice System and the Racialization of Perceptions

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume 651, Number 1 (January 2014)
pages 104-121
DOI: 10.1177/0002716213503097

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Andrew M. Penner, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Jessica M. Kizer
Department of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Recent research on how contact with the criminal justice system shapes racial perceptions in the United States has shown that incarceration increases the likelihood that people are racially classified by others as black, and decreases the likelihood that they are classified as white. We extend this work, using longitudinal data with information on whether respondents have been arrested, convicted, or incarcerated, and details about their most recent arrest. This allows us to ask whether any contact with the criminal justice system triggers racialization, or only certain types of contact. Additional racial categories allow us to explore the racialization of crime beyond the black-white divide. Results indicate even one arrest significantly increases the odds of subsequently being classified as black, and decreases the odds of being classified as white or Asian. This implies a broader impact of increased policing and mass incarceration on racialization and stereotyping, with consequences for social interactions, political attitudes, and research on inequality.

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Disentangling the Effects of Racial Self-identification and Classification by Others: The Case of Arrest

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-10-11 20:45Z by Steven

Disentangling the Effects of Racial Self-identification and Classification by Others: The Case of Arrest

Demography
June 2015, Volume 52, Issue 3
pages 1017-1024
DOI: 10.1007/s13524-015-0394-1

Andrew M. Penner, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Scholars of race have stressed the importance of thinking about race as a multidimensional construct, yet research on racial inequality does not routinely take this multidimensionality into account. We draw on data from the U.S.Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to disentangle the effects of self-identifying as black and being classified by others as black on subsequently being arrested. Results reveal that the odds of arrest are nearly three times higher for people who were classified by others as black, even if they did not identify themselves as black. By contrast, we find no effect of self-identifying as black among people who were not seen by others as black. These results suggest that racial perceptions play an important role in racial disparities in arrest rates and provide a useful analytical approach for disentangling the effects of race on other outcomes.

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Race, color, and income inequality across the Americas

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Economics, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science, United States on 2015-10-11 20:32Z by Steven

Race, color, and income inequality across the Americas

Demographic Research
Volume 31
Article 24 (2014-09-19)
pages 735-756
DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.24

Stanley Bailey, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Andrew Penner, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Background: Racial inequality in the U.S. is typically described in terms of stark categorical difference, as compared to the more gradational stratification based on skin color often said to prevail in parts of Latin America. However, nationally representative data with both types of measures have not been available to explicitly test this contrast.

Objective: We use novel, recently released data from the U.S. and 18 Latin American countries to describe household income inequality across the region by perceived skin color and racial self-identification, and examine which measure better captures racial disparities in each national context.

Results: We document color and racial hierarchies across the Americas, revealing some unexpected patterns. White advantage and indigenous disadvantage are fairly consistent features, whereas blacks at times have higher mean incomes than other racial populations. Income inequality can best be understood in some countries using racial categories alone, in others using skin color; in a few countries, including the U.S., a combination of skin color and self-identified race best explains income variation.

Conclusions: These results complicate theoretical debates about U.S. racial exceptionalism and methodological debates about how best to measure race. Rather than supporting one measure over another, our cross-national analysis underscores race‟s multidimensionality. The variation in patterns of inequality also defies common comparisons between the U.S. on the one hand and a singular Latin America on the other.

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Pew: Multiracial Americans Now Make Up 7% Of Population

Posted in Audio, Census/Demographics, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-06-12 21:16Z by Steven

Pew: Multiracial Americans Now Make Up 7% Of Population

Wisconsin Public Radio
Thursday, 2015-06-11, 16:35 CDT

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Jennifer Sims, Adjunct Visiting Professor of Sociology
University of Wisconsin, River Falls

According to Census data, only about 2 percent of Americans consider themselves to be multiracial, but a new report out Thursday from Pew suggests that the real number of people with multiracial backgrounds is more than three times that. It also shows that the number of people who identify as…

Listen to the story (00:22:49) here.

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Racial Fluidity and Inequality in the United States

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-02 20:36Z by Steven

Racial Fluidity and Inequality in the United States

American Journal of Sociology
Volume 118, Number 3, November 2012
pages 676–727
DOI: 10.1086/667722

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Andrew M. Penner, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

The authors link the literature on racial fluidity and inequality in the United States and offer new evidence of the reciprocal relationship between the two processes. Using two decades of longitudinal data from a national survey, they demonstrate that not only does an individual’s race change over time, it changes in response to myriad changes in social position, and the patterns are similar for both self-identification and classification by others. These findings suggest that, in the contemporary United States, microlevel racial fluidity serves to reinforce existing disparities by redefining successful or high-status people as white (or not black) and unsuccessful or low-status people as black (or not white). Thus, racial differences are both an input and an output in stratification processes; this relationship has implications for theorizing and measuring race in research, as well as for crafting policies that attempt to address racialized inequality.

Read the entire article here or here.

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Cause of Death Affects Racial Classification on Death Certificates

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-02-12 07:02Z by Steven

Cause of Death Affects Racial Classification on Death Certificates

PLoS ONE: A peer-reviewed, open access journal
Volume 6, Number 1 (2011-01-26)
e15812
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015812

Andrew Noymer, Associate Professor of Sociology; Associate Professor of Population Health and Disease Prevention Public Health
University of California, Irvine

Andrew M. Penner, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Recent research suggests racial classification is responsive to social stereotypes, but how this affects racial classification in national vital statistics is unknown. This study examines whether cause of death influences racial classification on death certificates. We analyze the racial classifications from a nationally representative sample of death certificates and subsequent interviews with the decedents’ next of kin and find notable discrepancies between the two racial classifications by cause of death. Cirrhosis decedents are more likely to be recorded as American Indian on their death certificates, and homicide victims are more likely to be recorded as Black; these results remain net of controls for followback survey racial classification, indicating that the relationship we reveal is not simply a restatement of the fact that these causes of death are more prevalent among certain groups. Our findings suggest that seemingly non-racial characteristics, such as cause of death, affect how people are racially perceived by others and thus shape U.S. official statistics.

Introduction

The accuracy of official data on birth rates and death rates are often taken for granted. However, recent research has drawn attention to inconsistencies in the recording of race across data sources and the resulting variability in estimates of race-specific death rates in the United States. These analyses have sparked debate among researchers over which measure of race should be considered correct. Rather than focus on identifying errors or inaccuracies in the data, we extend previous research by exploring how the discrepancies in race reporting arise and whether they provide insight into why racial disparities in vital statistics persist. In particular, we use a nationally representative sample of death certificates and matched data from a subsequent survey of the decedent’s next of kin to examine whether cause of death and other non-racial characteristics of decedents are related to their racial classification…

…Discussion

While previous research has demonstrated inconsistencies in racial vital statistics, the processes creating these discrepancies are not well understood. We explored whether seemingly non-racial characteristics of individuals, such as their cause of death, affect how they are perceived racially by others. Our results demonstrate that otherwise similar Americans whose underlying cause of death was chronic liver disease or cirrhosis were more likely to be classified as American Indian on their death certificate than Americans who died of other causes – even if they were not classified as American Indian by their next of kin in a subsequent survey. A similar pattern exists between dying of homicide and the likelihood of being classified as Black. These findings suggest that the racial information recorded in vital statistics may be affected by the same kinds of social processes that shape racial classification more broadly. Research shows that changes in how people are racially classified over their lifetime are related to changes in social status that conform to widely held racial stereotypes. Just as Americans are less likely to be seen as white by a survey interviewer after they have been incarcerated, unemployed or fallen into poverty, we conclude that stereotypes about who is likely to die a particular kind of death may color our official vital statistics…

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Study: Stereotypes Drive Perceptions Of Race

Posted in Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-02-11 23:45Z by Steven

Study: Stereotypes Drive Perceptions Of Race

Morning Edition
National Public Radio
2014-02-11

Steve Inskeeep, Host

Shankar Vedantam, Science correspondent

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Governments, schools and companies all keep track of your race. The stats they collect are used to track the proportion of blacks and whites who graduate from school, for example. They tell us how many people identify themselves as Native American or Asian. They help us to measure health disparities between races. But there’s a problem with all of those statistics and with the deeper way that we think about race. NPR’s social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is here to explain. Hi, Shankar.

Shankar Vedantam, Byline: Good morning, Steve.

Inskeep: What’s the problem?

Vedantam: Well, there’s an assumption that’s built into all those tracking systems that you mentioned, Steve, and that assumption is that a person’s race is fixed. If we figure out today that you’re white, we expect that you will be white next year.

Inskeep: Mm-hmm.

Vedantam: I spoke with Aliya Saperstein. She’s a sociologist at Stanford University and, along with Andrew Penner and Jessica Kizer, she recently looked at a survey that tracks life changes among thousands of young men and women in the country. It’s called the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, sometimes abbreviated as NLSY. It’s conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Inskeep: Longitudinal, meaning that they’re tracking people over a very long period of time.

Vedantam: Exactly. And it’s used to collect snapshots of economic wellbeing and social changes. Saperstein found that the racial classifications of people in the survey seemed to change over time.

Aliya Saperstein: What our research challenges is the idea that the race of an individual is fixed. Twenty percent of the respondents in the NLSY survey experienced at least one change, and had the interviewer perceived them by race over the course of different observations…

Vedantam: I think that’s exactly the same idea, Steve. And the idea is that race is actually socially constructed. And this provides data for the theory at the individual level.

One fascinating thing that Saperstein has found is that it isn’t just other people’s perceptions of you that change. The survey that she followed also asked people to report their own race. And she found that when people went to prison, they became more likely to think of themselves as black. And that’s because their minds were also subject to this very same stereotypes.

Inskeep: You are saying that someone goes in, they have the prison experience – maybe they’re mixed-race, maybe they look ambiguous, maybe they look white – but they’re more likely to come out and say I’m a black man.

Vedantam: That is exactly what Saperstein is saying, Steve. And it’s a troubling idea because we say we track people’s race in order to address prejudice and disparities, in all the ways that you mentioned at the start of our conversation. But it turns out that the way we track race itself is subject to the very same prejudices…

Listen to in interview here. Download the interview here. Read the entire transcript here.

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Film Review: Multiracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-10-02 01:36Z by Steven

Film Review: Multiracial Identity

Teaching Sociology
Volume 41, Number 4 (October 2013)
pages 397-399
DOI: 10.1177/0092055X13496205

Sara McDonough
Department of Sociology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

David L. Brunsma, Professor of Sociology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Multiracial Identity. 77 minutes. 2010. Brian Chinhema , director. Bullfrog Films. PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547. 610.779.8226. http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/.

Released in 2011, Multiracial Identity is a timely, well-crafted film written and directed by Brian Chinhema that presents many of the key concepts, debates, and questions surrounding mixed-race identity and multiraciality in American society. Narrated by Dieter Weber, the film integrates both scholarly and nonscholarly voices to present a number of key discussions and tensions about the place and recognition of multiracial people in U.S. society while also providing space for multiracial individuals or the parents of mixed-race children to talk about their experiences and insights on the meanings of multiraciality in the United States. Featuring prominent scholars in the field of multiracial identity, such as Rainier Spencer and Naomi Zack, as well as Aaron Gullickson and Aliya Saperstein, the film provides some basic historical background to contextualize contemporary discussions about multiraciality. While the numbers show an increase of 33 percent in the multiracial population between 2000 and 2010, the existence of multiracial people is not a new phenomenon. The film sets the historical and conceptual stage early, so students might ask, “What has changed in terms of (multi)race and (multi)racial identity in the United States?”

Viewers are provided with an introductory overview of the existence, status, and sociocultural dilemmas that have faced multiracial populations historically. The film does a good job showing the changing meaning of multiraciality across time and space (e.g., regional differences and across racial/ethnic combinations). Though the historically central organizing principle of the black/white binary is discussed, the film raises the question of the utility of this paradigm for understanding multiraciality as it gives attention to the experience of other multiracial individuals (e.g., Hapa-Haoles/Asian-white). Interfacing with the changing demographics associated with the repeal of certain anti-immigration laws in the 1960s, and the increase in Asian and Hispanic/Latino migration in particular, the film more than adequately …

Read or purchase the review here.

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