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.

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Interrogating Race: Color, Racial Categories, and Class Across the Americas

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-03-08 01:25Z by Steven

Interrogating Race: Color, Racial Categories, and Class Across the Americas

American Behavioral Scientist
Volume 60, Number 4 (April 2016)
pages 538-555
DOI: 10.1177/0002764215613400

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

Fabrício M. Fialho
University of California, Los Angeles

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

We address long-standing debates on the utility of racial categories and color scales for understanding inequality in the United States and Latin America, using novel data that enable comparisons of these measures across both broad regions. In particular, we attend to the degree to which color and racial category inequality operate independently of parental socioeconomic status. We find a variety of patterns of racial category and color inequality, but that in most countries accounting for maternal education changes our coefficients by 5% or less. Overall, we argue that several posited divergences in ethnoracial stratification processes in the United States, compared with Latin America, might be overstated. We conclude that the comparison of the effects of multiple ethnoracial markers, such as color and racial categories, for the analysis of social stratification holds substantial promise for untangling the complexities of “race” across the Americas.

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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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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.

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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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Looking the Part: Social Status Cues Shape Race Perception

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-05-29 19:02Z by Steven

Looking the Part: Social Status Cues Shape Race Perception

PLoS ONE
Volume 6, Issue 9: e25107
Published: 2011-09-26
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025107

Jonathan B. Freemam,  Assistant Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

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

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Matthias Scheutz, Associate Professor of Computer Science
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

Nalini Ambady, Professor of Psychology
Stanford University

It is commonly believed that race is perceived through another’s facial features, such as skin color. In the present research, we demonstrate that cues to social status that often surround a face systematically change the perception of its race. Participants categorized the race of faces that varied along White–Black morph continua and that were presented with high-status or low-status attire. Low-status attire increased the likelihood of categorization as Black, whereas high-status attire increased the likelihood of categorization as White; and this influence grew stronger as race became more ambiguous (Experiment 1). When faces with high-status attire were categorized as Black or faces with low-status attire were categorized as White, participants’ hand movements nevertheless revealed a simultaneous attraction to select the other race-category response (stereotypically tied to the status cue) before arriving at a final categorization. Further, this attraction effect grew as race became more ambiguous (Experiment 2). Computational simulations then demonstrated that these effects may be accounted for by a neurally plausible person categorization system, in which contextual cues come to trigger stereotypes that in turn influence race perception. Together, the findings show how stereotypes interact with physical cues to shape person categorization, and suggest that social and contextual factors guide the perception of race.

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Engendering Racial Perceptions: An Intersectional Analysis of How Social Status Shapes Race

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-04-23 21:03Z by Steven

Engendering Racial Perceptions: An Intersectional Analysis of How Social Status Shapes Race

Gender & Society
Published online before print: 2013-04-12
DOI: 10.1177/0891243213480262

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

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Intersectionality emphasizes that race, class, and gender distinctions are inextricably intertwined, but fully interrogating the co-constitution of these axes of stratification has proven difficult to implement in large-scale quantitative analyses. We address this gap by exploring gender differences in how social status shapes race in the United States. Building on previous research showing that changes in the racial classifications of others are influenced by social status, we use longitudinal data to examine how differences in social class position might affect racial classification differently for women and men. In doing so, we provide further support for the claim that race, class, and gender are not independent axes of stratification; rather they intersect, creating dynamic feedback loops that maintain the complex structure of social inequality in the United States.

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