Passing up the race: Students share stories of racial “passing”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-02-14 17:59Z by Steven

Passing up the race: Students share stories of racial “passing”

Polaris Press
The Ann Richards School For Young Women Leaders
Austin, Texas

It was one of the first weeks of sixth grade when Lanna Ahlberg found herself at school talking on the phone in Traditional Mandarin with her Taiwanese grandmother.

Hanging up the phone, Ahlberg found a number of girls staring at her.

“In sixth grade, a lot of people thought I was Hispanic or white because I have chocolate hair, like it’s not black hair. My eyes aren’t as prominent,” Ahlberg, now in eighth grade, said. “My mom is Taiwanese and my dad is half Swedish.”

If you’re a person of color who has ever been mistaken for white, you’ve experienced the phenomenon known as “white passing.”

Simply defined, White passing is when a person of color is perceived as white at any point in their life…

Read the entire article here.

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Meet the New Student Activists

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-10 02:18Z by Steven

Meet the New Student Activists

The New York Times

As told to Abby Ellin

Young African-Americans and their allies are demanding change, leading people of all backgrounds to talk about issues that have lain dormant for decades. What do they want? Inclusion and representation — now. Here, seven students talk about the problems, the protests and themselves.

AMANDA BENNETT University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Bio: Senior, English/African-American studies; co-organizer of We Are Done movement; producer and co-author of “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem” video

My Story: I am totally African-American. My grandfather was a sharecropper in rural Alabama who moved to Atlanta and became a mechanic and worker at General Motors, so I grew up in Atlanta around middle-class black people. To come to Alabama and see this kind of segregation was horrifying to me. A lot of people who were impoverished 50 years ago, around the time of Selma, are still impoverished… .Nothing has changed structurally…


“Black women are at the bottom of the totem pole. When you free women of color, you free everyone.” — Nailah Harper-Malveaux Credit Fred R. Conrad for The New York Times

Bio: Senior, American studies/theater studies; director of theatrical productions that tell the stories of African-Americans

My Story: I’ve been surrounded by social justice and law my whole life. My mom is a civil rights lawyer turned law professor at Catholic University, while my dad is U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council. My dad is Cherokee and Macanese, from Macau, and my mom is Creole, a mixture of Spanish and black descent. I don’t look white but I don’t look black, either. I identify as Indian and black. Because I’m mixed I have been very conscious of race my whole life, which is probably why I’ve participated in so many political events at Yale, including the midnight march to walk the demands to the president’s house. It was very empowering…

Read the entire article here.

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In “The Alexander Litany,” intersectionality collides with campus

Posted in Articles, Arts, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-06 02:38Z by Steven

In “The Alexander Litany,” intersectionality collides with campus

North by Northwestern

Lauren Sonnenberg

Roger Mason as Clarence, Eliott Sagay as Joseph, Grant Lewis as Jackson, Jeff Paschal as Max. Photo by Alexandria Woodson

“Look into my eyes and you’ll see that fear ain’t only skin deep, at least not for me,” implored Max Alexander, protagonist of The Alexander Litany, at an open mic reading on an unnamed college campus in Southern California.

Kori Alston, 20-year-old playwright and Communication sophomore, first spoke these words at a 2014 slam poetry competition. To follow, he wrote them into his new play, creating Max Alexander, a young man who contemplates his racial and sexual identity, as a means to express his frustration. The final product was performed as a staged reading in Shanley Pavilion January 15-16, 2016.

“In every good slam poem there is universal truth, there is personal truth, and then there is a kind of truth for the audience,” Alston said…

…Like Alston, Alexander grew up with a white mother and an absentee Black father. Both struggled with their relationship to a Black world. Both are college students far from home, angry with the racism they face every day. But the boys are different in how they confront their dissatisfaction.

“My relationship with Blackness was with my father. He was such a negative part of my life, and it was easy to associate Blackness with the bad parts of my father. I wanted to be white,” Alston said.

As someone with a white mother and Black father, Alston used to refuse to racially identify, partially because he began to dislike the Black parts of himself, he said. As he got older, Alston said he began to confront racism by a “Fuck you; I’m Black” attitude and growing his hair out to emphasize his Black identity.

He vacillates between wanting to disrupt spaces and make noise every time he hears a Black person was killed, to trying to find a safe space to challenge white audience members’ way of thinking…

Read the entire article here.

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Students propose multiracial peer liaison program

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-04 23:08Z by Steven

Students propose multiracial peer liaison program

Yale Daily News
New Haven, Connecticut

Monica Wang, Staff Reporter

When Chandler Gregoire ’17 stepped onto Yale’s campus as a freshman more than three years ago, she was assigned two peer liaisons: one from the Afro-American Cultural Center and the other from the Asian American Cultural Center. Ethnically, Gregoire explained, she is half white, one-quarter Black and one-quarter Asian, and Yale felt compelled to match her multiple identities with the appropriate cultural resources.

A well-established initiative under the Yale College Dean’s Office, the peer liaison program has functioned to connect freshmen of color with the University’s four cultural centers — the AACC, the Af-Am House, La Casa Cultural and the Native American Cultural Center — since 2008. And while multiracial students have served as peer liaisons for these houses in the past, there is currently no formal multiracial peer liaison program to which members of Yale’s growing community of multiracial students can turn for support. Faced with difficulties in navigating her own multiracial identity, especially within the spaces of the existing cultural centers, Gregoire founded the Racial and Ethnic Openness Club with other multiracial friends in the spring of 2014.

Now, REO has proposed the idea of a multiracial peer liaison program. Discussions between students and administrators are ongoing, with several other options for supporting multiracial students also being discussed…

Read the entire article here.

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Biracial Sons More Likely Than Daughters To Identify As Black

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-02-04 02:18Z by Steven

Biracial Sons More Likely Than Daughters To Identify As Black

NBC News

Aris Folley

Black-white biracial sons of interracial parents, in which one parent is black and the other is white, are more likely than their female counterparts to identify as black, according to a study found in the February issue of the American Sociological Review.

In a sample of more than 37,000 students from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey, data pooled from the 2001, 2002, and 2003 surveys revealed that 76 percent of black-white biracial women identified as multiracial, whereas only 64 percent of black-white biracial men identified as multiracial.

A graph showing surveyed respondents’ self-identification by race. Source: American Sociological Review / American Sociological Review

“I argue that the different ways that biracial people are viewed by others influences how they see themselves,” said Lauren Davenport, an assistant political science professor at Stanford University who produced the study. “Biracial men may be more likely to be perceived as ‘people of color.'”…

Read the entire article here.

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QUALLEN: Healy’s Inner Turmoil, Our Current Conflict

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-31 02:31Z by Steven

QUALLEN: Healy’s Inner Turmoil, Our Current Conflict

The Hoya
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Matthew Quallen, “Hoya Historian”
School of Foreign Service

Last week, President DeGioia accepted a recommendation to scrub the names Mulledy and McSherry from university buildings. The names Freedom and Remembrance took their places. Mulledy and McSherry symbolized what was most odious about Georgetown and the Maryland Jesuits’ history — the conclusion of a century of contest and deliberation about slavery, manumission and race with a mad dash towards a propitious sale.

By contrast, Healy Hall and its namesake, Fr. Patrick Healy, stand as foils in our memory. Healy, after all, was the first black president of a predominantly white institution, as the accolade goes. But for Healy, who desperately toed the opposite side of the color line the situation, was more complicated.

Fr. Patrick Healy was born in 1834 to Mary Eliza — a biracial former slave who had been purchased out of captivity by her soon-to-be husband, Michael. Michael Healy owned 49 slaves on a plantation in Macon, Ga. It was from his mother Mary Eliza that Patrick Healy inherited his vital if contrived one drop rule, which legally classified an individual as black if they possessed even “one drop” of black blood for the purposes of racially discriminating statutes. In his home state, the law considered Patrick Healy to be a slave (such status was usually maternal). So his selection as president of Georgetown in 1873 was nothing short of remarkable. It encapsulates a story of a rise to prominence unexpected for a black American in the mid-19th century. It also mistakenly post-dates Georgetown’s racial progress to 1873, although that transformation came much later…

Read the entire article here.

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Daughters of Interracial Couples are More Likely To Say They are Multiracial

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States, Women on 2016-01-28 22:55Z by Steven

Daughters of Interracial Couples are More Likely To Say They are Multiracial

TIME Magazine

Carey Wallace

Study suggests it’s because they’re considered “intriguing.”

One of the fastest growing racial groups in the country isn’t a single racial group–it’s people from multiracial backgrounds, the children of interracial unions. A new study has found however, that young women are much more likely to call themselves multiracial than young men are.

Since 1967, when the Supreme Court declared state laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional in Loving vs.Virginia, the rate of interracial marriages in the United States has climbed from below one percent to 10% of all new marriages today.

And by 2050, as those numbers continue to rise, social scientists estimate that one out of every five Americans will be mixed-race.

How will this growing population choose to identify themselves? Will they embrace one parent’s background more than the other? Will they create a blend of the two? Or will they create something completely new?

To find out, Lauren Davenport, professor of political science at Stanford, sifted data from tens of thousands of incoming college freshmen with multi-racial backgrounds across the country…

Read the entire article here.

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Author Junot Díaz Packs Thorne Hall

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-27 20:01Z by Steven

Author Junot Díaz Packs Thorne Hall

Oxy Newsroom
Occidental College, Los Angeles, California

Media Contact: Jim Tranquada / (323) 259-2990

Marc Campos/Occidental College

Ranging from profane to profound, from wisecracking to wistful, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz discussed the complexities and heartbreak of race and identity in America with a capacity crowd at Occidental College Tuesday.

For two hours, Díaz mixed readings from his critically acclaimed books The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This Is How You Lose Her with thoughtful, often self-deprecatory answers to questions from the crowd of 800 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members that packed Thorne Hall.

Diaz was introduced by novelist Danzy Senna, Occidental’s writer-in-residence and an old friend, who called him “One of the few writers I teach again and again, year after year … His characters contain multitudes.”

A native of the Dominican Republic who emigrated to the United States as a child, Díaz repeatedly critiqued the idea of authenticity among communities of color – the existence of an internal formula or standard of authenticity that leaves most people believing that their identity, and the lives they lead, are somehow lacking.

“I grew up in central Jersey in a big African-American community, and black folks were no more willing to accept my complexity than white folks … they wanted to deny my multiplicity. They said I was just black. And my Dominican family said we’re not black,” he said. “Neither of these formulas satisfy, because a huge portion of me disappears. I fought tooth and nail so every little part of me could be at the party.”

Such formulas tend to create hierarchies, and “solidarity is impossible with hierarchies,” he continued. “It might give you a little psychic capital, but its disrupts your ability to connect … There’s a lot at stake when a community exercises this kind of internal exclusion.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Race Policy and Multiracial Americans

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Campus Life, Family/Parenting, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-01-27 14:41Z by Steven

Race Policy and Multiracial Americans

Policy Press (Available in North America from University of Chicago Press)
226 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781447316459
Paperback ISBN: 9781447316503

Edited by:

Kathleen Odell Korgen, Professor of Sociology
William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey

Race Policy and Multiracial Americans is the first book to look at the impact of multiracial people on race policies—where they lag behind the growing numbers of multiracial people in the U.S. and how they can be used to promote racial justice for multiracial Americans. Using a critical mixed race perspective, it covers such questions as: Which policies aimed at combating racial discrimination should cover multiracial Americans? Should all (or some) multiracial Americans benefit from affirmative action programmes? How can we better understand the education and health needs of multiracial Americans? This much-needed book is essential reading for sociology, political science and public policy students, policy makers, and anyone interested in race relations and social justice.


  • Introduction ~ Kathleen Odell Korgen
  • Multiracial Americans throughout the History of the U.S. ~ Tyrone Nagai
  • National and Local Structures of Inequality: Multiracial Groups’ Profiles Across the United States ~ Mary E. Campbell and Jessica M. Barron
  • Latinos and Multiracial America ~ Raúl Quiñones Rosado
  • The Connections among Racial Identity, Social Class, and Public Policy? ~ Nikki Khanna
  • Multiracial Americans and Racial Discrimination ~ Tina Fernandes Botts
  • “Should All (or Some) Multiracial Americans Benefit from Affirmative Action Programs?”~ Daniel N. Lipson
  • Multiracial Students and Educational Policy ~ Rhina Fernandes Williams and E. Namisi Chilungu
  • Multiracial Americans in College ~ Marc P. Johnston and Kristen A. Renn
  • Multiracial Americans, Health Patterns, and Health Policy: Assessment and Recommendations for Ways Forward ~ Jenifer L. Bratter and Chirsta Mason
  • Racial Identity Among Multiracial Prisoners in the Color-Blind Era ~ Gennifer Furst and Kathleen Odell Korgen
  • “Multiraciality and the Racial Order: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”~ Hephzibah V. Strmic-Pawl and David L. Brunsma
  • Multiracial Identity and Monoracial Conflict: Toward a New Social Justice framework ~ Andrew Jolivette
  • Conclusion: Policies for a Racially Just Society ~ Kathleen Odell Korgen
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Race Unknown

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-22 23:39Z by Steven

Race Unknown

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Katti Gray

Bryan Lee, a senior at the University of California, Irvine, has noticed that some of his classmates adamantly declare their multiracial heritage while others choose not to identify themselves as being any particular ethnicity.

The half-Korean, half-White biomedical engineering major is co-president of the university’s Mixed Students Organization and says many of the group’s members “absolutely refuse to check any box when they’re filling out forms that ask you to describe your race.” Lee himself has occasionally checked the “other” box in the list of racial identifiers.

It’s an exercise in choice that is driving a gradual but steady uptick in the “race unknown” category of enrollment stats at some colleges and universities. The shift results, in part, from a continuing rise in the number of interracial couples and the children born to those unions. But observers say it also hints at efforts by some current college students to be less fixated on skin color.

“They are the change,” says Arlene Cash, vice president for enrollment management at Spelman College in Atlanta. “They have a very different way of looking at themselves and a much more global perspective of who they are. Many students of mixed races do not want to be pigeon-holed.”…

…Although public funding of college programs is not determined on the basis of race, the racial makeup of a student body is commonly used to track achievement gaps among races. Entities such as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board use the data to measure how well the student population at public universities mirrors the state’s overall racial diversity.

“The ‘race unknown’ factor puts us at a disadvantage in terms of determining what is going on academically with students of color, whom we are quite interested in tracking,” says Todd Schmitz, executive director of university institutional research and reporting for the seven-campus University of Indiana system…

Read the entire article here.

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