The difficulty with asserting your beauty identity when you’re mixed race

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-11-19 02:55Z by Steven

The difficulty with asserting your beauty identity when you’re mixed race

Dazed Beauty
2019-11-05

Layla Haidrani
London, United Kingdom

Rachel Rumai
©Rachel Rumai

We explore the confusion of navigating your personal identity when you have multiple heritages with conflicting beauty standards

I’ve grappled with the complex relationship between mixed race identity and beauty for a long time. Both my location and my heritage – I’m half-Lebanese, half-Pakistani – upheld beauty ideals that were at odds with each other. Looking too overdone would court much derision growing up in North London, but this minimalist approach conflicted greatly with Beirut’s – a city I spent most summers a teenager where ‘more is more’ is the unofficial beauty mantra. Once the plastic surgery capital of the Middle East, appearing permanently preened and polished with a face full of make-up isn’t just encouraged, it’s expected – even if you’re simply loitering in a shopping mall.

I’d never seen myself reflected in advertisements in the Middle East, where heavily groomed women subscribe to traditionally narrow ideas of femininity – carefully sculpted arched eyebrows, immaculate nails, hairless body, paired with long, sleek black hair – but that didn’t stop me from trying. In the lead-up to visiting for my holiday, I’d spend hours in beauty salons having head-to-toe treatments including a manicure and pedicure, eyebrow shaping, and a full-body wax. It wasn’t unusual for me to have an entirely separate make-up bag bursting with products. It was trickier when I factored in my Pakistani roots and when I spent time with my Desi London-based friends, I’d deliberately kohl my eyes and straighten my hair so our differences wouldn’t be glaringly obvious.

The fluidity of my beauty regime, which shifted according to the spaces I inhabited and the people I was surrounded by, felt stifling, as if there was only one ‘right’ way to look. This would be further exacerbated by Instagram, where I’d be confronted with dozens of images of what a ‘normal’ Lebanese or Pakistani girl should look like.

The term ‘mixed race’ itself tends to lump people as a monolith, and just as their experiences and heritages can wildly differ, so can their beauty identities. Dr Sarah Gaither, an assistant professor at Duke University who studies racial identity and social interactions, says that mixed race people report higher rates of social exclusion than other racial and ethnic groups. “They’re constantly being questioned about their racial backgrounds and denied their identities and group memberships,” she explains. “These experiences are known to cause increased levels of stress and depression at times and can be associated with more difficulties in forming a true sense of self and a sense of being an ‘imposter’.”…

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Examining Meghan Markle and Prince Harry: An African Journey

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-11-19 00:43Z by Steven

Examining Meghan Markle and Prince Harry: An African Journey

Psychology Today
2019-11-18

Sarah Gaither, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Dr. Jennifer Sims, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Alabama, Huntsville

ComposedPix_Shutterstock
Source: ComposedPix_Shutterstock

“Mixed” reactions highlight mixed-race issues in the US and the UK.

Even before the full documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey” aired on ABC, social media was abuzz from a teaser clip of Duchess Meghan Markle being interviewed. In the video, an off-screen Tom Bradby is heard asking Markle how she is doing. She thanks him for asking, saying that not many people do, and answers that the media attention has been difficult on top of being a newlywed and a new mom. Here, Meghan noted her struggles not just as a mom, but as a newlywed and a new royal. Her multiple identities—both those that were newly obtained and those she has always had such as being multiracial—were highlighted in this documentary. Thus, this documentary reminded viewers around the world how easy it is to be judged and excluded particularly when you represent multiple groups.

Many were moved by her words. On Twitter, messages of support, crying GIFs, and jokes of being ready to fight for her were tweeted under the hashtag #HarryAndMeghan. Others, however, were less sympathetic. Talk show host Wendy Williams said that “nobody feels sorry for” Markle and that the Duchess “knew exactly” what she was doing marrying into the British royal family. Jane Ridley of the New York Post noted that “Something’s off when you’re bemoaning your lot as a VIP;” and author Dominic Green called it entitlement to say one is “existing, not living” when that existence is “on millions of pounds of taxpayers money.”

From a psychology angle, these “mixed” views of Markle (pun intended) correlate with the confusion and varied reactions that mixed-race individuals often face. Past work highlights the constant identity questioning and denial that mixed-race individuals face since they often don’t fit into either of their racial in-groups. In Markle’s case, she not only is mixed-race but also is now bicultural as she balances both U.S. and UK expectations…

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Psychophysiological Stress Responses to Bicultural and Biracial Identity Denial

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-10-26 21:52Z by Steven

Psychophysiological Stress Responses to Bicultural and Biracial Identity Denial

Journal of Social Issues
First published: 2019-08-14
DOI: 10.1111/josi.12347

Analia F. Albuja, Social Psychology Ph.D. Student
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Sarah E. Gaither, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Diana T. Sanchez, Associate Professor of Psychology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Brenda Straka, Ph.D. Student
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Rebecca Cipollina, Social Psychology Ph.D. Student
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Journal of Social Issues banner

Bicultural and biracial individuals (those who identify either with two cultures or two races) are often denied membership in the groups with which they identify, an experience referred to as identity denial. The present studies used an experimental design to test the effects of identity denial on physiological and self‐reported stress, and naturalistic behavioral responses in a controlled laboratory setting for both bicultural (Study 1; N = 126) and biracial (Study 2; N = 119) individuals. The results suggest that compared to an identity‐irrelevant denial, bicultural participants who were denied their American identity and Minority/White biracial individuals who were denied their White identity reported greater stress and were more likely to verbally reassert their identity. Bicultural participants also demonstrated slower cortisol recovery compared to those in the identity‐irrelevant denial condition. The results are the first to highlight the negative physical health consequences of identity denial using an experimental design for both bicultural and biracial populations, underscoring the necessity to promote belongingness and acceptance.

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Racism ‘won’t go away’ even if we’re all mixed-race in the future

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Justice, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2019-06-19 00:56Z by Steven

Racism ‘won’t go away’ even if we’re all mixed-race in the future

METRO.co.uk
2019-06-18

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Reporter

The idea of ‘divide and conquer’ harks back thousands of years.

Whether it is by gender, class, wealth or race, humans love walling themselves into distinct categories then using those categories to create hierarchies.

In the case of race, this hierarchical distinction ended up with slavery, countless programmes of ethnic cleansing and the retention of ‘othering’ based on the colour of skin even to the present day.

But what happens if we take away these racial categories that divide us into subgroups?

If, instead of defining as black, white, Asian or any other singular category, we defined ourselves as a little bit of everything, would it herald the dawn of a more accepting, ‘post-racial’ age?

And would that mean racism would end?…

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Identity Denied: Comparing American or White Identity Denial and Psychological Health Outcomes Among Bicultural and Biracial People

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2018-08-14 18:19Z by Steven

Identity Denied: Comparing American or White Identity Denial and Psychological Health Outcomes Among Bicultural and Biracial People

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
First Published 2018-08-07
DOI: 10.1177/0146167218788553

Analia F. Albuja
Department of Psychology
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

Diana T. Sanchez, Associate Professor of Psychology
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

Sarah E. Gaither, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Because bicultural and biracial people have two identities within one social domain (culture or race), their identification is often challenged by others. Although it is established that identity denial is associated with poor psychological health, the processes through which this occurs are less understood. Across two high-powered studies, we tested identity autonomy, the perceived compatibility of identities, and social belonging as mediators of the relationship between identity denial and well-being among bicultural and biracial individuals. Bicultural and biracial participants who experienced challenges to their American or White identities felt less freedom in choosing an identity and perceived their identities as less compatible, which was ultimately associated with greater reports of depressive symptoms and stress. Study 2 replicated these results and measured social belonging, which also accounted for significant variance in well-being. The results suggest the processes were similar across populations, highlighting important implications for the generalizability to other dual-identity populations.

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Black + White = Not White: A minority bias in categorizations of Black-White multiracials

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2018-06-15 16:05Z by Steven

Black + White = Not White: A minority bias in categorizations of Black-White multiracials

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume 78, September 2018
pages 43-54
DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2018.05.002

Jacqueline M. Chen, Assistant Professor of Social Psychology
University of Utah

Kristin Pauker, Associate Professor of Psychology
University of Hawaii

Sarah E. Gaither, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

David L. Hamilton, Research Professor, Professor Emeritus
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jeffrey W. Sherman, Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of California, Davis

Highlights

  • We examined the categorization of Black-White multiracial faces using novel methods.
  • Multiracials were implicitly categorized separately from Black and White targets.
  • Multiracials were explicitly categorized into many non-White racial groups.
  • “Non-White” categorizations of multiracials occurred very quickly.

The present research sought to provide new insights on the principles guiding the categorization of Black-White multiracial faces at a first encounter. Previous studies have typically measured categorization of multiracial faces using close-ended tasks that constrain available categorizations. Those studies find evidence that perceivers tend to categorize multiracials as Black more often than as White. Two studies used less constrained, implicit (Experiment 1) and explicit categorization (Experiment 2) tasks and found that multiracial faces were most frequently categorized into racial minority groups but not necessarily as Black. These studies suggested a minority bias in multiracial categorizations, whereby multiracials are more frequently categorized as non-White than as White. Experiment 3 provided additional support for the minority bias, showing that participants categorized multiracials as “Not White” more often than as any other category. Participants were also faster to exclude multiracial faces from the White category than from any other racial category. Together, these findings are the first to document the minority bias as a guiding principle in multiracial categorization.

Outline

  • Highlights
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • 1. Experiment 1: Implicit Categorization of Multiracials
  • 2. Method
  • 3. Results
  • 4. Discussion
  • 5. Experiment 2: Free Sorting of Faces by Race
  • 6. Method
  • 7. Results
  • 9. Interim Summary
  • 8. Discussion
  • 10. Experiment 3: Time Course of the Minority Bias
  • 11. Method
  • 12. Results
  • 13. Discussion
  • 14. General Discussion
  • Open practices
  • Appendix A. Supplementary data
  • References

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Exposure to Biracial Faces Reduces Colorblindness

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2018-06-06 19:34Z by Steven

Exposure to Biracial Faces Reduces Colorblindness

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
First published 2018-06-06
DOI: 10.1177/0146167218778012

Sarah E. Gaither, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Negin R. Toosi, Diversity Researcher
Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Laura G. Babbitt, Researcher
Department of Psychology
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

Samuel R. Sommers, Director of the Undergraduate Program; Professor of Psychology
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

Across six studies, we demonstrate that exposure to biracial individuals significantly reduces endorsement of colorblindness as a racial ideology among White individuals. Real-world exposure to biracial individuals predicts lower levels of colorblindness compared with White and Black exposure (Study 1). Brief manipulated exposure to images of biracial faces reduces colorblindness compared with exposure to White faces, Black faces, a set of diverse monoracial faces, or abstract images (Studies 2-5). In addition, these effects occur only when a biracial label is paired with the face rather than resulting from the novelty of the mixed-race faces themselves (Study 4). Finally, we show that the shift in White participants’ colorblindness attitudes is driven by social tuning, based on participants’ expectations that biracial individuals are lower in colorblindness than monoracial individuals (Studies 5-6). These studies suggest that the multiracial population’s increasing size and visibility has the potential to positively shift racial attitudes.

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Meghan Markle Is ‘Changing Discussions About What It Means to Be Biracial in America’

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-05-19 21:28Z by Steven

Meghan Markle Is ‘Changing Discussions About What It Means to Be Biracial in America’

PEOPLE
2018-05-19

Breanne L. Heldman, Senior Editor


Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Meghan Markle didn’t just become the Duchess of Sussex on Saturday when she married Prince Harry in a gorgeous ceremony at St. George’s Church in Windsor Castle. She also became an important cultural icon of positive change in race relations around the world.

“The U.K. has one of the fastest-growing mixed-race populations in the world,” notes Dr. Sarah E. Gaither, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who also runs the Duke Identity and Diversity Lab. “To the biracial community, she’s really serving as a symbol of this changing demographic that Britain is facing in addition to the United States.”

“Meghan and Harry’s marriage is really significant because the British monarchy has always been viewed as so, so white,” DaVette See, correspondent for Black Girl Nerds, tells PEOPLE. “Now, they will be seen as more a part of a multicultural world.”.

“Being a biracial American, I didn’t grow up with a lot of biracial exemplars in mainstream media or the books I read,” says Gaither, “so Meghan Markle is really an inspiration for a lot of women of color, a lot of girls of color across the United States in showing that you can help change the historical ties. You can start changing discussions about what it means to be biracial and what it means to be black in America and, now in Britain as well.”…

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I am the “Rashida Jones” version of biracial. I have white skin and dark brown, wavy hair — people always assume I’m white.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-05-18 18:20Z by Steven

I am the “Rashida Jones” version of biracial. I have white skin and dark brown, wavy hair — people always assume I’m white. Mariah Carey, who has a white mother and a black, Venezuelan father, was the only white-looking biracial person I knew of growing up. She was the biracial role model I needed, and I often thought of her when I struggled with the constant denial and questioning I faced whenever I told someone I was part black.

Sarah E. Gaither, “I study biracial identity in America. Here’s why Meghan Markle is a big deal.Vox, May 18, 2018. https://www.vox.com/first-person/2018/5/14/17345162/meghan-markle-royal-wedding-2018-race.

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I study biracial identity in America. Here’s why Meghan Markle is a big deal.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2018-05-14 20:24Z by Steven

I study biracial identity in America. Here’s why Meghan Markle is a big deal.

Vox
2018-05-14

Sarah E. Gaither, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Duke University


Photos: Getty Images. Photo illustration: Christina Animashaun/Vox

Biracial representation is sorely needed in a country with a fraught relationship with mixed-race people.

Growing up in the late ’80s as a biracial girl, I never had a mixed-race princess whose image I could sport on my backpack or my lunchbox. There was little to no representation of my identity — almost no characters in movies or television shows, no musicians or celebrities who identified as mixed-race.

For today’s biracial youth, Meghan Markle, the actress who is marrying into the British royal family — and who has defined herself publicly as “a strong, confident mixed-race woman” — represents the biracial role model I didn’t have growing up.

My mother is white and my father is black, and as a social psychologist, I research mixed-race identity and perceptions of biracial people for a living. The history of biracial couplings and children in our country is fraught: The “one drop” rule that categorized people with any African ancestry as “colored” was legally codified in a couple of states in the early 1900s. Interracial marriage was illegal in some states starting in 1664 until 1967 with the famous Loving v. Virginia case, and it wasn’t until the year 2000 when the option to “check all that may apply” for race appeared on the census…

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