When Change Doesn’t Matter: Racial Identity (In)consistency and Adolescent Well-being

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-03-26 14:54Z by Steven

When Change Doesn’t Matter: Racial Identity (In)consistency and Adolescent Well-being

Sociology of Race & Ethnicity
Volume 1, Number 2 (April 2015)
pages 270-286
DOI: 10.1177/2332649214552730

Rory Kramer, Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology and Criminology
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

Ruth Burke
Department of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania

Camille Z. Charles, Professor of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania

Most theories of racial self-identity argue that a racially inconsistent identity indicates emotional distress and internal turmoil. However, empirical research on racial identity and consistency indicates that racial inconsistency is more common than previously believed, and some argue that it can be a positive adaptation for individuals. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, we explore the degree to which racial identity inconsistency is associated with emotional, social, and academic outcomes. We find that racial inconsistency is not associated with negative outcomes for individuals and, via access to white privilege, may be associated with benefits for some individuals. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for theories of racial identity.

Read the entire article here.

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Independent Lens | Little White Lie | I Identify: What Forces Determine Your Identity?

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2015-03-25 14:18Z by Steven

Independent Lens | Little White Lie | I Identify: What Forces Determine Your Identity?

Independent Lens
Public Broadcasting Service
2015-03-23

In conjunction with Lacey Schwartz’s “Little White Lie,” in which the filmmaker discovers an identity-altering family secret, Independent Lens presents “I Identify” — a digital short featuring nine San Francisco Bay Area residents exploring the forces that shape identity. Who controls your identity? Do you? Do the people around you? Is your identity dictated by society at large?

Little White Lie

Posted in Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States, Videos on 2015-03-24 00:08Z by Steven

Little White Lie

Independent Lens
Public Broadcasting Service
Monday, 2015-03-23, 22:00 EDT (21:00 CDT) (check schedule here)

Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

At age 18, she finally confronts her mother and learns the truth: her biological father was not the man who raised her, but an African American man named Rodney with whom her mother had had an affair. Afraid of losing her relationship with her parents, Lacey doesn’t openly acknowledge her newly discovered black identity with her white family. When her biological father dies shortly before Lacey’s 30th birthday, the family secret can stay hidden no longer. Following the funeral, Lacey begins a quest to reconcile the hidden pieces of her life and heal her relationship with the only father she ever knew.

Schwartz pieces together her family history and the story of her dual identity using home videos, archival footage, interviews, and episodes from her own life. Little White Lie is a personal documentary about the legacy of family secrets, denial, and redemption.

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6 things I wish people understood about being biracial

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-23 00:48Z by Steven

6 things I wish people understood about being biracial

Vox
2015-03-11

Jenée Desmond-Harris, Race, Law, and Politics Reporter

According to the results of a DNA test I took recently, my ancestors on my father’s side are mostly from West Africa (via Arkansas), and the ones on my mom’s side come from Europe. When strangers inquire about my racial background, I tend to try to de-escalate their interest. I say things like, “I’m just your run-of-the-mill mixed person with a white mom and a black dad.” In other words: nothing super exotic. Nothing to see here.

Why am I so dismissive? I’m a little self-conscious about engaging in excessive navel-gazing regarding my racial identity. It hasn’t been particularly difficult for me to manage. If anything, it may have made life easier for me and meant I’ve encountered less racism than people who have two parents who identify as black. I definitely don’t consider myself a “tragic mulatto.”

And with 9 million Americans selecting more than one race on the last Census — not to mention a president who has a white mother and a black father — it’s hard to argue that being “mixed,” “multiracial,” or “mulatto” (I’ve been called all of those) in 2015 is really all that unusual.

But I can’t deny that as long as race and racism are hot topics in our culture, biracial and multiracial people will continue to be a source of curiosity and fascination. Confession: even I find myself looking a little longer at mixed-race families on the streets of Washington, DC, craning my head to see which parent the children resemble most and wondering how they’ll see themselves. As a writer, I’ve been amazed by the way articles about interracial couples, families, or biracial children intrigue readers every single time. My guess is that it’s because these stories provide fodder for people to grapple with the nuances of their own identities and push the limits of racial categories, which is itself sort of fascinating.

So there’s nothing wrong with the continued curiosity about the experience of biracial people — whether their parents identify as black and white or some other combination society sees as interesting — but there are a few things I’d like people to know about those of us who are living it…

Read the entire article here.

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“What Are You?” That’s None of Your Business

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-20 19:25Z by Steven

“What Are You?” That’s None of Your Business

Multiracial Asian Families
2015-03-20

Sharon H. Chang

A couple months ago I got cornered big time by a stranger and their “What are you?” mind-meld. The unsolicited probing went on for a while. Honestly something I’m used to. But this time was crazy multidimensional and unique in a way I don’t know I’ve ever experienced. It involved not only me, but my child, and then HER mixed children by comparison. This stranger just couldn’t resist wanting to know my and my son’s specific mixes, explained her husband was “American,” then wondered out loud if her son would one day look like my son and if her daughter would one day look like me. I was declared white-looking while my son was judged Asian-looking. A picture of her own children was then shown proudly with seeming expectation for praise (which I uncomfortably indulged). There was also some lecturing/instruction on how I should feel about my particular Asian heritage (which she shares) and why I should be able to afford visiting my paternal homeland (which I actually can’t). Finally, because she felt this exchange had laid the groundwork for connectivity, she asked to exchange info and wanted to set up a play date.

First let’s be clear. I don’t doubt the well-meaning and friendly intention of this stranger. I understand that my son and I were visually assessed as having something in common with her which could potentially be the beginning of shared interest. I understand this stranger probably felt her comments were sincere, genuine, even complimentary, and that we would receive them as kind, welcoming and affirming. But here is an important racial truth — there’s a big difference between intention versus impact in inter-race relations. Much of what was said in this exchange was actually incredibly egocentric, driven centrally by one person’s self-interested compulsion (I-need-to-know-I-have-to-know) and seemingly little to no consideration for how my son and I might feel like zoo animals…

Read the entire artricle here.

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Allan Wolper Talks to Lacey Schwartz

Posted in Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-03-16 18:01Z by Steven

Allan Wolper Talks to Lacey Schwartz

Conversations with Allan Wolper
WBGO 88.3 FM
Newark, New Jersey
2015-03-16

Allan Wolper, Professor of Journalism
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, Newark

Lacey Schwartz has written, produced and directed a documentary, Little White Lie, detailing how she grew up as a white, Jewish girl in Woodstock, New York, only to learn in college that her biological father was black and a friend of her family. Her late biological father was Rodney Parker, a legendary New York City college basketball scout from Brooklyn whose life was captured in a book called Heaven is a Playground that was later made into a movie. President Barack Obama said it was the best basketball book he had ever read. The one hour documentary, part of the Independent Lens series will air at 10 p. m. on Monday 23 on PBS stations across the country.

Listen to the interview here.

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MIXED RACE 3.0

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-03-15 01:50Z by Steven

MIXED RACE 3.0

Cultural Weekly
2015-02-28

Ulli K. Ryder, Ph.D.
Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts

Ryder, Ulli K. and Marcia Alesan Dawkins (eds.), Mixed Race 3.0: Risk and Reward in the Digital Age (Los Angeles: USC Annenberg Press, 2015).

We are scholars who have been thinking with a “mixed mind-set” for quite a while. We are also multiracial. For us, being multiracial is a discursive, dialectical method of identity formation concerning mixed race individuals’ and interracial families’ experiences, perspectives, and concerns. As scholars, we research multiracial identities from many different angles, primarily looking at everyday practices such as identity formation and “passing,” but also thinking about how multiracial identities connect to technology, business, politics, activism, and culture.

As a result, this book is about multiracial identities and the risks and rewards they offer. Each chapter dissects this controversial term—multiracial—and the risks and rewards it represents in a unique way. The macro level studies included argue that the historical production of race as a technology of management was used on a large scale to rank and order society, allocate resources and, in the process advantage and disadvantage certain groups. On the other hand, the personal meditations included demonstrate how mixed race operates as an identity and technology of power. By using and redefining racial categories in new ways, these contributions show us how to mobilize race in public and private…

Read the entire article here.

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Was Elliot Rodger Asian American?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-12 01:57Z by Steven

Was Elliot Rodger Asian American?

Reappropriate.co
2015-03-10

Jenn Reappropriate

For weeks following the Isla Vista shooting, killer Elliot Rodger was described in mainstream media as a young White man. This was a convenient narrative: Rodger was seen as yet another example of the maligned young vengeance-seeking White male outcast (like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Adam Lanza): so twisted by violent first-person shooters and sexual-social frustration that he resorted to unthinkable violence.

Yet, for Elliot Rodger, this narrative is complicated by Rodger’s own tangled and confusing relationship with his racial identity: one that defies simple categorization as Rodger being straightforwardly White, or otherwise.

Biologically speaking, Elliot Rodger was biracially White and Asian American. Both Rodger’s biological mother and his step-mother were Asian American, and in his lengthy manifesto, Rodger self-identified as a “beautiful Eurasian”. Upon his death, Rodger was initially identified by law enforcement as an unknown “Asian male”.

Elliot Rodger also viewed his mixed race heritage as elevating him above those he termed as “lowly” “full-blooded Asian” men. In a lengthy 68-page report released last month by the Santa Barbara sheriff’s department, it is revealed that Elliot Rodger frequently conducted Google searches on Adolf Hitler and Naziism. These search terms are consistent with Rodger’s frequent racist web postings that espouse a clear belief in a racial hierarchy which positioned men of colour as sexually and socially inferior to Whites, and which further positioned White women as the most-coveted.

In May of last year, Chauncey DeVega wrote a highly-shared piece for Alternet (“Yes, Elliot Rodger is ‘White': What the Santa Barbara Shooter Can Teach Us About Race and Masculinity”), where DeVega argues that racial identity is predominantly a performance, and that Whiteness is the specific performance of superiority over other people of colour. Both DeVega and Philip of You Offend Me You Offend My Family reason that Rodger’s rejection of his Asianness coupled with internalization of White supremacy was evidence of his Whiteness…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Race in Manchester – Intersections of Class and Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Articles, Economics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-03-03 19:11Z by Steven

Mixed Race in Manchester – Intersections of Class and Mixed Race Identity

Musings of a Mixed Race Feminist: Random diatribes from a mixed race feminist scholar.
Tuesday, 2015-03-03

Donna J. Nicol, Associate Professor Women & Gender Studies
California State University, Fullerton

I spent the last three months of 2014 living in Manchester, England helping my mother-in-law through chemotherapy and navigating the National Health Services bureaucratic red tape to secure caregiver support and the like. While I wasn’t able to keep up with this blog, I did manage to work on my first novel and make note of how I was perceived differently than I normally am in the U.S. Now these perceptions draw on my specific interactions so my observations are certainly not generalizable to all but I found the comparisons revealing.

In the African and South Asian (think Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian) community of Longsight, being mixed race (as determined by skin color, hair texture and physical markers of mixed race identity) was not as common as in other parts of Manchester which were predominantly white. In Longsight, I felt like the odd person out and though I have traveled to England many times before (mostly London and Manchester), I was not cognizant of being one of the few mixed folks in the bunch until I stayed more than a week in the area. Home to mostly first generation immigrants to the U.K., Longsight appeared to demonstrate a kind of “racial insularity” that I had not experienced in other parts of the city. Mixed race couples were, in fact, quite rare to find…

Read the entire article here.

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Mr. Spock, Mixed-Race Pioneer

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-02 02:04Z by Steven

Mr. Spock, Mixed-Race Pioneer

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio
2015-03-01

Steve Haruch

At a time when the mere sight of Petula Clark touching Harry Belafonte’s arm held the potential to upset delicate sensibilities, the half-human, half-Vulcan character Mr. Spock embodied an identity rarely acknowledged, much less seen, on television: a mixed-race person.

Sure, the mixing of races was allegorical in Spock’s case, as was the brilliantly subversive mode for social commentary on Star Trek. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t resonate.

In 1968 — the year Clark made contact with Belafonte, and the same year the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” caused much consternation for network executives who feared backlash against the interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura — a young girl wrote a letter to Spock, care of FaVE magazine. In the letter, she makes the connection between Spock’s fictional identity and her own very real situation:

“I know that you are half Vulcan and half human and you have suffered because of this. My mother is Negro and my father is white and I am told this makes me a half-breed. In some ways I am persecuted even more than the Negro. The Negroes don’t like me because I don’t look like them. The white kids don’t like me because I don’t exactly look like one of them either.”

Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock, wrote a long and thoughtful response that reads, in part:

“Spock learned he could save himself from letting prejudice get him down. He could do this by really understanding himself and knowing his own value as a person. He found he was equal to anyone who might try to put him down — equal in his own unique way.

You can do this too, if you realize the difference between popularity and true greatness.”

Spock certainly knew what “true greatness” was all about. You didn’t have to be mixed-race to feel this kind of connection to Spock, though…

Read the entire article here.

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