Biracial & Multiracial Identity

Books, Book Chapters, & Journal Articles:

  • Daniel, G. R. (2002). More than Black? : multiracial identity and the new racial order. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Tracing the centuries-long evolution of Eurocentrism, a concept geared to protecting white racial purity and social privilege, Daniel shows how race has been constructed and regulated in the United States. The so-called one-drop rule (i.e., hypodescent) obligated individuals to identify as black or white, in effect erasing mixed-race individuals from the social landscape. For most of our history, many mixed-race individuals of African American descent have attempted to acquire the socioeconomic benefits of being white by forming separate enclaves or "passing." By the 1990s, however, interracial marriages became increasingly common, and multiracial individuals became increasingly political, demanding institutional changes that would recognize the reality of multiple racial backgrounds and challenging white racial privilege.

    More Than Black? regards the crumbling of the old racial order as an opportunity for substantially more than an improvement in U.S. race relations; it offers no less than a radical transformation of the nation's racial consciousness and the practice of democracy.

  • Funderburg, L. (1994). Black, white, other : biracial Americans talk about race and identity (1st ed.). New York: W. Morrow and Co.

    In Black, White, Other journalist Lise Funderburg presents the lives and views of forty-six adult children of black-white unions. Topics include love and marriage, racism in the workplace, and bringing up children in a racially divided world.

    The first book ever to explore the lives of adult children of black-white unions, Black, White, Other is for the millions of biracial Americans, and for everyone who is interested in the subject of race and the prospects for achieving true pluraism in America.

  • Gaskins, P. F. (1999). What are you? : voices of mixed-race young people (1st ed.). New York: Henry Holt.

    In the past three decades, the number of interracial marriages in the United States has increased by more than 800 percent. Now over four million children and teenagers do not identify themselves as being just one race or another.

    What Are You? is based on the interviews the author has made over the past two years with mixed-race young people around the country. These fresh voices explore issues and topics such as dating, families, and the double prejudice and double insight that come from being mixed, but not mixed-up.

  • McBride, J. (1996). The color of water : a Black man's tribute to his white mother. New York: Riverhead Books.

    This is a book that will "make you proud to be a member of the human race," says Mirabella, and countless readers have already discovered its power. Written in remembrance of his Polish-born, Southern-raised Jewish mother-who married a black man and raised twelve children, all of whom completed college-The Color of Water is a classic of the memoir genre, a testament to love, and a truly American story.

  • O'Hearn, C. C. (1998). Half and half : writers on growing up biracial and bicultural (1st ed.). New York: Pantheon Books.

    As we approach the twenty-first century, biracialism and biculturalism are becoming increasingly common. Skin color and place of birth are no longer reliable signifiers of one's identity or origin. Simple questions like What are you? and Where are you from? aren't answered--they are discussed. These eighteen essays, joined by a shared sense of duality, address the difficulties of not fitting into and the benefits of being part of two worlds. Through the lens of personal experience, they offer a broader spectrum of meaning for race and culture. And in the process, they map a new ethnic terrain that transcends racial and cultural division.

  • Phinney, J. S., & Alipuria, L. L. (1996). At the interface of cultures: multiethnic/multiracial high school and college students. The Journal of Social Psychology, 136(2), 304-314.

    Data from 2 studies conducted in the United States - 1 with high school students and 1 with college students - are reported. Two hundred forty-one multiethnic/multi-racial youths (also termed biethnic/biracial, mixed ethnic/mixed racial, and interracial) were selected using 2 large surveys and compared with 1,041 of their monoethnic peers. Although more than 10% of the students across both studies were multiethnic, less than one third of these respondentsl abeled themselves as such. Ethnic self-labels varied with setting, typeof question, and parental ethnicity. Multiethnic youths did not differ from monoethnics regarding self-esteem. In some cases, multiethnic students had more positive attitudes toward other groups than monoethnics did.

  • Root, M. P. P. (1992). Racially mixed people in America. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications.

    Although America has been experiencing a biracial baby boom for the last 25 years, there has been a dearth of information about how racially mixed people identify and view themselves as well as relate to one another. Racially Mixed People in America bridges this gap, and offers a comprehensive look at all the issues involved in doing research with mixed race people, all in the context of America's multiracial past and present.

  • Winters, L. I., & DeBose, H. L. (2003). New faces in a changing America : multiracial identity in the 21st century. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

    How multiracial people identify themselves can have major consequences on their positions in their families, communities and society. Even the U.S. Census has recognized the rapidly increasing numbers of those who consider themselves multiracial, adding a new racial category to the 2000 Census form: two or more races.

    New Faces in a Changing America: Multiracial Identity in the 21st Century examines the multiracial experience, its history and the political issues and consequences surrounding biracial and multiracial identity, bringing together top names in the field to give readers cutting edge views and insights gained from contemporary research.

  • Zack, N. (1993). Race and mixed race. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    In the first philosophical challenge to accepted racial classifications in the United States, Naomi Zack uses philosophical methods to criticize their logic. Tracing social and historical problems related to racial identity, she discusses why race is a matter of such importance in America and examines the treatment of mixed race in law, society, and literature. Zack argues that black and white designations are themselves racist because the concept of race does not have an adequate scientific foundation. The "one drop" rule, originally a rationalization for slavery, persists today even though there have never been "pure" races and most American blacks have "white" genes. 
    Exploring the existential problems of mixed race identity, she points out how the bi-racial system in this country generates a special racial alienation for many Americans. Ironically suggesting that we include "gray" in our racial vocabulary, Zack concludes that any racial identity is an expression of bad faith.