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Politics of Multiracialism, The

Challenging Racial Thinking

Heather M. Dalmage

Publication Year: 2004

This is the first book to critically look at the political issues and interests surrounding the broadly defined Multiracial Movement and at what is being said about multiracialism. Many of the multiracial family organizations that exist across the United States developed socially, ideologically, and politically during the conservative Reagan years. While members of the Multiracial Movement differ widely in their political views, the concept of multiracialism has been taken up by conservative politicians in ways that are often inimical to the interests of traditionally defined minorities. Contributors look at the Multiracial Movement’s voice and at the political controversies that attend the notion of multiracialism in academic and popular literature, internet discourse, census debates, and discourse by and about pop culture celebrities. The work discusses how multiracialism, hybridity, and racial mixing have occurred amidst existing academic discussions of authenticity, community borders, identity politics, the social construction of race, and postmodern fragmentation. How the Multiracial Movement is shaping and transforming collective multiracial identities is also explored.

Published by: State University of New York Press

THE POLITICS OF MULTIRACIALISM

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-

This book would not have been possible without the engaging insights (and unending patience) of the contributing authors. I would like to particularly thank Barbara Katz Rothman who continues to provide mentorship and friendship. The early support of Clarence Wood and Terry Johnson at the Human Relations Foundation of Chicago, Lucreticia Bailey at the Chicago ...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-16

The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend them to mix.”1 With these words Judge Bazile sentenced Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia, to one year in prison in 1950. The crime—marrying across race lines. His ruling reflects the history of racial formation in the United States. Calling upon a mixture of religious and scientific mythology, the judge used his ...

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PART I: CONTEXT OF THE MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT

The history of framing race through family and family through race has created a lightening rod to multiracial families. In this section the authors address the historical and contemporary battles around the construction of race and family in the United States. Ultimately, the authors point to the places from which multiracial family members struggle to name their own ...

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1. ALL IN THE FAMILY: THE FAMILIAL ROOTS OF RACIAL DIVISION

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pp. 19-42

DEBATES ABOUT MULTIRACIAL POLITICS have tended to focus on the most obviously “racial” nature of the issues at stake (Will a multiracial category alter race-based social policies? Will such a category reify a biological notion of race? Do multiracials seek to escape a stigmatized status?). Yet even a brief glance at the forms of collective organization, goals, and activities of ...

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2. DEFENDING THE CREATION OF WHITENESS: WHITE SUPREMACY AND THE THREAT OF INTERRACIAL SEXUALITY

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pp. 43-58

FOR THE WRITERS and readers of Instauration, an overtly racist and anti- Semitic white supremacist journal, hatred is an integral part of life. It is every man’s duty to defend his own kind against his enemies: in this case, Jews, African Americans, and all nonwhites. And as this passage suggests, hatred is essential to protecting the race. In sharp contrast to the increasingly subtle ...

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3. RACIAL REDISTRICTING: EXPANDING THE BOUNDARIES OF WHITENESS

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pp. 59-76

THE MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT has raised public awareness that millions of individuals with mixed-race backgrounds do not fit into the racial categories established by the government. What this movement has ignored however, are the ways in which existing racial categories expand to incorporate ...

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4. LINKING THE CIVIL RIGHTS AND MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENTS

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pp. 77-98

IN THIS CHAPTER I make four primary claims, the most fundamental of which is that the Multiracial Movement could not have happened, nor could it have taken the forms it has, had it not been for both successes and failures of the civil rights movement. At first glance, the trajectory of largely acrimonious relations between the multiracialists and civil rights advocates ...

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PART II: DISCOURSES OF THE MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT

IN THIS SECTION each author addresses the way in which competing, contradictory, and often overlapping ideologies inform the politics of the Multiracial Movement. The practical goal of the Multiracial Movement has been to force the official recognition of multiracial families and people through a change in the way federal, state, and local agencies collect racial data. Arguments ...

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5. BEYOND PATHOLOGY AND CHEERLEADING: INSURGENCY, DISSOLUTION, AND COMPLICITY IN THE MULTIRACIAL IDEA

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pp. 101-12

IN OCTOBER 1997, the years-long drama concerning whether or not to revise the racial definitions utilized by the federal government so as to include a separate multiracial category came to a temporary halt. The nature of that halt was the decision of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reject the idea of a separate multiracial category, and to also change the ...

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6. DECONSTRUCTING TIGER WOODS: THE PROMISE AND THE PITFALLS OF MULTIRACIAL IDENTITY

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pp. 125-142

THE COLLECTION OF ACTIVISTS, parents, and support groups that make up the Multiracial Movement were seemingly given a “gift from heaven” in April 1997 in the form of Tiger Woods. At twenty-two, Woods won the Masters Golf Tournament and quickly became a media superstar. Shortly after his win he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show and announced to the ...

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7. MULTIRACE.COM: MULTIRACIAL CYBERSPACE

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pp. 143-160

THROUGH THE INTERNET, multiracial individuals and families who have negotiated the segregated neighborhoods and schools that mark the U.S. racial terrain can meet other multiracial family members just by clicking and typing. This cyberspace has created an “imagined” community where most of the members may never meet, though “in the minds of each lives the image ...

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8. “I PREFER TO SPEAK OF CULTURE”: WHITE MOTHERS OF MULTIRACIAL CHILDREN

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pp. 161-174

IN THIS CHAPTER, I look at the racial discourse of white mothers of multiracial children and the social justice implications of their practices. In focusing on how white women think about, talk about, and construct race within multiracial families, I am following Hartigan’s lead: “In order to think differently about race we need to pay attention to the local settings in which racial ...

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PART III: LESSONS FROM THE MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT

THE CENTRAL QUESTIONS of the Multiracial Movement have been: How do we want to name our experiences and ourselves? In addition, how can we shift the meaning of race in society? Central to the goals of the Multiracial Movement then, has been the process of naming experiences publicly. Yet, “while individuals or groups may assert names for themselves, governments ...

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9. MODEL MAJORITY? THE STRUGGLE FOR IDENTITY AMONG MULTIRACIAL JAPANESE AMERICANS

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pp. 177-192

THE MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT has been mired in essentialism (often used by liberals) and illusionism (often used by conservatives), both of which tend to remove the conceptualization of “multiracial” from its social and political context. This is because the Multiracial Movement itself, and analysis of it, has taken place in a predominantly black/white context. If we look closely ...

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10. TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION: REFOCUSING UPSTREAM

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pp. 193-202

I PROFIT FROM American racism. More than almost anybody I know, I am a beneficiary. I have Victoria. Victoria is the child by birth of two high school kids, a father who wasn’t ready to settle down and a mother who wanted to finish school and make something of her life. Had she been a white child, she’d have been a very hot commodity in the adoption market. As a child of African descent, ...

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11. PROTECTING RACIAL COMFORT, PROTECTING WHITE PRIVILEGE

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pp. 203-218

RESEARCH HAS SHOWN that multiracial organizations are disproportionately attended and directed by white parents, particularly white mothers, in multiracial families.1 Based on open-ended, recorded, and transcribed interviews conducted with seventeen white members of black/white multiracial families, I explore the construction of racial identities among whites that ...

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12. IDEOLOGY OF THE MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT: DISMANTLING THE COLOR LINE AND DISGUISING WHITE SUPREMACY?

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pp. 219-236

THE MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT stands at the crossroads: will its identity politics take the path that encourages individuation to the exclusion of collective political action? Will it seek refuge in the promotion of hybrid identities that distance mixed-race persons from forging political alliances with blacks and other disenfranchised groups? Alternatively, will it coalesce ...

CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 237-240

INDEX

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pp. 241-253


E-ISBN-13: 9780791484760
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791461532
Print-ISBN-10: 079146153X

Page Count: 263
Publication Year: 2004

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Race relations.
  • Racially mixed people -- Race identity -- United States.
  • Racially mixed people -- United States -- Social conditions.
  • Social movements -- United States.
  • Race awareness -- United States.
  • Ethnicity -- United States.
  • Racism -- United States.
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