‘Mixed race’, ‘mixed origins’ or what? Generic terminology for the multiple racial/ethnic group population

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-03-11 21:46Z by Steven

‘Mixed race’, ‘mixed origins’ or what? Generic terminology for the multiple racial/ethnic group population

Anthropology Today
Volume 25, Issue 2 (April 2009)
pages 3-8
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8322.2009.00653.x

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, UK

A broad range of terms have been proposed and debated for the ‘mixed race’ population. Dissatisfaction with ‘mixed race’, the term most widely used but contested on the grounds that it references the now discredited concept of ‘race’, has led to the search for an alternative. In 1994 the Royal Anthropological Institute advocated ‘mixed origins’; despite subsequent further efforts, this alternative has gained little momentum. ‘Mixed race’ now competes with terms such as ‘mixed heritage’, ‘dual heritage’, and ‘mixed parentage’ amongst data users.  However, research indicates that the term of choice of most respondents in general population and student samples of this population group is ‘mixed race’, other terms – including ‘mixed origins’ – attracting little support.  Given its dominance, it is premature to argue that the term ‘mixed race’ should be replaced by candidates that are not self-descriptors.

Read the entire article here.

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Concepts, terminology, and classifications for the ‘mixed’ ethnic or racial group

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-03-11 21:39Z by Steven

Concepts, terminology, and classifications for the ‘mixed’ ethnic or racial group

Journal of Epidemiolgy and Community Health
Volume 64, Issue 6 (2010)
Pages 557-560
DOI: 10.1136/jech.2009.088294

Peter J. Aspinall, Reader in Population Health
Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent, United Kingdom

Background: The way to categorise people born of inter-ethnic and racial unions – the ‘mixed’ group – remains unclear and requires new insights, given the increasing size and complexity of the group and its emerging health profile.

Methods: A mixed methods research study focussing on ethnic options of young ‘mixed race’ people (n=326) recruited in colleges and universities investigated respondents’ preferences with respect to concepts, terminology, and classifications.

Results: The overwhelming generic term of choice was ‘mixed race’, widely interpreted by respondents to include mixed minority groups. Respondents were able to assign themselves in a valid way to a 12-category extended 2001 England and Wales Census classification for ‘mixed’, which collapses into five main groupings and also maps back to the census categories. Amongst options tested for census purposes, multi-ticking performed poorly and is not recommended.

Conclusions: A more finely granulated classification for ‘mixed’ is feasible where needed but this requires more extensive testing before it can be judged preferable to a ‘tick one or more’ option that has been shown to have poor reproducibility in validation surveys.

Read or purchase the entire article here.

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Transcending blackness: from the new millennium mulatta to the exceptional multiracial [Aspinal Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2013-10-15 02:23Z by Steven

Transcending blackness: from the new millennium mulatta to the exceptional multiracial [Aspinal Review]

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 5, 2014
pages 850-851
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2013.831934

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, UK

Transcending blackness: from the new millennium mulatta to the exceptional multiracial, by Ralina L. Joseph. Durham and London. Duke University Press. 2013.
xx+ 226 pp., (paperback). ISBN 978-0-8223-5292-1

This book is concerned with representations of mixed-race African American women, notably, the two categories into which fall the mainstream images of mixed-race blackness: the new millennium mulatta. exceedingly tragic, always divided, alone, and uncomfortable, and the exceptional multiracial, unifying, strikingly successful post-racial ideal. The analysed texts which form the main body of the book belong to the 1998-2008 era (following the debates about capture of the multiracial population in the 2000 US Census), a period during which representations crystallized into this two-sided stereotype. Both are rooted in a condemnation of blackness which is either implicit as where blackness is stigmatized through the presentation of tragic mulatta inevitability or explicit, where discarding the burden of blackness means arriving at a safely post-racial state. Both representations take place in the context of gendered and sexualized as well as racialized performances.

An in-depth approach is adopted in which four representative works are examined with regard to the textual nuances that construct the two stereotypes. Part 1 explores the new millennium mulatlas: the bad race girl’ in Jennifer Beals’s portrayal of Bette Porter on the cable television drama The L Word (2004-2008), in which Bette is mired in the tragic misfortune and destiny of the mulatta: and the ‘sad race girl’ in Danzy Senna’s novel ‘Caucasia‘ (1998), which investigates how Senna reinterprets the tragic mulatta heroine in her production of a new millennium mulatta representation. Race and gender arc the drivers that torture the protagonists who are unable to achieve the states of post-race and post-feminism. In part II, ‘The Exceptional Multiracial’. Joseph interrogates representations that develop the character of the racial-transforming mixed-race title character in Alison Swan’s independent film ‘Mixing Nia‘ (1998) and the racial-switching mixed-race contestant in an episode of Tyra Banks’s reality television show ‘America’s Next Top Model‘ (2005). These representations portray blackness as an irrelevant entity for the multiracial, something that can and should be transcended through racialized performances. Blackness, the cause of sadness and pain for the multiracial African American, must be erased or surpassed in order to reach a state of health or success.

These particular works were chosen by Joseph as they were ‘representations of this particular time period and particular subgenre of multiracial African American representations’ and are not isolated representations of mixed-race African Americans but representative texts. Indeed, she contends that contemporary black-white representations do not go beyond this binary, the idea that blackness is a deficit that black and multiracial people must overcome…

Read or purchase the review here.

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The Social Evolution of the Term “Half-Caste” in Britain: The Paradox of its Use as Both Derogatory Racial Category and Self-Descriptor

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2013-09-03 04:48Z by Steven

The Social Evolution of the Term “Half-Caste” in Britain: The Paradox of its Use as Both Derogatory Racial Category and Self-Descriptor

Journal of Historical Sociology
Volume 26, Issue 4 (December 2013)
pages 503–526
DOI: 10.1111/johs.12033

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, UK

The term “half-caste” had its origins in nineteenth century British colonial administrations, emerging in the twentieth century as the quotidian label for those whose ancestry comprised multiple ethnic/racial groups, usually encompassing “White”. From the 1920s–1960s the term was used in Britain as a derogatory racial category associated with the moral condemnation of “miscegenation”. Yet today the label continues to be used as a self-descriptor and even survives in some official contexts. This paradox – of both derogatory racial category and self descriptor – is explored in the context of the term’s social evolution, drawing upon the theoretical constructs of the internal-external dialectic of identification and labelling theory.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The operationalization of race and ethnicity concepts in medical classification systems: issues of validity and utility

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2013-04-18 00:51Z by Steven

The operationalization of race and ethnicity concepts in medical classification systems: issues of validity and utility

Health Informatics Journal
Volume 11, Number 4 (December 2005)
pages 259-274
DOI: 10.1177/1460458205055688

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, UK

This article looks at the operationalization of race and ethnicity concepts in medical classification systems, notably the main bibliographical databases of MEDLINE and EMBASE. In particular, an attempt is made to assess recent changes, including the impact of the 2004 major changes to the MeSH headings for race and ethnic groups, and the introduction of ‘Continental Population Groups’. The underlying conceptual basis of the typologies, their relevance for capturing specific population groups, and their overall usefulness in appraising the literature on ethnic/racial disparities in health are examined. The bibliographical database thesauri reveal the pervasiveness of the notion of the biological basis of health differences by race/ethnicity as well as continuing use of antiquated racial terminology. Their system-oriented terminology is likely to limit the effectiveness of retrieval by users who may lack knowledge of their hierarchical structures.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Mixed Race Identities

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2013-03-26 03:54Z by Steven

Mixed Race Identities

Palgrave Macmillan
2013-08-02
224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780230275041

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, UK

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent, UK

In recent years, Britain has witnessed a significant growth in the ‘mixed race’ population. However, we still know remarkably little about this diverse population. How do young mixed race people think about and experience their multiracial status? What kinds of ethnic options do mixed race people possess, and how may these options vary across different types of ‘mixes’? How important are their ethnic and racial identities, in relation to other bases of identification and belonging? This book investigates the ethnic and racial options exercised by young mixed race people in higher education in Britain, and it is the first to explore the identifications and experiences of various types of mixed race individuals. It reveals the diverse ways in which these young people identify and experience their mixed status, the complex and contingent nature of such identities, and the rise of other identity strands, such as religion, which are now challenging race and ethnicity as a dominant identity.

Contents

  1. Exploring ‘Mixed Race’ in Britain
  2. Racial Identification: Multiplicity and Fluidity
  3. Differential Ethnic Options?
  4. Does Racial Mismatch in Identification Matter?
  5. Are Mixed Race People Racially Disadvantaged?
  6. How Central is ‘Race’ to Mixed Race People?
  7. Rethinking Ethnic and Racial Classifications
  8. Conclusion: What is the Future of ‘Mixed Race’ Britain?
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Is race a ‘salient…’ or ‘dominant identity’ in the early 21st century: The evidence of UK survey data on respondents’ sense of who they are

Posted in Articles, New Media, Religion, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-11-08 22:27Z by Steven

Is race a ‘salient…’ or ‘dominant identity’ in the early 21st century: The evidence of UK survey data on respondents’ sense of who they are

Social Science Research
Available online 2012-11-07
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.10.007

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent

The term ‘master status’, coined by Everett Hughes in 1945 with special reference to race, was conceptualised as one which, in most social situations, will dominate all others. Since then race and other collective social identities have become key features of people’s lives, shaping their ‘life scripts’. But is race still a ‘master’ or ‘dominant identity’ and, if not, what has replaced it? Analyses of recent social surveys show that race has lost its position to family, religion (in the South Asian and Black groups) and (amongst young mixed race people) also age/life-stage and study/work. However, many of these different identity attributes are consistently selected, suggesting the possibility – confirmed in in-depth interviews – that they may work through each other via intersectionality. In Britain race appears to have been undermined by the rise of ‘Muslim’ identity, the increasing importance of ‘mixed race’, and the fragmentation of identity now increasingly interwoven with other attributes like religion.

Highlights

  • Race has lost its dominant position to family, religion, age/life-stage & study/work.
  • Many selected identity attributes work through each other via intersectionality.
  • Race has been undermined by religion, mixedness, & fragmentation of identity.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Mix-d: Museum: Timeline

Posted in Articles, History, New Media, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-06-30 21:55Z by Steven

Mix-d: Museum: Timeline

Mix-d: Museum
Mix-d:
2012-06-30

This work-in-progress Timeline draws on material from a British Academy project conducted by Dr. Chamion Caballero (Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London South Bank University) and Dr. Peter Aspinall (University of Kent) which explored the presence of mixed race people, couples and families in the early 20th century, particularly in the period 1920-1950, a time when racial mixing and mixedness tended to be viewed very negatively by British authorities.

The project sourced a range of archival material from national and local archives. It included official documents, autobiographical recordings and photo and film material to understand how social perceptions of racial mixing and mixedness emerged and the effect they had on the lives of mixed race people, couples and families themselves, as well as their place in shaping contemporary ideas and experiences.

The project’s findings indicated that while mixed race people, couples and families certainly experienced prejudice and hostility in this ‘era of moral condemnation’, they were not inherently ‘tragic’, ‘marginal’ or ‘doomed’, but simply another part of the longstanding diversity and difference that is a feature of British life.

The findings from the research formed the foundation of the three part BBC2 series ‘Mixed Britannia’ presented by George Alagiah and was also the subject of an article in The Guardian.

View the Timeline here.

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Mix-d: Museum

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-03-14 15:41Z by Steven

Mix-d: Museum

Mix-d:™
2012-02-27

Chamion Caballero, Senior Research Fellow
London South Bank University

Peter Aspinall, Reader in Population Health at the Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent, UK

The overall aim of the project is to explore the potential of translating knowledge through technology. Working together with Mix-d, the team will draw on findings from the British Academy project to develop the ‘Mix-d Museum’, an online repository of material and interactive resources.

Hello and a big welcome to our blog! We are delighted to be working with Mix-d: to share the findings of our research on mixed race people, couples and families in early 20th century Britain through the creation of the Mix-d: Timeline. The Timeline will provide highlight many key events in the history of racial mixing and mixedness in twentieth century Britain, as well provide an insight into the everyday lives and experiences of mixed race people, couples and families during this time.

For this first blog entry, we thought we’d say a bit about why we started the research project that the Timeline will draw on and what we found along the way.

As researchers interested in mixed race people, couples and families, we were aware that the little history that had been told about this group—particularly around the interwar period—had assumed that theirs was an inherently negative or problematic experience. We were also aware that such perceptions continued to influence how mixed people, couples and families were seen in Britain today…

…We had hoped to find some records and personal accounts relating to these families and people, but what we found far exceeded our expectations. The project sourced a fantastic range of archival material, including official documents, autobiographical recordings and photo and film material, which has helped us to understand more about the experiences of these families and the effect that official attitudes to racial mixing and mixedness had on their lives…

Read the entire blog post here.

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Is racial mismatch a problem for young ‘mixed race’ people in Britain? The findings of qualitative research

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-02-17 20:07Z by Steven

Is racial mismatch a problem for young ‘mixed race’ people in Britain? The findings of qualitative research

Ethnicities
Volume 12, Number 6 (December 2012)
pages 730-753
DOI: 10.1177/1468796811434912

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent, UK

Peter Aspinall, Reader in Population Health at the Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent, UK

Recent evidence concerning the racial identifications of ‘mixed race’ people suggests growing latitude in how they may identify. In this article, we examine whether mixed race young people believe that their chosen identifications are validated by others, and how they respond to others’ racial perceptions of them. While existing studies tend to assume that a disjuncture between self-identification and others’ perceptions of them is problematic, this was not necessarily the case among our respondents. While a racial mismatch between expressed and observed identifications was a common experience for these individuals, they varied considerably in terms of how they responded to such occurrences, so that they could feel: (1) misrecognized (and there were differential bases and experiences of misrecognition); (2) positive about the mismatch; or (3) indifferent to how others racially categorized them in their day-to-day interactions. Some differences in responses to such mismatch emerged among disparate types of mixed people. This study also found that we need to consider national identity, and other forms of belonging, in making sense of the diverse and often multilayered identifications and experiences of mixed race young people in Britain.

Read or purchase the article here.

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