As the mixed-race population grows, the stigma of the past fades

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-05-02 04:19Z by Steven

As the mixed-race population grows, the stigma of the past fades (Journal and Courier)
Lafayette – West Lafayette, Indiana

Taya Flores

Gerald and Susan Thomas experienced a hurtful racial climate in Greater Lafayette when they dated during the 1970s.

A drive-by verbal assault in Lafayette early in their marriage is one Gerald still remembers today.

He said the couple was driving in a convertible when some white men called out a racial insult. “Those type of things happen. Fortunately, now I think it’s more subtle,” he said. “It’s still there, but it’s much more subtle than it was in the past.”…

…There can also be discrimination from people who might not approve of a person’s interracial parentage, said Carolyn Liebler, a University of Minnesota sociology professor who studies ethnicity.

That is more common among older generations.

Initially, Robinson’s maternal grandparents did not approve of her parents’ interracial relationship.

“I know my grandparents (mom’s parents) didn’t approve of my mom and dad being together, but once my (older) sister was born they accepted the fact,” she said.

Some black-white biracials can penetrate the color line because they have white relatives. These relatives broaden the biracial’s social connections and improve their access to resources such as good schools or employment networks, Liebler said.

These biracials tend to be better off than their minority counterparts but worse off than whites, according to Liebler…

For example, the percentage of black-white biracials who reported fair to poor health (13.4 percent) was closer to whites than blacks who had relatively poorer health.

However, the percentage for white-Asians (7.8 percent) was closer to Asians. But Asians had relatively better health than whites, according to a sociology study published online in the February edition of the journal Demography.

The research was conducted by Rice University sociologists Jenifer Bratter and Bridget Gorman. They used a seven-year (2001-2007) sample from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national health survey, to examine differences in health as reported by participants.

Many social inequalities, such as poverty or health disparities, are passed down from generation to generation. Factors besides race, such as parents’ occupation and family wealth, childhood upbringing and education, also play a role in a person’s success, Liebler said. But racial stereotypes and discrimination have historically caused differences in these socioeconomic factors even among biracial people.

“This is not turning the world upside down. It’s just sort of adding a nuance,” she said…

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Does Multiracial Matter? A Study of Racial Disparities in Self-Rated Health

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-03-18 21:31Z by Steven

Does Multiracial Matter? A Study of Racial Disparities in Self-Rated Health

Volume 48, Number 1
pages 127-152
DOI: 10.1007/s13524-010-0005-0

Jenifer L. Bratter, Associate Professor of Sociology
Rice University

Bridget K. Gorman, Associate Professor of Sociology
Rice University

How do self-identified multiracial adults fit into documented patterns of racial health disparities? We assess whether the health status of adults who view themselves as multiracial is distinctive from that of adults who maintain a single-race identity, by using a seven-year (2001–2007) pooled sample of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). We explore racial differences in self-rated health between whites and several single and multiracial adults with binary logistic regression analyses and investigate whether placing these groups into a self-reported “best race” category alters patterns of health disparities. We propose four hypotheses that predict how the self-rated health status of specific multiracial groups compares with their respective component single-race counterparts, and we find substantial complexity in that no one explanatory model applies to all multiracial combinations. We also find that placing multiracial groups into a single “best race” category likely obscures the pattern of health disparities for selected groups because some multiracial adults (e.g., American Indians) tend to identify with single-race groups whose health experience they do not share.

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Counting Multiracial People in the Census: The Unfulfilled Wish for More Data

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-03-28 19:57Z by Steven

Counting Multiracial People in the Census: The Unfulfilled Wish for More Data

Racism Review

Jenifer L. Bratter, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Institute for Urban Research
Rice University

People who study the multiracial population are constantly confronted with the problem of small numbers to work with.  A recent article I co-authored on the multiracial health (Bratter, Jenifer and Bridget K. Gorman. Forthcoming. “Does Multiracial Matter? A Study of Racial Disparities in Self Rated Health.” Demography)  required combining seven years of data from a health survey (over 1.7 million cases) to get 20,000 mixed-race folks for analysis.  The 2000 Census, with its “check all that apply” race question, remains the database with the largest number of cases and the 2010 Census will be the first to count race the same way as the preceding installment. While this may sound like a mundane detail, this will allow us to gauge growth, decline, or stability of this population and whether this will affect the population bases of single-race communities.  If the sheer anticipation doesn’t shake you to your core, perhaps you have forgotten the history of introducing this option into the Census…

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