Multiracialism should not be confused with multiculturalism.

Multiracialism should not be confused with multiculturalism. Where multiculturalism generally promotes the acceptance of divergent people and cultures for the sake of diversity, multiracialism maintains a decidedly conservative agenda of colorblind ideology that strives to blur the color line at the expense of racialized (particularly black) politics, culture, and identity. (I say particularly black because, as critics have long argued, blackness is one of the most, if not the most explicitly, racialized identities in the United States).  The driving force behind multiracialism is not a celebration of racial and ethnic diversity, but rather a disappearing of this diversity and a supposed de-emphasis of race.  Despite its idealized intentions, what multiracialism tends to achieve is a re-emphasis of rigid racial classifications by subsequently “othering” those who cannot “transcend” race.  The politics of multiracialism can only apply to the people who are privileged enough to be seen as, or who see themselves as, “race neutral” or crossover figures, or as racially ambiguous.  It does little to affect the lived realities of those whom society still continues to stereotype and demonize on a daily basis as a result of their explicit racialization, or identifiable racial identity. Furthermore it disregards and de-legitimizes people who choose to identify with, and take pride in their race or ethnicity, whatever that means to them.

Kirin Wachter-Grene, “Charles W. Chesnutt and the Engendering of a Post-Reconstruction Multiracial Politics,” The Conversation, Number 2 (2009-2010).

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