In Plain Sight: Changing Representations of “Biracial” People in Film 1903-2015

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2017-02-09 21:26Z by Steven

In Plain Sight: Changing Representations of “Biracial” People in Film 1903-2015

Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
December 2016
247 pages

Charles Lawrence Gray

A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School, Marquette University, In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Educational Policy and Leadership)

Rooted in slavery, the United States in both law and custom has a long history of adhering to the one drop rule–the stipulation that any amount of African ancestry constitutes an individual as black. Given this history, decidedly mixed race people have been subjected to a number of degrading stereotypes. In examining the three broad themes of the tragic mulatto, racial passing, and racelessness in cinema, this dissertation asks to what extent film representations of mixed race characters have had the capacity to educate audiences beyond stereotypes. Although a number of film scholars and critics have analyzed mixed race characters in American cinema, there is no treatment spanning the last century that comprehensively analyzes each film’s capacity to diminish racism.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Exploring Classification of Black-White Biracial Students in Oregon Schools

Posted in Dissertations, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-01-25 20:55Z by Steven

Exploring Classification of Black-White Biracial Students in Oregon Schools

University of Oregon
December 2012
145 pages

Deana M. James

Presented to the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership  and the Graduate School of the University of Oregon in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Multiracial children constitute one of the fastest growing racial groups in the United States. However, biracial children, in particular Black-White biracial children, often are not recognized in the educational system. For instance, the current classification of Black-White biracial students in the state and federal educational systems is not disaggregated and does not allow for analyses of educational outcomes for this population. Not only is this population invisible in state education data, the demographic data at the school level often fail to represent this population. Not acknowledging multiple heritages dismisses the identity and experiences of students who are multiracial and thus symbolically negates a part of who they are. Additionally, multiracial students may be classified in a single category by administrators for the purposes of schools and funding. This study offers the perspective of administrators and current state and federal policies on this issue as applied to Black-White self-identified children and describes the complexities and relevance of addressing multiracial policies in educational systems. An ecological theoretical framework is used to explore four research questions in this area. Data were collected from seven school district administrators across Oregon through semi-structured interviews and document analysis. Relationships in the data between responses and procedures from the seven sampled school districts are examined. Results suggest that across the seven school districts in this study, implementation of the policies and procedures of racial and ethnic categorization varied substantially. Furthermore, even though this revised race and ethnicity reporting policy was in part created to more accurately represent the multiracial population, it may actually be obscuring the multiple identities of these students. Detailed policy implications are discussed in further details in the Conclusions chapter.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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White Mothers of Black Biracial Children: Mixed Race as the New Mulatto

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-11-27 23:16Z by Steven

White Mothers of Black Biracial Children: Mixed Race as the New Mulatto

Colorado State University
Summer 2016
101 pages

Erin Halcyon Bell

In partial fulfillment of the requirements For the Degree of Masters of Arts

This research explores how White women perceive their roles as parents to “mixed” race or biracial Black children. This qualitative project analyzes data from in person interviews, photographs and comments posted on Internet blogs, Facebook fan pages of mixed race children. Core elements of grounded theory are used as methodology to explore how White women understand themselves in relation to the role they play in pursuing their desire to create a mixed race or biracial child. Emerging themes from this research include: Objectification of Mixed Race Children, “We are going to get designer babies!” Displacing Black Women, and “I have mixed kids, so I can’t be racist.”

Read the entire thesis here.

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Not under my roof: Interracial relationships and black image in post-World War II film

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-25 20:47Z by Steven

Not under my roof: Interracial relationships and black image in post-World War II film

Northern Illinois University
2015
56 pages
Publication Number: 10008811
ProQuest document ID: 1765648575
ISBN: 9781339455150

Andre Berchiolly

This thesis examines the historical implications of miscegenation and interracial interactions between minority males and white females in Post-World War II independent cinema. Elia Kazan’s studio film Pinky (1949) exemplifies the perceived acceptable studio representations of interracial coupling. My examination of Kazan’s film provides a starting point from which to evaluate other textual situations of interracial interaction, particularly in relation to casting. In contrast, Pierre Chenal’s adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son, Sangre Negra (1951) exhibits key differences in interracial depictions between studio productions and independent productions of that era. After a comparative analysis of Kazan’s and Chenal’s films, further exploration of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) as an unintentionally racialized film, allows for an investigation into the casting of Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea as the primary characters. An analysis of these three films permits an evaluation of depictions of miscegenation and interracial interactions through an independent lens, distinguishing between acceptable mainstream allowances (via institutionalize censorship) of such depictions, and the comparative freedoms allotted to independent productions. This thesis provides an overview of the limitations of studio productions and their failures to adhere to changing social conventions, broadening the current discourse of film analysis from more canonized Hollywood films to lesser known and lesser criticized independent films, as well as establishing an understanding of Western culture’s influence upon the censorship of racial depictions during this period.

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Lessons to my child

Posted in Dissertations, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-21 21:14Z by Steven

Lessons to my child

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
May 2012
98 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T3GB221X

Ayanna S. Boyd

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, interracial marriages have continued to increase with 8.4 million people in mixed marriages in 2005. With the increasing number of interracial marriages, there has been a surge of multiracial children who do not fit neatly into our society’s longstanding classification system. As research has consistently validated the realm of racial choices that are now available to biracial children, the parent’s role becomes more important to consider (Rockquemore & Brunsma, 2002). This exploratory study was designed to understand how Black/White interracial parents perceive their children’s identity and how they negotiate identity with their children. Furthermore, the goal of this study is to uncover some of the strategies and lessons they transmit to their biracial children in order to shape their racial identity. This study involved 8 White/Black interracial couples raising biracial children. The children’s ages ranges from 4 to 24. Each couple was interviewed using an audio recorder, and their information was analyzed qualitatively using the grounded theory approach (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). This study revealed major themes connected to interracial couples and their racial perceptions and strategies for their biracial children. These themes included 1) the importance of humanity over race, 2) supportive families, 3) purposeful and deliberate racial strategies (both proactive and reactive) including open dialogue, dolls, books, events and experiences, 4) society’s Hispanic view of their children, and 5) hair issues with biracial girls. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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A comparative study of familial racial socialization and its impact on black/white biracial siblings

Posted in Dissertations, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-09-21 20:35Z by Steven

A comparative study of familial racial socialization and its impact on black/white biracial siblings

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
May 2014
134 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T33N21PQ

Monique Anne Porow

A Dissertation submitted to the Graduate School-New Brunswick Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Graduate Program in Sociology

This dissertation examines the nature of racial socialization within the families of biracial people. Unlike previous studies of racial socialization of children with one Black and one White parent, this project broadens the scope of influential agents of racial socialization. Utilizing an inclusive approach, I examine the role that parents, extended family members, and siblings play in the process of shaping the racial identity development of biracial people. Through the use of a grounded theory approach, I draw upon data from 22 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with people who have one Black and one White parent. I utilize their responses to questions regarding the nature of their relationship with various family members, and the impact of those experiences.

The 22 respondents included in this study composed 10 sibling sets: 8 dyads and 2 triads. This comparative sibling design provides a context ripe with information about the family inaccessible through other study designs. Employing this sibling study, I elucidate the nature of messages conveyed regarding race, from various members of the family, and I theorize these complex and overlooked processes of racial socialization. I outline agent-specific mechanisms of racial socialization within the family illustrating that parents are not the only influential agents as extant literature would suggest. I argue that all members of the family can be influential agents when engaging agent-specific mechanisms of racial socialization. Those mechanisms include: parents acting as direct and strategic agents of racial socialization, extended family members acting as indirect cultivators of group-belonging or exclusion, and sibling ancillary support to biracial people negotiating and developing their racial identities.

There is an interconnectedness of influence that results from these various approaches to racial socialization. I conceptualize these complex and agent-specific mechanisms, through a figure called the Family Nexus of Racial Socialization. This concept enhances our present understanding of how various family members engage in racial socialization, and the interconnectedness of their influence.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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On the color line: the social consequences of White/Black biracial self-categorization

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-21 20:08Z by Steven

On the color line: the social consequences of White/Black biracial self-categorization

Rutgers University, New Brunswick
October 2011
71 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T3V9874P

Leigh Solano Wilton

A thesis submitted to the Graduate School-New Brunswick Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Graduate Program in Psychology

Black/White biracial individuals are marginal group members at the periphery of both Black (i.e., low status) and White (i.e., high status) groups. However, scant research has investigated the consequences of self-categorization for how multiracial people are perceived. The proposed research investigated the extent to which perceptions of White/Black biracial targets depend on their self-categorization (i.e., as Black or biracial). Drawing from social identity theory, I also examined whether perceivers’ race and racial identification moderated responses to biracial targets’ self-categorization, as well as the mechanisms that may account for differential responses to biracial targets (e.g., perceptions of loyalty) that guide perceiver’s evaluations of these targets. Consistent with expectations, Black perceivers saw the biracial target as higher in social status. However, only Black (and not White) perceivers positively evaluated the Black self-categorizing target as more competent than the biracial self-categorizing target. The hypothesis that perceivers higher in racial identification would show more favorability towards the Black self-categorizing target than the biracial self-categorizing target was not supported for either Black or White participants. Moreover, the predicted significant three-way interaction of racial identification with race and condition on disloyalty was not found. Thus, racial identification did not moderate these effects.

Read the entire thesis here.

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The canary in the post-racial coal mine

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-21 19:47Z by Steven

The canary in the post-racial coal mine

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
2013
35 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T30Z71WG

Roxanne Huertas

A Capstone Project submitted to the Graduate School-Camden Rutgers-The State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

The American mulatto has been employed by writers over time to provide commentary on American race relations. We can look to antebellum writers like Lydia Maria Child or William Wells Brown as an example of the state of the black-white dynamic prior to or just following the Civil War. Examining Nella Larsen’s Passing can give insight into the status of race relations during the Harlem Renaissance. But as America has evolved into a so-called post-racial society, does the mulatto still serve as a vehicle for commentary on American race relations? Through a brief examination of earlier examples of literature with these biracial characters coupled with an in depth analysis of two contemporary novels, Danzy Senna’s Caucasia and Heidi Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, this paper will show several of the ways in which the mulatto does provide a model in which to gauge American race relations, for better or for worse.

Read the entire project here.

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The Heart of Whiteness: Interracial Marriage and White Masculinity in American Fiction, 1830-1905

Posted in Dissertations, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-08-16 00:58Z by Steven

The Heart of Whiteness: Interracial Marriage and White Masculinity in American Fiction, 1830-1905

Washington University in St. Louis
August 2015
201 pages

Lauren M. W. Barbeau

A dissertation presented to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences of Washington University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Building on whiteness scholars’ notion that whiteness can be gained, my dissertation argues that a property in whiteness, and its attendant privileges, can be lost. By examining representations of interracial marriage in American literature between 1830 and 1905, I identify marriage across the color line as one of the primary modes through which white men can lose their privilege. Interracial marriage violates what I term the marriage contract, a tri-party agreement between man, woman, and nation that guaranteed democratic rights to white men and privileges to their dependents in return for white-white marriage. Men who violated this contract by marrying exogamously suffered the loss of their property in whiteness. Literary depictions of interracial marriage occur most frequently within a genre of fiction critics have termed “tragic mulatta” plots. While these plots have served as important sites for exploring black femininity in the nineteenth century, I call attention to the presence of the white male characters, or white suitors, who court the mulattas and play key roles in making the narrative tragedy possible. The white suitor faces his own tragedy as his involvement with a black lover leads to his identity crisis and subsequent loss of privilege. Antebellum and postbellum, black and white, egalitarian and racist authors alike shared an interest in how interracial marriage affects white masculinity. I conclude that this topic interested authors during the nineteenth century because the white suitor and his tragedy provided a proxy through which to contemplate the nation’s own identity crisis as it approached, survived, and recovered from a civil war that questioned the United States’ self-identification as “a white man’s country.”

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: The Un-Making of a White Man: The Marriage Contract and Intermarriage
  • Chapter 1: “We are All Intermingled, without Regard to Colour”: Amalgamation Debates, White Privilege, and the Rise of Interracial Marriage Plots in the 1830s and ’40s
  • Chapter 2: “Manhood Rights” and Marriage Rites: Whiteness as Property in Clotel and The Garies and Their Friends
  • Chapter 3: “The Perfection of the Individual is the Sure Way to Regenerate the Mass”: Reconstructing White Masculinity in A Romance of the Republic
  • Chapter 4: Caught in a Bad Romance: Interracial Marriage and the White Male Identity Crisis in The Chamber over the Gate and The Clansman
  • Coda: “An Insurmountable Barrier between Us”: The Decline of Interracial Marriage Plots and the Rise of Passing
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education

Posted in Campus Life, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-11 17:07Z by Steven

Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education

University of Maryland
2016
DOI: 10.13016/M2QB78

Aaron Allen

“Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education,” explores how the category of “mixed race” has underpinned university politics in California, through student organizing, admissions debates, and the development of a new field of study. By treating the concept of privatization as central to both multiraciality and the neoliberal university, this project asks how and in what capacity has the discourses of multiracialism and the growing recognition of mixed race student populations shaped administrative, social, and academic debates at the state’s flagship universities—the University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles. This project argues that the mixed race population symbolizing so-called “post-racial societies” is fundamentally attached to the concept of self-authorship, which can work to challenge the rights and resources for college students of color. Through a close reading of texts, including archival materials, policy and media debates, and interviews, I assert that the contemporary deployment of mixed race within the US academy represents a particularly post-civil rights development, undergirded by a genealogy of U.S. liberal individualism. This project ultimately reveals the pressing need to rethink ways to disrupt institutionalized racism in the new millennium.

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