“It Represents Me:” Tattooing Mixed-Race Identity

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Social Science on 2018-10-08 02:56Z by Steven

“It Represents Me:” Tattooing Mixed-Race Identity

Sociological Spectrum
Published online: 2018-10-04
DOI: 10.1080/02732173.2018.1478351

Jennifer Patrice Sims, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Alabama, Huntsville

Research on tattoos reveals that desire for something to “mark their bodies with indelible symbols of what they see themselves to be” has become a main driver behind contemporary tattoo acquisitions (Sanders 1989:61). One identity that researchers have recently begun to investigate with regard to expression via tattoos is race; however, exploration considering those with multiple racial heritages, that is, mixed-race people, is lacking. This article begins to illuminate this lacuna by drawing on in-depth interviews with mixed-race people in the United States and United Kingdom to examine the practice and meaning behind their tattoos. Finding both similarities and differences, both between mixed- and single-heritage individuals and between mixed-race people of different heritages, this study adds to scholarly knowledge of the ways in which various identities are being expressed, or not, via tattooing.

Read or purchase the article here.

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“We Were All Just the Black Kids”: Black Mixed-Race Men and the Importance of Adolescent Peer Groups for Identity Development

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-09-19 15:50Z by Steven

“We Were All Just the Black Kids”: Black Mixed-Race Men and the Importance of Adolescent Peer Groups for Identity Development

Social Currents
First Published online 2018-09-19
DOI: 10.1177/2329496518797840

Jennifer Patrice Sims, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Alabama, Huntsville

Remi Joseph-Salisbury, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies
Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom

While critical Mixed-Race studies (CMRS) has paid attention to the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in sampling and analysis, most studies disproportionately focus on women. This means that generalizability of findings and theories to men should not become axiomatic. Regarding black Mixed-Race people, for example, the theory that rejection from black people is influential for many black Mixed-Race individuals’ identity development is derived from interviews with mainly women. Explicitly noting that these processes are not as applicable for men, yet offering no accompanying theorizing as to the influence of gendered interactions on men’s racial identity development, appears to have become the standard. Therefore, bringing together data from two studies that explored black mixedness in the United States and the United Kingdom, this article joins a nascent literature on the gendered experiences of Mixed-Race men. Our analysis shows that, unlike black Mixed-Race women, black Mixed-Race men’s mixedness is often constructed as compatible with the heteronormative gender identities that are constituted in racialized peer groups. As such, black Mixed-Race men are able to cultivate a sense of strategic sameness with same gender black peers. This and other findings are discussed in light of their implications for CMRS’s intersectional theories of identity development.

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Reevaluation of the Influence of Appearance and Reflected Appraisals for Mixed-Race Identity: The Role of Consistent Inconsistent Racial Perception

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2016-10-26 14:03Z by Steven

Reevaluation of the Influence of Appearance and Reflected Appraisals for Mixed-Race Identity: The Role of Consistent Inconsistent Racial Perception

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
October 2016, Volume 2, Number 4
pages 569-583
DOI: 10.1177/2332649216634740

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

Developed from Cooley’s looking-glass self, the theory of reflected appraisals is frequently used to explain how appearance influences the racial identity development of mixed-race people. However, postulating that racial identity develops via the internalization of the perception of what race one thinks others assume him or her to be rests on the assumption that others consistently perceive the individual in the same manner. Although true for many people, the appearance of mixed-race people is often ambiguous and changeable and is perceived differently depending on context, which results in mixed-race people’s being ascribed to, and interacted with as if a member of, a variety of different races and ethnicities. This fact illuminates a gap in our knowledge of how appearance influences racial identity absent consistent perception by others. Drawing on 30 interviews with mixed-race adults from a variety of racial backgrounds in the United States and United Kingdom, the author examines not only the particular experiences with differential racial perception that mixed-race people have but also the mechanisms by which appearance influences identity when one experiences varying perceptions from others. This work ultimately extends the theory of reflected appraisals by advancing the idea that, under certain conditions, identity can form from experiences being consistently inconsistently perceived when that consistent inconsistency itself functions as a reflected appraisal of a particular identity.

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America’s obsession with multiracial beauty reveals our ongoing bias against blackness

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-10-09 23:58Z by Steven

America’s obsession with multiracial beauty reveals our ongoing bias against blackness

Quartz
2016-10-06

Robert L. Reece, Ph.D. Candidate
Duke University

Last month, rapper Kanye West posted a controversial casting call for his clothing line, Yeezy, mandating “multiracial women only.” Many objected, arguing that West had insulted darker-skinned black women.

But Kanye was only adhering to something fairly common in a society that still operates under a racial hierarchy: the belief that multiracial people are more attractive—what sociologist Jennifer Sims has termed the “biracial beauty stereotype.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Reality Of Imaginary Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2016-07-26 01:37Z by Steven

The Reality Of Imaginary Whiteness

African American Intellectual Historical Society (AAIHS)
2016-07-24

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

In the 1993 satirical musical comedy Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Dave Chappelle plays Ahchoo, the show stealing side kick to Cary Elwes’ Robin Hood. At the end of the movie, when Robin appoints Ahchoo to be the new Sheriff of Rottingham, the all-white crowd exclaims, “A black sheriff?!” (and the blind family servant gasps, “He’s black?!”). They all eventually accept the appointment when Ahchoo responds, “And why not?! It worked in Blazing Saddles.

Since the release of Robin Hood, black Americans have continued to ask “And why not?!” when white Americans react with incredulity to racial minorities’ presence in movies. From outrage over a black storm trooper in a galaxy far, far away to the rejection of the mere idea of a black man playing James Bond, some white fans expect, and will apparently accept nothing other than, white characters.

This expectation of imaginary whiteness is even more pervasive in literature. In the Harry Potter series, for example, Harry is introduced as a “skinny” boy with “a thin face, knobby knees, black hair, and bright green eyes.” Nowhere in seven books does author J. K. Rowling say that he is white; yet readers knew it intuitively because white is the hegemonic racial group in the United Kingdom. Whiteness need not be specified. It is assumed…

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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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Multi-Racial In Wisconsin…And The “What Are You?” Question

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-08-09 22:23Z by Steven

Multi-Racial In Wisconsin…And The “What Are You?” Question

Wisconsin Public Radio
Central Time
2014-06-02

Rob Ferrett, Host

Jennifer Patrice Sims
Department of Sociology
University of Wisconsin, Madison

A sociology researcher looks at multi-racial identity in Wisconsin–and how people deal with the questions “what are you?” and “where are you from?”

Listen to the interview here. Download the interview here (00:10:45).

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Beautiful stereotypes: the relationship between physical attractiveness and mixed race identity

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-08-27 00:18Z by Steven

Beautiful stereotypes: the relationship between physical attractiveness and mixed race identity

Identities: Global Studies in Power and Culture
Volume 19, Number 1, 2012-01-01
pages 61-80
DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.2012.672838

Jennifer Patrice Sims

The idea that mixed race individuals are physically attractive is a commonly accepted stereotype. Past research in which whites (Australians and British) and Asians (Japanese) were asked to rate the attractiveness of a racially heterogeneous group of faces has shown that mixed race phenotype was judged the most attractive. In this study, I examine whether there is empirical evidence for this Biracial Beauty Stereotype in the United States. Using the data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, I examine self and interview ratings of respondents’ physical attractiveness and, in an extension of the previous literature, conduct multinomial logistic regressions to ascertain whether level of attractiveness is associated with different racial identification choices for mixed race individuals. My results indicate that there is in fact a belief in mixed race individuals’ superior beauty in America; but, with regard to identity, beauty is not associated with identity for all mixed race groups.

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“You Think You Cute!” Perceived Attractiveness, Inter-Group Conflict, And Their Effect On Black/White Biracial Identity Choices

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-06-10 05:08Z by Steven

“You Think You Cute!” Perceived Attractiveness, Inter-Group Conflict, And Their Effect On Black/White Biracial Identity Choices

Vanderbilt University
December 2006
31 pages

Jennifer Patrice Sims

Thesis Submitted to the faculty of the Graduate School of Vanderbilt University In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Sociology

The 2000 Census was the first time in United States’ history that citizens could indicate more than one race to describe their racial identity. Who does so is due to a multi-factored, complex process. For Black/White biracial women, research has suggested that appearance plays a role in the development of the woman’s racial identity (Rockquemore, 2002; Root, 1992). Attractive Black/White biracial women supposedly choose non-Black identities due to negative treatment from Black women; the latter of whom are accused of having animosity against biracial women due to their supposed greater appeal to Black men.

My aim in this project was to explore this phenomenon. Using data from the Pubic Use Data Set of the National Survey on Adolescent Health, I examined whether perceived physical attractiveness affected the odds of Black/White biracial individuals choosing a Biracial identity and whether such a process was limited to women only.

Results from multinomial logistic regression suggest that perceived physical attractiveness is not a statistically significant factor in choosing a Biracial identity for women or men. Limitations of this study which may explain why my hypotheses were not supported are discussed in the conclusion along with suggestions for future research on biracial identity.

Table of Contents

  • LIST OF TABLES.
  • LIST OF FIGURES
  • I. INTRODUCTION
  • II. THEORY AND LITERATURE REVIEW
    • Identity
    • Factors in Identity Choice
    • The Role of Appearance
  • III. STATEMENT OF RESEARCH QUESTION
  • IV. DATA AND METHODS
  • V. RESULTS
  • VI. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
  • REFERENCES

List of Tables

  1. Tabulation of Identity Choices
  2. Tabulation of Attractiveness
  3. Tabulation of Skin Color
  4. Factors in Identity Choice

List of Figures

  1. Parental Income Distribution

Read the entire thesis here.

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