The challenges of being multiracial

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-27 21:12Z by Steven

The challenges of being multiracial

The Santa Fe New Mexican

Sakara Griffith, Sophomore
Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, New Mexico

There is a photo of a black family featuring smiling faces of joy, with some of the participants wearing ugly, matching sweaters that grandma knitted and a brother and sister caught on camera fighting over who gets to sit in the front.

And in the center of the photo is a girl with green eyes, tan skin and blond curly hair. She is Santa Fe High School sophomore Irie Charity, whose racial background is a mix of African, Hawaiian and German.

“Yup, I’m the white words on the chalkboard in that picture,” Charity said. She said everyone knows she is of “mixed” race.

Brandi Wells, program adviser for the African American Student Services program at The University of New Mexico, said coming from two different racial backgrounds impacts even the most minute details of your home life.

She should know, as she is a mix of African-American and Hispanic.

“Even your menu at home becomes huge, like I grew up eating fried chicken and enchiladas. I was eating jambalaya one day and beans and chile the next,” Wells said.

Is growing up with a mix of two (or more) racial and cultural backgrounds difficult? Wells thinks so.

“America’s not ready to handle mixed people,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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Shades of Race: How Phenotype and Observer Characteristics Shape Racial Classification

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-11-27 02:52Z by Steven

Shades of Race: How Phenotype and Observer Characteristics Shape Racial Classification

American Behavioral Scientist
Published online before print 2015-10-28
DOI: 10.1177/0002764215613401

Cynthia Feliciano, Associate Professor of Sociology; Associate Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies
University of California, Irvine

Although race-based discrimination and stereotyping can only occur if people place others into racial categories, our understanding of this process, particularly in contexts where observers categorize others based solely on appearance, is limited. Using a unique data set drawn from observers’ assessments of photos posted by White, Black, Latino, and multiracial online daters, this study examines how phenotype and observer characteristics influence racial categorization and cases of divergence between self-identities and others’ classifications. I find that despite the growth in the multiracial population, observers tend to place individuals into monoracial categories, including Latino. Skin color is the primary marker used to categorize others by race, with light skin associated with Whiteness, medium skin with Latinidad, and, most strongly, dark skin with Blackness. Among daters who self-identify as Black along with other racial categories, those with dark skin are overwhelmingly placed solely into a Black category. These findings hold across observers, but the proportion of photos placed into different racial categories differs by observers’ gender and race. Thus, estimates of inequality may vary depending not only on how race is assessed but also on who classifiers are. I argue that patterns of racial categorization reveal how the U.S. racial structure has moved beyond binary divisions into a system in which Latinos are seen as a racial group in-between Blacks and Whites, and a dark-skin rule defines Blacks’ racial options.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Taye Diggs Isn’t Wrong (Or Right) About His Son’s Biracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-27 02:20Z by Steven

Taye Diggs Isn’t Wrong (Or Right) About His Son’s Biracial Identity

The Establishment

Jessica Sutherland, Marketing Director

In October, Taye Diggs released Mixed Me! as a followup to his first children’s book, 2011’s Chocolate Me! While Chocolate Me! was inspired by Diggs’ experiences as a black child in a predominantly white neighborhood, Mixed Me! focuses on the hope he has for his biracial son.

While doing press for the book this month, Diggs (aka my most famous Twitter follower, and probably yours too) enraged a lot of people by choosing to describe his 6-year-old son Walker as biracial, rather than black, in order to acknowledge both of his parents’ cultures (Walker’s mother is the actress/singer Idina Menzel, who is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent)…

…The controversy has stirred up fresh debate about the divisive issue of biracial self-identification—a divisiveness I, and many other mixed-race people, have experienced firsthand. Personally, as a biracial American, I prefer to be identified as such. But my Establishment colleague, Ijeoma Oluo, who is also biracial, prefers to identify as black.

Neither of us are wrong…

Read the entire article here.

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Call for Papers: Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2015-11-26 02:49Z by Steven

Call for Papers: Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California

Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea, April 14-15, 2016

The University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies is pleased to announce the call for papers for “Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea” a conference to be held at the University of San Francisco on Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, 2016.

The highlight of the conference will be a keynote address by Emma Teng, Professor of History and Asian Civilizations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

With this conference, the Center plans to provide a forum for academic discussions and the sharing of the latest research on the history and life experiences of mixed-race individuals in China, Japan, and Korea. The conference is designed to promote greater understanding of the cross-cultural encounters that led to the creation of interracial families and encourage research that examines how mixed-race individuals living in East Asia have negotiated their identities. Scholars working on the contemporary period are also welcome to apply.

All participants will be expected to provide a draft of their paper approximately 4 weeks before the conference to allow discussants adequate time to prepare their comments before the conference.

Participants will be invited to submit their original research for consideration in the Center’s peer-reviewed journal, Asia Pacific Perspectives.

Interested applicants should e-mail (by September 15, 2015) the following to, subject line, “Multiracial Identities in Asia”:

  • 300 word (maximum) abstract
  • Curriculum Vitae

Please share this call with any scholars that may be interested.

Contact for Questions:

Melissa S. Dale, Ph.D.
Executive Director & Assistant Professor
University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies

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‘Evoking The Mulatto’ In Mixed-Race America

Posted in Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-24 17:00Z by Steven

‘Evoking The Mulatto’ In Mixed-Race America

On Point with Tom Ashbrook
WBUR 90.9 FM
Boston, Massachusetts

Tom Ashbrook, Host


(Clockwise From Top Left) Filmmaker Lindsay Catherine Harris, Ko Smith, Kailya Warren and Bryant Koger in still images from Harris’ “Evoking the Mulatto” multimedia project. (Courtesy the Filmmaker)

Mixed-race America in the time of Black Lives Matter and demographic change. We’ll talk race, identity and the film project “Evoking the Mulatto”.

Mixed race America is a fast-growing piece of the American pie. Ten percent of American births now, and growing. Until 1967, interracial marriage was illegal in many states. Today, relationships regularly cross all the old racial lines. What is it like to be that American? A new film project with the provocative title “Evoking the Mulatto” talks with lots of mixed race Americans about their everyday experience and their most intimate thoughts on love, beauty, justice, racial identity, and the American future. This hour, On Point, we’re listening to mixed race Americans.

Listen to the story (00:47:49) here. Download the story here.

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Maybe you don’t say you’re black if you’re biracial. But it’s how you’re seen

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-11-23 20:26Z by Steven

Maybe you don’t say you’re black if you’re biracial. But it’s how you’re seen

The Guardian

Zach Stafford, Contributing Writer
Chicago, Illinois

No matter how I identify or how I feel, it’s my skin color that determines how I’ll be treated

Like every young black man I know, I remember the moment when my parents sat me down for “the talk” about the very real danger that comes from being young, black and male in the US. My mother and step-father sat me down one day when I was about 15 years old and told me that that now that I was getting older, I needed to be careful.

The talk always focuses on the police and then wanders into warnings of being followed in department stores and making sure not to put a hood up while walking down a dark city street. For straight boys, it sometimes includes a bit about dating white women.

My parents talked to me about all that, but my talk was distinct – I’m biracial, and the conversation came from my white mother and stepfather. It was they who told me all the ways looking like a black man in America could endanger me, and it was then that I realized that no matter how much I clung to my mixed-ness or interracial-ness, the world didn’t see me that way…

Read the entire article here.

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Call for papers: Mana Tangatarua: Mixed heritages and biculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Posted in Anthropology, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Oceania, Social Science, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2015-11-23 03:09Z by Steven

Call for papers: Mana Tangatarua: Mixed heritages and biculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Dr Zarine L. Rocha

Deadline: 29 February 2016

This volume seeks to explore the diversity of research on “mixed race”/mixed ethnic identity in Aotearoa/New Zealand. “Mixed race” identities have been the subject of growing scholarly interest over the past two decades, particularly in North America and Britain. In multicultural societies, increasing numbers of people of mixed ancestry are identifying themselves outside of traditional racial categories, challenging systems of racial classification and sociological understandings of “race”.

This volume aims to reorient the field of study to look specifically at New Zealand. New Zealand provides a particularly interesting context, with a diverse population, and an unusual state framework around race and ethnicity: mixedness and “mixed ethnic identity” have been officially recognised for more than 20 years. The proposed book will draw on research across disciplines, seeking to explore both the past and the present by looking at how race relates to ethnicity, and how official and social understandings of these terms have changed. It will focus on the interactions between race, ethnicity, national identity, indigeneity and culture, especially in terms of visibility and self-defined identity. The range of themes covered will include the complexity of the lived mixed race experience, the role of indigenous identity, migration, generational change and identity, and the complexities of a multicultural society within a bicultural national framework.

Book Overview

The proposed book will be edited by Dr Zarine L. Rocha (National University of Singapore) and Dr Melinda Webber (University of Auckland).

It will include an introduction written by the editors surveying the current condition of the field of scholarship in the country, putting this in an international context. This will be followed by up to 15 chapters of original research by a selection of senior, mid and early career researchers across a range of disciplines.

Please send your abstracts (150-200 words) and bio (50-100 words) by 29 February 2016, to: Dr Zarine L. Rocha (

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Medicalizing Racism

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-11-22 20:18Z by Steven

Medicalizing Racism

Fall 2014, Volume 13, Number 4
pages 24-29
DOI: 10.1177/1536504214558213

James M. Thomas, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Mississippi

Cassandra Conlin

Sociologist James M. Thomas (JT) examines how public and scientific accounts of racism draw upon medical and psychological models, and how this contributes to our understandings of racism as a medical, rather than social, problem.

In June of 2013, Riley Cooper, a wide receiver for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, was caught on video at a Kenny Chesney concert shouting, “I will jump that fence and fight every nigger in here, bro!” After a massive public uproar about the scene, Cooper, who is white, released a statement announcing that he would speak with “a variety of professionals” in order to ”help me better understand how I could have done something that was so offensive, and how I can start the healing process for everyone.” His team excused Cooper from activities so that he could get expert help to “understand how his words hurt so many.”

It was hardly the first time a high-profile figure sought professional counseling after being associated with an act of public racism. In 2006, while performing at a West Hollywood comedy club, Michael Richards, best known as Kramer from the hit television series Seinfeld, lashed out at hecklers, referring to them as “niggers.” Afterward, Richards’ publicist quickly issued a statement announcing that his client would seek psychiatric help. Paula Deen, Mel Gibson, and John Rocker also pledged publicly to seek treatment for their racism—reflecting a growing tendency to frame racist acts as a mental health issue.

Cassandra Conlin

How did racism come to be seen as psychopathological, and how might that understanding influence efforts to combat racism? With that question in mind, I examined mainstream print media, and conference proceedings, presidential addresses, and debates within the American Psychiatric Association from the period immediately following World War II through the present. I also analyzed public speeches by civil rights activists from the late 1950s through the early 1970s

Over time, this research shows, experts expressed growing concern about the psychopathological consequences of racism on victims, and the effects of being racist—a mental health discourse that is transforming our understanding of the nature and causes of racism. In this medicalized model, new protocols focus on treating those who suffer from the condition of racism. It is an understanding that reflects the “new racism” of the post-civil rights era

Read (for free for a limited time) the article here.

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Correcting the conversation about race

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-11-20 21:42Z by Steven

Correcting the conversation about race

OUPblog: Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Carlos Hoyt

On 6 November 2015, the New York Times featured a poignant five-minute documentary called “A Conversation About Growing Up Black,” produced by Joe Brewster and Perri Peltz. Brewster and Peltz present Rakesh, Miles, Malek, Marvin, Shaquille, Bisa, Jumoke, Maddox, and Myles. The youngest are 10 and the eldest is 25 years old. These nine individuals are very different from one another (hair, height, weight, skin color, voice, manner of speech, body language… all those things that combine to make each of us unique). As with all human beings, each of them is his own universe of individuality and each occupies several universes of other individuals known as family, friends, teammates, school mates, colleagues, and the like.

But we never learn much about the individuality of these individuals: where they live; where they go to school or work; what their worldviews might be on faith, politics, or the environment; what are their talents, their challenges; what they love, and what they dislike. Instead we are introduced to them as racialized human beings, adversely racialized nominally black males to be specific, who by dint of this social relegation are subject to suspicion, discrimination, degradation, and brutality.

We encounter them as living, breathing targets of racism.

We are graced with their eloquent and compelling meditations on racism, their narratives of being misrepresented, misunderstood and mistreated, and their heroic resolve to successfully navigate the mine-infested landscape of the racist country in which they live – for themselves and for their loving, protective, and worried parents.

It is a heartbreaking five-minutes of film.

And it will change nothing…

Read the entire article here.

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When You’re Biracial, There’s No ‘Choice’ in the Matter of Your Blackness

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-20 21:32Z by Steven

When You’re Biracial, There’s No ‘Choice’ in the Matter of Your Blackness

The Root

Charles D. Ellison, Contributing Editor

It’s safe to wager that when well-meaning black actor Taye Diggs took a recent dip into controversy over his biracial son’s identity, there was no less than white former Mrs. Taye Diggs putting on the pressure in the background: “Hey, I’m here. White mom. Don’t forget about me.” And who knows? Taut playpen discussions might have taken an interesting turn. Somewhat understandably, but too publicly and too clumsily, Diggs obliged, and met the ire of many African Americans head on. While Diggs gets some nod for courage, he did rip back a rather mean layer of onion in the process.

But the mistake Diggs made here is not so much the demand that his son stand firm on his biracialness. It’s that he trivializes that kind of existence as a simple mark-the-box choice. Contrary to the warped and misguided conjecture that biracial sons and daughters somehow have more control over their racial selfness than black people do, it’s really a lot more complex than that.

Don’t get me wrong: Diggs loves his son. And he should demand respect and love for the mother from the start. No surprise, even, if it was also Diggs’ conclusion that his boy’s complete embrace of the biracial construct could somehow shield him from the beastly assaults of routine racism.

It won’t…

Read the entire article here.

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