Skin

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-28 17:18Z by Steven

Skin

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-26

Tru Leverette, Associate Professor of English
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

“I wish I had white skin,” my three year-old daughter said, swinging breezily at the park.

Gulp. “Why do you say that, Sweetheart?” I asked, outwardly calm but inwardly exclaiming, Shit! What do I do with this?

“Because all of the friends at school have white skin.” Very matter-of-factly.

***

I think about race a lot, both professionally and personally, and perhaps more than the average person. I work as a professor teaching race-related literature classes and grew up as a “brown-skinned white girl,” as France Winddance Twine has called mixed race girls raised in white households and predominantly white communities. I remember as a preschooler myself in the 1970s telling my teacher that I wished I had long, blonde hair (and presumably pale skin) and, though I’m embarrassed to admit this deep-seated desire I held at the time, pastel underwear. So I wasn’t entirely surprised that my daughter, the beautifully brown-skinned child of her mixed race father and I, would develop feelings similar to those I’d had as a child, given the predominantly white school she attended.

But so soon? And how did she internalize the idea that dark skin is undesirable when she hasn’t been a TV watcher and has been celebrated with Doc McStuffins and brown baby dolls?…

Read the entire article here.

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The Born Identity: Race & Identity in the Multiracial Community

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-28 02:55Z by Steven

The Born Identity: Race & Identity in the Multiracial Community

Districtly Speaking
Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library
3160 16th Street, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20010
Thursday, 2015-01-29, 18:30-20:00 EST (Local Time)

“Race is not a universal concept — the definitions we go by are often arbitrary, uniquely American and undergo dramatic shifts from one generation to the next….perhaps it’s time to let multiracial people steer the conversation, instead of constantly having other who lack their lived experience define what they are, what they’re not and what they can be.” —Zak Cheney-Rice, Identities.Mic

“I self-identify as African American… that’s how I’m treated and that’s how I’m viewed. I’m proud of it.” —President Barack Obama

Join us on Thursday, January 29 for our first town hall of the year examining race and identity in the multiracial community. Our panelists will discuss growing up in a multiracial family, how they choose to identify themselves and how the biracial/multiracial story is being told through pop culture, the media, academia and the Obama Presidency. Got a question for our panelists? Submit your questions when you RSVP! Follow the conversation leading up to the town hall on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! #DSMultiracial

Moderator:

Jonelle Henry, Journalist, Host & Conversation Starter; Founder & Host
Districtly Speaking

Panelists:

  • Joline Collins, Training Coordinator, Spitfire Strategies
  • Alex Laughlin, Social Media Journalist / Audience Engagement Manager, National Journal
  • Steven Riley, Founder & Creator, MixedRaceStudies.org
  • Janea West, Journalist & Cultural Critic
  • Patrick Wilborn, STEM Instructor/Tutor Instructor, College Tribe

For more information, click here.

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Thinking Outside the Box: Multiple Identity Mind-Sets Affect Creative Problem Solving

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-28 02:22Z by Steven

Thinking Outside the Box: Multiple Identity Mind-Sets Affect Creative Problem Solving

Social Psychological and Personality Science
Published online before print: 2015-01-27
DOI: 10.1177/1948550614568866

Sarah E. Gaither, Provost’s Career Enhancement Postdoctoral Scholar
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Jessica D. Remedios, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

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

Samuel R. Sommers, Associate Professor of Psychology
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

Rigid thinking is associated with less creativity, suggesting that priming a flexible mind-set should boost creative thought. In three studies, we investigate whether priming multiple social identities predicts more creativity in domains unrelated to social identity. Study 1 asked monoracial and multiracial participants to write about their racial identities before assessing creativity. Priming a multiracial’s racial identity led to greater creativity compared to a no-prime control. Priming a monoracial’s racial identity did not affect creativity. Study 2 showed that reminding monoracials that they, too, have multiple identities increased creativity. Study 3 replicated this effect and demonstrated that priming a multiracial identity for monoracials did not affect creativity. These results are the first to investigate the association between flexible identities and flexible thinking, highlighting the potential for identity versatility to predict cognitive differences between individuals who have singular versus multifaceted views of their social selves.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Mixed Race Identities: Written by Peter J. Aspinall and Miri Song

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2015-01-24 02:49Z by Steven

Mixed Race Identities: Written by Peter J. Aspinall and Miri Song

The Kelvingrove Review
Issue 13: Dialogue Across Decades (2014-05-27)
5 pages

Mengxi Pang
Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity
University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Aspinall, Peter J. and Miri Song, Mixed Race Identities (Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 218 pp.

As the fastest growing population in Britain, the mixed race group has received increasing attention from academics in social sciences disciplines. The book Mixed Race Identities is one of the latest sociological contributions to mixed race studies, engaging in the ongoing debate on ‘race’, ethnicity and identities. This book succeeds in bringing attention to the British context of mixed race studies, a field that has been long dominated by research in the US. The two authors, Peter Aspinall and Miri Song, are leading researchers of mixed race studies in the UK, who published extensively on identities and identity politics of mixed race populations. Based on their ESRC-funded project ‘The ethnic options of mixed race people in Britain’, this book presents the analytical results derived from questionnaire surveys and follow-up, in-depth interviews with over three hundred mixed race participants from higher education institutions in England. The results depict the unique identity dilemmas faced by mixed race youths. Findings specifically identify how different types of mixed race people understand and articulate their identifications, and eventually question the salience of ‘race’ in shaping individuals’ lived experiences…

Read the entire review here.

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From an Intimate Distance: A Mixed Perspective on Embracing Gratitude

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2015-01-23 02:24Z by Steven

From an Intimate Distance: A Mixed Perspective on Embracing Gratitude

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-08

Kaily Heitz, Guest Blog Coordinator

“The problem is not that we all have these different view of things, it is that we each consider our views the only reality. We forget that life is truly a matter of perspective.” –angel Williams, Being Black [: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace]

I was on the phone with my friend, Lily, the other night, delving into one of our many uniquely personal and academic discussions, when she says, “Forget hallucinogens. If you want to go on a real trip, try becoming a woman.” As a biracial cis-woman, I am unable to comprehend what this transition must be like, but I laugh, recognizing that at the root of her comment is a shared an experience of mixed marginality—of being able to see the ugly truth about race and sex in this country from both sides of the binary.

When I met Lily, she was still coming to terms with her gender identity and has only recently come out as a trans-woman. In our discussions about her transition and some of the challenges she now faces, we found in one another a new commonality of perspective unique to those who find themselves an outlier, a categorical anomaly, within the strictures of our black/white, male/female binary system. “Sometimes I’m read as male, sometimes female, “ or, often, she describes simply being stared at as people try to figure out what she is. While I understand that there are quite a few significant differences between trans and mixed people’s experiences, there are also a striking number of similarities that exist as a result of being cast into a liminal identity. Being stared at, fetishized or ostracized for being something outside the realm of puritanical gender categories is something that I, as a mixed black/white woman, can certainly relate to. Often, we mixed folk bemoan the weight of expectation people unfamiliar with our unusual, unidentifiable looks place upon us. Certainly we have every right to complain about being asked again and again what we are instead of being recognized for the people we know ourselves to be. This is part of our experience. But with our liminal perspectives, also comes a grace and maturity of wisdom that deserves equal attention and celebration. What Lily expressed to me that night as she discussed her experiences of living once as a man and now sometimes read as a woman, was her unique ability to really see and understand how being a man or woman in this society affects your quality of life. And isn’t this similar to many interracial families and mixed people’s understanding of how deeply one’s perceived race truly affects one’s life?

As incredibly difficult a journey Lily is on, I deeply respect her ability to find cause to celebrate, or at least appreciate, her unique perspective on gender. This, I think, is something that we in the mixed community can also draw from. The “Tragic Mulatto” trope has been used to dissuade people from entering interracial relationships by conveying mixed children as perpetually lonely and confused outsiders. To be mixed, then, is seen as a weakness. But after having attended the Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) Conference in Chicago, I, along with the 600+ other attendees, would probably have to disagree. We are clearly not alone and if we are outsiders, we are only outsiders to a structure that has historically been used to perpetrate structural inequity and oppression….

Read the entire article here.

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The Children of Loving v. Virginia: Living at the Intersection of Law and Mixed-Race Identity

Posted in Census/Demographics, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-01-21 02:27Z by Steven

The Children of Loving v. Virginia: Living at the Intersection of Law and Mixed-Race Identity

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Special Lecture
University of Michigan
2015-01-19

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History
University of Michigan

University of Michigan Law School Prof. Martha S. Jones, who codirects the Program in Race, Law & History​, addresses her own experience as a mixed race woman and explores issues facing contemporary society as the featured speaker at Michigan Law’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Jan. 19, 2015.

Presenting “The Children of Loving v. Virginia: Living at the Intersection of Law and Mixed-Race Identity,” Jones uses lived experience to open up an understanding of how legal culture has wrestled with the idea that Americans might check more than one box.

View the video (00:37:05) here.

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So what are you anyway?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-20 19:50Z by Steven

So what are you anyway?

CYF News (CYF News is the newsletter for the Children, Youth and Families Office)
American Psycological Association
August 2013

Mahogany L. Swanson

Individuals in the U.S. with one Black and one White parent use the concept of “race switching” as one mechanism for coping with pressures of racial identity.

Although biracial individuals include any persons with parents of differing race, this paper uses the term biracial to identify any individual whose parents are of African and European descent. Biracial individuals, or individuals with one black and one white parent, growing up in the United States develop a necessary coping mechanism whereby they are able to race switch. Race switching (see Wilton, Sanchez, & Garcia, 2013) allows individuals to identify and de-identify with different parts of their identity. This process of identification and de-identification is often dictated by the constraints or opportunities in the social milieu. Although viewed by some as opportunistic, an often-hostile environment may compel the need for racial fluidity in many self-identified biracial and multiracial individuals; however, the consequences of race switching can be deleterious for these individuals.

Multiracial and biracial individuals experience unique challenges with regards to their racial self-identification. Although in 1967 the Supreme Court ruled that the criminalization of miscegenation by the state was unconstitutional it was not until 2000 that the children of such marriages were permitted to self-identify as biracial on the national census (Roth, 2005). Additionally, in a study conducted by Herman (2004), biracial individuals with at least one black ancestor reported significantly more perceived discrimination than any other minority monoracial group, including Blacks (Herman, 2004). This finding is disconcerting given that Jackson, Yoo, Guevarra, & Harrington (2012) found individuals expressing greater amounts or perceived racial discrimination concomitantly reported lower levels of psychological adjustment.

This racial discrimination can result in the individual de-identifying with his or her biracial or multiracial identity, and choosing to self-identify with the more accepted minority and monoracial race. Historically, the singularly black identity was given to all biracial and multiracial individuals, regardless of whether they espoused this identity. Coined the “one-drop rule“, and often a means of hegemony, an individual with one black ancestor was considered singularly black.  Overtime, this method of racial reporting was accepted and used by Blacks and Biracials alike (Roth, 2005).

In addition to the one-drop rule, racial classification is frequently done through a process known as physiognomy, or the practice of making decisions about a person’s race based off his or her physical appearance. In a national longitudinal study conducted by Doyle and Kao (2007), 97 percent of self-identified biracial individuals who believed they appeared more black were identified by others as looking more black, where as only 17 percent of self-identified biracial individuals who believed they appeared more white were also described as being white by an outside observer. According to Doyle & Kao (2007), black/white biracial individuals are often compelled by society to self-identify as black due to physiognomy; whereas those minorities with lighter skin color, such as Native and Asian Americans are often given more latitude in terms of self-identification. The last three types of racial self-identification used by biracial individuals include: singularly white, border identity, protean and transcendent identity (see Roth 2005; Hitlin, Brown, and Elder, 2007)…

Read the entire article here.

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“Funny—You Don’t Look Jewish!”: Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Identities of Children of Asian American and Jewish American Spouses

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-19 02:09Z by Steven

“Funny—You Don’t Look Jewish!”: Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Identities of Children of Asian American and Jewish American Spouses

Journal of Jewish Identities
Issue 8, Number 1, January 2015
pages 129-148

Helen Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Noah Leavitt, Research Associate
Department of Sociology
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Rachel Williams
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Who is a Jew? What does it mean to be Jewish? Often connected to these questions is the subject of intermarriage among Jewish Americans, a demographic reality that has long been understood as problematic and threatening to the Jewish people because of the supposed dilution, and possible extinction, of Jewish identity and community that will necessarily follow when a Jew marries a non-Jew. Often, the most pressing concern regarding intermarriage is its impact on the Jewish identity of the children and grandchildren of these relationships. Will the offspring of intermarriage identify as Jewish? If so, what does Jewish identity mean for these individuals? Furthermore, what impact does Jewish identification or non-identification mean for the continuity of the Jewish people?

Currently, the debate regarding the continuity of Jewish identity and peoplehood as it pertains to intermarried couples and their children is unresolved, especially within the realm of academic scholarship pertaining to this subject. Most notably, the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Portrait of Jewish Americans acknowledges that, according to its findings, support exists for both sides of the debate. In their discussion of the Pew survey, Gregory A. Smith and Alan Cooperman note that adult children of intermarriage are more likely to identify as religiously agnostic, atheist, or nothing in particular than those born to two Jewish parents. This difference may suggest the eventual erosion of Jewish religious identification as a result of intermarriage. Smith and Cooperman also note, however, an increase in Jewish identification in adulthood among offspring of intermarriage. Thus while intermarriage may be leading to a significant decrease in religious identification, it may be contributing to an increase in a different type of Jewish identification that is no less important.

Some scholars have argued that the debate and scholarship regarding intermarriage as assimilation and an erosion of Jewish authenticity stifles innovative ways to think about and encourage more nuanced conceptions of Jewish identity and, subsequently, Jewish belonging and community. These critiques often point to the importance of broadening our understanding of Jewish identity through frameworks and methods that complicate common notions of Jewish authenticity based in religiosity and descent.

Our exploratory qualitative study of adult children born to Asian American and Jewish American spouses adds to the debate regarding intermarriage and Jewish authenticity by investigating how Jewish identity is negotiated through the lenses of religion and race. We argue that multiraciality and Jewish identity are intrinsically connected for respondents in our sample. Our work derives from a larger project on intermarriage between Jewish Americans of any racial or ethnic background and Asian Americans of any ethnic or religious background.

More specifically, we seek to understand how children of mixed backgrounds experience and think about their Jewish identity in light of their position as children of intermarried spouses who are ethnically, religiously, and racially different. While our findings are not generalizable to a larger population, they do call into serious question the conceptualization and, for some, the strongly held belief that intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews necessarily results in an erosion of Jewish identity and community through children and subsequent generations. Rather, our interviews with children of multiracial intermarriages point to the maintenance of many traditional markers of Judaism and Jewish identity commonly associated with certain institutional affiliations at the same time that they challenge and offer newer understandings of Jewish authenticity through the lens of external and internal racial identification. Thus, our findings emphasize the importance of understanding these kinds of identity negotiations within a larger national landscape that is increasingly multiracial and multicultural. Put differently, the U.S. population, including its Jewish and Asian American populations, is becoming increasingly multiracial and multiethnic and is doing so, in large part, through intermarriage broadly construed. In this sense, our work highlights the importance of understanding how our respondents think about their identity, whether racial, ethnic, or religious, within a demographic landscape that is changing at a pace much faster than the debate regarding intermarriage fully acknowledges.

The data for this paper comes from qualitative in-depth interviews conducted in 2011 with twenty-two adult children, ages eighteen to twenty-five, of Jewish and Asian intermarriages, residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and in parts…

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Implicit Attitude Generalization From Black to Black–White Biracial Group Members

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-17 20:30Z by Steven

Implicit Attitude Generalization From Black to Black–White Biracial Group Members

Social Psychological and Personality
Published online before print: 2015-01-13
DOI: 10.1177/1948550614567686

Jacqueline M. Chen, Post-doctoral Scholar
Department of Psychology
University of California, Davis

Kate A. Ratliff, Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of Florida

We investigated whether Black–White biracial individuals are perceived as Black in the domain of evaluation. Previous research has documented that White perceivers’ negative evaluation of one Black person leads to a negative implicit evaluation of another Black person belonging to the same minimal group. We built upon this out-group transfer effect by investigating whether perceivers also transferred negative implicit attitudes from one Black person to a novel Black–White biracial person. In three experiments, participants learned about a Black individual who performed undesirable behaviors and were then introduced to a new group member. White perceivers formed negative attitudes toward the original individual and transferred these attitudes to the new group member if she was Black or Biracial, but not if she was White (Experiment 1) or Asian (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 demonstrated that only White participants exhibited transfer to the new Black and Biracial group members; Black participants did not.

Read or purchase the article here.

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You Can be Both! (And Not In the Way You Might be Thinking)

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2015-01-15 21:31Z by Steven

You Can be Both! (And Not In the Way You Might be Thinking)

Mixed In Canada
2015-01-14

Rema Tavares

Dr. Maria P. Root’sBill of Rights for Racially Mixed People” has greatly influenced how many mixed-race folks identify today. One of the things I learned from the Bill was that I had the right to identify however I wanted to, regardless of how my family, friends, society etc thought I should identify. On top of that, I had the right to change my identity as many times as I felt necessary throughout my life. To that point, I have identified as a lot of things during my 30 years on this earth. As a young child who understood nothing about race, growing up completely surrounded by white folks, I thought I was a mutated white person (*cringe*). Once I realized that I was in fact Black at around 8 years old, I was incredibly happy and immediately began to identify that way (or as “Jamaican” again in my limited understanding of race, conflating race & nationality). Named after my grandmother whom I loved dearly, I was so happy to find out that I was Black, just like her. Despite having a white mother, for years I avoided a mixed-race identity, because for the longest time it didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel mixed. I felt Black…

Read the entire article here.

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