What Racial Discrimination Will Look Like in 2060

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2019-11-30 23:00Z by Steven

What Racial Discrimination Will Look Like in 2060

Scientific American

Marisa Franco

What Racial Discrimination Will Look Like in 2060
Credit: Getty Images

As biracial people become increasingly common in America, bias based on perceived rather than actual identity will too

In 2009, Nathaniel Burrage requested a transfer from his job in Youngstown, Ohio, where he worked as a driver for FedEx. He alleged that he was experiencing ongoing racially motivated harassment. According to Burrage, his supervisor, Dennis Jamiot, alternated between referring to him as “Mexican” and “cheap labor,” and shouted “ándale” and “arriba” at him as he walked by. Soon after, he said his other supervisors began to chime in with the same racist insults, and Jamiot began to lob paper clips and chalk at him. One co-worker asked him to weigh in on whether what was etched on a graffiti wall was true: Mexicans are proof that American Indians had sex with buffalos.

Burrage filed a lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yet, despite the verbal and physical abuse he alleged he’d experienced, his case was dismissed. The reason? Nathanial Burrage was not actually Mexican, or even Hispanic. Burrage was a black/white biracial man experiencing what I have termed in my research as “identity incongruent discrimination.” Identity incongruent discrimination occurs when someone experiences racial discrimination for a race they are misperceived as.

As the browning of America continues, identity incongruent discrimination will only continue to rise. It’ll be a pressing problem for the growing multiracial population—a group that is the fastest growing racial group in America and that’s set to triple in size by 2060. Research finds that members of the multiracial group are more likely to be miscategorized than members of any other racial group. Compared to categorizing people into a single-race category, categorizing someone as multiracial is more mentally cumbersome, takes longer and is less likely to occur. And the most common race that black/white biracial people, like Burrage, are categorized as is Hispanic…

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