Gender, Generation, and Multiracial Identification in the United States

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2022-01-07 17:36Z by Steven

Gender, Generation, and Multiracial Identification in the United States

Volume 58, Number 5 (October 2021)
pages 603–1630
DOI: 10.1215/00703370-9334366

Janet Xu, Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Sociology
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Aliya Saperstein, Associate Professor of Sociology; Benjamin Scott Crocker Professor in Human Biology
Stanford University, Stanford, California

Ann Morning, Associate Professor of Sociology
New York University, New York, New York

Sarah Iverson, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Sociology
New York University, New York, New York

Multiracial self-identification is frequently portrayed as a disproportionately female tendency, but previous research has not probed the conditions under which this relationship might occur. Using the 2015 Pew Survey of Multiracial Adults, we offer a more comprehensive analysis that considers gender differences at two distinct stages: reporting multiple races in one’s ancestry and selecting multiple races to describe oneself. We also examine self-identification patterns by the generational locus of multiracial ancestry. We find that females are more likely to be aware of multiracial ancestry overall, but only first-generation females are more likely than their male counterparts to self-identify as multiracial. Finally, we explore the role of racial ancestry combination, finding that multiracial awareness and self-identification are likely gendered differently for different segments of the mixed-race population. This offers a more nuanced picture of how gender interacts with other social processes to shape racial identification in the United States.

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This Is How The White Population Is Actually Changing Based On New Census Data

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-23 02:37Z by Steven

This Is How The White Population Is Actually Changing Based On New Census Data

National Public Radio

Hansi Lo Wang, Correspondent, National Desk

Ruth Talbot

Some news coverage of the latest 2020 census results may have led you to think the white population in the U.S. is shrinking or in decline.

The actual story about the country’s biggest racial group is more complicated than that.

And it’s largely the result of a major shift in how the U.S. census asks about people’s racial identities. Since 2000, the forms for the national, once-a-decade head count have allowed participants to check off more than one box when answering the race question.

While the 2020 census results show fewer people checking off only the “White” box compared with in 2010, there was an almost 316% jump in the number of U.S. residents who identified with the “White” category and one or more of the other racial groups. Their responses boosted the size of a white population that includes anyone who marked “White.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination, Tanya Katerí Hernández

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2019-09-18 19:24Z by Steven

Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination, Tanya Katerí Hernández

Political Science Quarterly
Volume 134, Number 2 (Summer 2019)
pages 351-352

Ann Morning, Associate Professor of Sociology
New York University

Multiracials and Civil Rights is a jewel. Relatively brief and always engaging, it presents a well-defined and well-motivated inquiry that simultaneously manages to speak to a much broader issue of deep importance. While legal scholar Tanya Katerí Hernández persuasively answers the immediate question of how multiracial people’s claims of racial discrimination are positioned and adjudicated in U.S. courts, she also provides real food for thought about the role of multiraciality in today’s racial order.

Multiracials and Civil Rights draws readers in with a puzzle: why do certain multiracial activists or scholars perceive existing antidiscrimination law as insufficient for their community’s needs? Is it indeed the case that mixed-race people’s claims of discrimination are not being adequately handled in the courts? Drawing on records for all such legal cases in the United States, in which an explicitly multiracial person alleged racial discrimination, Hernández argues persuasively that American courts do just fine by such complainants. If anything, they seem to be particularly solicitous of multiracials, treating their allegations with greater care and deference than those of other racial minorities. So where is the problem? For some multiracial advocates, it appears to lie in the courts’ pretty..

Read or purchase the review here.

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How Not To Talk About Race And Genetics

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Letters, Media Archive on 2018-03-31 02:37Z by Steven

How Not To Talk About Race And Genetics


Micah Baldwin / Via Flickr: micahb37

Race has long been a potent way of defining differences between human beings. But science and the categories it constructs do not operate in a political vacuum.

This open letter was produced by a group of 68 scientists and researchers. The full list of signatories can be found below.

In his newly published book Who We Are and How We Got Here, geneticist David Reich engages with the complex and often fraught intersections of genetics with our understandings of human differences — most prominently, race.

He admirably challenges misrepresentations about race and genetics made by the likes of former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade and Nobel Laureate James Watson. As an eminent scientist, Reich clearly has experience with the genetics side of this relationship. But his skillfulness with ancient and contemporary DNA should not be confused with a mastery of the cultural, political, and biological meanings of human groups.

As a group of 68 scholars from disciplines ranging across the natural sciences, medical and population health sciences, social sciences, law, and humanities, we would like to make it clear that Reich’s understanding of “race” — most recently in a Times column warning that “it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among ‘races’” — is seriously flawed…

Read the entire letter here.

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Race and Rachel Doležal: An Interview

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2017-03-29 18:55Z by Steven

Race and Rachel Doležal: An Interview

Contexts: understanding people in their social world

Ann Morning, Associate Professor of Sociology
New York University

In June 2015, I got an email from a California radio station asking me for an interview about a person I had never heard of: Rachel Doležal. I quickly Googled her, and based on a brief news item, agreed to the interview. She seemed to be a White woman passing as Black, working as the president of the Spokane NAACP chapter to boot. I didn’t really see why this was national news, but I figured even a fluff piece could be an opportunity to foster public conversation about the fluidity of racial identities and the constructed nature of racial categories.

The slow summer news day turned into a weeklong media frenzy, with shockingly intense public attention focused on Ms. Doležal’s racial self-identification. My Soc 101 lesson about racial construction turned into a dozen interviews with incredulous reporters, fascinated by the notion of “transracial” people. And based on Ms. Doležal’s comments at the time as well as her new book, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World, the term “passing”—with its connotation of masquerading—couldn’t quite capture the gradual and deeply-felt process of Black affiliation that she underwent. In my view, she is not a passer—someone who seeks to turn existing racial categories to their advantage—so much as a person who rejects widespread beliefs about the criteria for racial categorization.

The concept of race as a social construct is one that Rachel Doležal invokes repeatedly as she explains and defends her self-identification with a race different from the one claimed by her biological parents. Is she wrong? Has she misinterpreted something fundamental to our discipline’s contemporary teaching on race? And can her case shed any light on the millions of people who alter their racial self-reporting from one decennial census to the next, according to research by sociologist Carolyn Liebler and colleagues at the U.S. Census Bureau? I expect sociologists will vary in their answers to these questions, but I also suspect that many of us have found a teaching opportunity in what Rogers Brubaker calls “the Doležal affair.” I’m grateful that Doležal agreed to share an advance copy of In Full Color and answer a series of questions for the Contexts audience…

AM [Ann Morning]: In the press and in your new book, you really double down on claiming a Black identity. In the very first pages of In Full Color, for example, you write about your “identity as a Black woman.” But if you could create a longer, more complex label that more fully captured your experience or viewpoint, what might that look like?

RD [Rachel Doležal]: I get fatigued by the overly simplistic race labels, as if people are only one aspect of who they are at a time and not able to be simultaneously a person with a gender/race/age/class/religion/sexual orientation/nationality/disability/language. Yes, Black is the closest descriptive race or culture category that represents the essential essence of who I am, and I stand unapologetically on the “Black side” of the racially constructed Black/White divide. But, if I could choose a more complex label with my own terms, it might be “A pro-Black, Pan-African, bisexual artist, activist, and mother.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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Panel Discussion: Social Inequalities in Health

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2015-12-23 18:05Z by Steven

Panel Discussion: Social Inequalities in Health

National Institutes of Health (U.S.). Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
Bethesda, Maryland
2015-05-08, 14:00 EDT (Local Time)

The NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research will host the Panel Discussion: Social Inequalities in Health, on May 8, 2015, at the NIH Campus, as part of the 2014-2015 BSSR Lecture Series to promote open and engaged discussion about cutting edge research in the behavioral and social sciences field.


Watch or download the video (01:56:15) here.

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It’s Impossible to Lie About Your Race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science on 2015-07-26 15:13Z by Steven

It’s Impossible to Lie About Your Race

The Huffington Post

Ann Morning, Associate Professor of Sociology
New York University

There’s an important question being left out of the furor over charges that Rachel Dolezal, the former head of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter, has been “lying” about her race: How can you lie about something that doesn’t have any objective truth to it in the first place?

The frenzy over Dolezal has erupted because her claim to black identity defies a longstanding American belief that human beings come in three or four or five flavors called “races,” which are linked to the geographical areas from which our ancestors came, and which are characterized by physical characteristics that are passed down from one generation to the next. According to this dominant view, Dolezal is objectively white because her parents are white Americans whose recent ancestors were from Europe.

But instead of being a matter of natural, objective facts, race is more like astrology. It’s a way of dividing human beings up into different categories, and we are the ones who invent those categories, not Mother Nature. The idea that there are “black” people and “white” people is no different than the belief that there are Geminis and Scorpios. Indeed, astrology and racial classification both claim to be grounded in nature. Race ostensibly reflects our biological constitution, while sun signs are meant to capture planetary forces that imprinted us at birth. But it’s not too hard to see that a whole lot of human cultural thinking has gone into both. The reality is that scientists are far from any agreement on what race has to do with genes. And the racial classifications so familiar to Americans today are actually products of the 1700s, when they were forged by Europeans who were trying to explain the physical, social and moral qualities of peoples they had come to colonize across the world.

So when Rachel Dolezal says she is black when we consider her white, it’s akin to her claiming to be a Virgo when by our lights she’s a Leo. Would it really be a lie to say you’re a Virgo instead of a Leo when both of those categories are made up in the first place?…

Read the entire article here.

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SCIENTIFIC RACISM REDUX? The Many Lives of a Troublesome Idea

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-07-23 01:40Z by Steven

SCIENTIFIC RACISM REDUX? The Many Lives of a Troublesome Idea

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 2015
pages 187-199
DOI: 10.1017/S1742058X1500003X

Ann Morning, Associate Professor of Sociology
New York University

Nicholas Wade, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History. New York: Penguin Press, 2014, 278 pages, ISBN 978-1-5942-0446-3. $27.95.

What, if anything, does Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes. Race and Human History have to offer sociologists?

For most of us, the answer is “nothing.” Because simply put, this is not scholarly work. A Troublesome Inheritance is not an empirically-grounded monograph that offers substantiated arguments, but rather a trade book targeting general readers who are probably not interested in the literature reviews and citations that academics expect. All kinds of claims are made without reference to any supporting evidence or analysis. As a result, the book cannot serve as a source of data or credible theory regarding race, culture, social structure, or the relationship of genes to human behaviors.

But for sociologists of knowledge and of science, A Troublesome Inheritance is a gold mine. These scholars will no doubt delight in discovering the echoes of eighteenth-century race science, nineteenth-century polygenetic and Romantic thought, twentieth-century eugenics and development theory, as well as enduring sexism and the occasional tirade against “Marxists.” This book may also well become a classic for students of racial ideology, right up there with Herrnstein and Murray’s The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (1994). Both books are poignant cultural artifacts that testify to the ways in which biological science is invoked in the United States to shore up belief in races and to justify inequality between groups…

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Census considers new approach to asking about race – by not using the term at all

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-06-21 01:40Z by Steven

Census considers new approach to asking about race – by not using the term at all

Pew Research Center

D’Vera Cohn, Senior Writer/Editor

Possible 2020 census race/Hispanic question for online respondents, who would click to the next screen to choose more detailed sub-categories such as “Cuban” or “Chinese.” Credit: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is experimenting with new ways to ask Americans about their race or origin in the 2020 census – including not using the words “race” or “origin” at all. Instead, the questionnaire may tell people to check the “categories” that describe them.

Census officials say they want the questions they ask to be clear and easy, in order to encourage Americans to answer them, so the officials can better collect race and Hispanic data as required by law. But many people are confused by the current wording, or find it misleading or insufficient to describe their identity.

Census forms now have two questions about race and Hispanic origin. The first asks people whether they are of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin, and states that “Hispanic origins are not races.” A second question asks, “What is this person’s race?” and includes a list of options with checkboxes and write-in spaces. The U.S. government defines Hispanic as an ethnicity, not a race.

The problem with using the word “race” is that many Americans say they don’t know what it means, and how it is different from “origin.” The agency’s focus group research found that some people think the words mean the same thing, while others see race as meaning skin color, ancestry or culture, while origin is the nation or place where they or their parents were born…

…The content test also will experiment with adding a new Middle East and North Africa category. The test represents the bureau’s final major research effort before locking down its proposed 2020 questionnaire wording…

…“I’m very happy that they are going to test a question which gets away from the language of race and ethnicity because frankly that is just a quagmire, that language,” said Ann Morning, an advisory committee member and New York University race scholar. “No two people seem to be able to agree on what those terms mean.”

In follow-up comments in an email, Morning said she believes “the beauty of simply referring to ‘categories’ is that it avoids that problem of people getting hung up on the terminology. So I would expect this term will allow people to answer the question more quickly, and to feel more free to check more than one box if they wish, and to lead to a lower non-response rate on that question.”…

Read the entire article here.

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What’s Radical About “Mixed Race”?

Posted in Canada, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2015-05-24 18:50Z by Steven

What’s Radical About “Mixed Race”?

Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU
8 Washington Mews
New York, New York 10003

On April 20, 2015, the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU hosted “What’s Radical About ‘Mixed Race’?“. Eschewing an apolitical “celebration” of mixed race, this panel examined the movement’s implications for multiracial coalition and the future of race in the US and Canada, asking: does the multiracial movement challenge—or actually reinforce—the logics of structural racism?

Minelle Mahtani critically located how an apolitical and ahistorical Canadian “model multiracial” upholds the multicultural claims of the Canadian settler state. Jared Sexton called to task multiracial activists who leverage a mixed race identity in opposition to those who are “all black, all the time.”

A roundtable conversation moderated by Ann Morning (NYU Department of Sociology) followed.

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