Moving beyond monoracial categories

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Philosophy, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-26 20:42Z by Steven

Moving beyond monoracial categories

The Daily: of the University of Washington

Emily Muirhead

I once had a professor claim that in 50 years, everyone will be so racially “mixed” and therefore ambiguous, no one will be able to distinguish “what someone is,” so race won’t matter much anymore.

As a biracial individual who has been asked “What are you?” more times than not, race does matter. It matters more than many people choose to believe. Despite the fact that racial categories are arbitrary social constructs, race still has very real personal and public implications aside from blatant racism — which seems to be the only times race is actually is talked about.

Categorizing someone into a racial category upon meeting them happens instantaneously. For most people this isn’t problematic because it’s merely a harmless form of observation, but sometimes, regardless of intent, a person’s race negatively or positively changes how someone is perceived and interacted with.

Ralina Joseph, associate professor in the communication, ethnic studies, and women’s studies departments, and a woman of color, has experienced racially rooted assumptions when it comes to teaching. She explained how on a number of occasions on the first day of class while standing alongside a white male TA, students will wrongly address the TA as “professor,” likely due to the image that comes to mind when one thinks of a person in this profession — i.e., a white man.

Being half-Japanese and half-Caucasian (predominantly Scottish), I straddle two sides of a racial spectrum, one foot in an American minority and the other in the majority. I’ve even been called “exotic,” a Eurocentric term that labels me as a sort of racial commodity against which monoracial individuals may be measured. To some, my whiteness blended with Asian features automatically places me into the irritatingly vague racial category of “half-white, half-something,” but there is much more to my identity than that…

Read the entire article here.

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Changing the stereotypes

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-03-07 16:53Z by Steven

Changing the stereotypes

The Daily
University of Washington

Kristen Steenbeeke

Sophomores Gabbie Duncalf and Fitsum Misgano were taking a class about mixed race when they first learned about the organization Mixed.

After hearing that the group — which caters specifically to mixed-race students but is open to anyone — was lacking officers, they decided to join during spring quarter of last year. Since then, the club has been an outlet for them to discuss mixed-race topics as well as an opportunity to spend time with other students who identify as mixed.

“As a mixed person, I have always felt hesitant to join monoracial organizations,” said Duncalf, whose mother is Filipino and father is Caucasian. “I feel different, and I don’t know if I fit in there, so I like that with Mixed, I can talk about race in different ways … I can talk to people who feel the same way and who want to change the way we talk about race.”

Discussions about new perceptions of race are important, not only among students but in society as a whole. Ralina Joseph, a communications professor at the UW, has made it her goal to change the way we talk about race, especially by disregarding the idea that multiracialism is a separate entity and using it to “deconstruct notions of race.”

“I think that I would encourage multiracial students to not only identify themselves with a multiracial group, but also to see themselves as a part of their larger racial and ethnic communities,” Joseph said…

Read the entire article here.

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