Gayatri Reddy, Anthropology
Sharon Collins, Sociology
Sabine French, Psychology
This project interviews biracial teens and their families to examine the relationship between their parents’ discussion of race/ethnicity and the teens’ development and expression of racial-ethnic identity. Six families in total will be interviewed by the end of the project.
Findings: Preliminary findings show that white mothers were adamant about their children labeling themselves as “Mixed” while black parents thought of their children as black, but did not want to impose this identity onto them. Some adolescents identified as mixed or biracial, however, they recognized that they “lived” as Black or White.
Recommendations: Future research needs to examine the consequences of the policy to allow mixed race individuals to acknowledge more than one race on official documents. On one hand, the policy provides social validation of mixed race identity. On the other hand, there may be unintended negative consequences: mixed race individuals face discrimination. In addition, the promotion of a mixed identity may devalue a black identity, and distance mixed race individuals from black communities. As more individuals are socialized to have and adopt a mixed race identity as opposed to a black identity, these potential unintended consequences of the policy should be studied.