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Does It Matter If Black Plus White Equals Black Or Multiracial?

 
 
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 09:49 am
Does It Matter If Black Plus White Equals Black Or Multiracial?
ScienceDaily
Oct. 12, 2008

"Is Barack Obama Black or Biracial?" a recent CNN.com headline asks. The question of whether Obama should be considered black or multiracial has been a concern of the media throughout the campaign.

Should such racial characterizations of people like Obama -- who have one black parent and one white parent -- really matter?

According to a new Northwestern University study, they do matter.

The findings suggest that the immediate response of non-black study participants is to categorize a racially ambiguous person as black when it was known that one of the person's parents was black and one was white.

In other words, when study participants knew of the person's black-white ancestry, in comparison to not knowing of the parentage, they quickly adhered to the simplistic characterization of biracial people as black, said Northwestern's Destiny Peery.

Social psychological research demonstrates a relationship between social categorizations and subsequent behavior. "It is possible that once multiracial individuals are categorized as black, for example, they may subsequently encounter stereotyping and prejudice consistent with this categorization," she said.

Peery, a graduate student in psychology and Galen V. Bodenhausen, professor of psychology and marketing at Northwestern, are co-investigators of "Black + White = Black: Hypodescent in Reflexive Categorization of Racially Ambiguous Faces." The article appeared in the October issue of the journal Psychological Science.

To address how black-white biracial people are commonly categorized, non-black study participants were asked to view a series of profiles of college students, with photos that depicted each one as black, white or racially ambiguous. Some of the racially ambiguous photos were accompanied with profiles indicating that one of the student's parents is black and the other is white.

Later when participants completed spontaneous or immediate racial categorization tasks, they were more likely to consider the racially ambiguous faces to be black when the person was known to have mixed-race ancestry, compared to not having that knowledge.

Upon more thoughtful reflection, however, study participants were more likely to categorize the same ambiguous faces with the known mixed-race parentage as "multiracial."

"Ironically, when judgments about the ambiguous faces were based on the first, immediate reaction, the explicit information about biracial ancestry increased black categorizations, whereas when the judgments were more deliberate, this same information increased multiracial categorizations," Peery said.

The study highlights the legacy of hypodescent in racial categorization in the U.S. According to hypodescent, a child of mixed-race ancestry is assigned to the race of what society considers the socially subordinate parent. Historically, mixed-race children in slave societies were most commonly assigned to the race of their non-Caucasian parent. In the most extreme manifestation of hypodescent in the United States, the one-drop rule holds that if a person has one drop of black blood, he or she is considered to be black.

"Progress in recognizing complex racial identities has been slow in coming," Peery noted. It was not until 2000 that people were allowed to identify with more than one race on U.S. Census forms.

Given the increased attention to multiracial people today and efforts to allow them to identify with all parts of their racial identity, many believe that hypodescent is an outdated rule in racial categorization.

"The question of how ordinary people categorize multiracial people remains a complicated and timely question," said Peery. "Our study suggests that knowledge of mixed-race ancestry may still serve, at a reflexive or automatic level, to highlight only one aspect of a multiracial person's identity -- the minority aspect."

Right or wrong, the automatic relegating of multiracial people to one racial category is very much a part of American history, Peery said.

"The good news," she says, "is that we can look to the increased awareness of a multiracial population in the U.S. as a sign of possible changes to come in racial categorization."
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Adapted from materials provided by Northwestern University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
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Miller
 
  0  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 10:02 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:
Should such racial characterizations of people like Obama -- who have one black parent and one white parent -- really matter?


If it doesn't matter, why do you find questions about race/ethnicity/affirmative action on applications for medical/law school, scholarships, or specific jobs in Police or Fire departments for example?
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 10:02 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Race is pretty much a dead issue on presidential elections; there are more whites voting for Obama over not voting for him. Fact is, we'll always have racial bigots in this country; it makes them feel "superior," and that goes for all racial groups. Total ignorance is a disease of the human mind. McCain/Palin has brought it out into the open, so we have evidence of that. They should be pleased of their "accomplishment."
Miller
 
  0  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 10:07 am
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

Race is pretty much a dead issue on presidential elections...


I don't think race is a dead issue, but when one considers the status of the USA economy today, why would anyone consider race to be of real significance. Most folks are worried about losing their homes and their pensions. They're also worried about health insurance, medicare and medicaid.

Miller
 
  0  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 10:14 am
@Miller,
If the race issue is really dead, will the gender issue die so that we'll eventually have a woman as President?

Or...after the death of the race/gender issues, will the sexual orientation issue die? Will the American public ever approve of a gay President and his partner living in the White House?
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 10:22 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
not to me...
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 12:45 pm
In answer to the launch post question... Obama has always identified himself as a black man. His opinion really does count on the matter.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 12:57 pm
Does It Matter If Black Plus White Equals Black Or Multiracial?

In a perfect world, no, it doesn't matter. This ain't a perfect world.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 03:10 pm
@Miller,
Miller wrote:

If the race issue is really dead, will the gender issue die so that we'll eventually have a woman as President?


Hopefully not if the only thing you're political system can serve up is halfwit rednecks like that Palin bitch.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 04:07 pm
@Miller,
not electing a women for the highest office seems a north-american foible .
canada did have a woman prime minister :

Quote:
Avril Phaedra Douglas "Kim" Campbell, PC,CC, QC, (born March 10, 1947) was the nineteenth Prime Minister of Canada, serving from June 25, 1993 to November 4, 1993.


she didn't even last for FIVE MONTHS !!!
her party used her and discarded her - she was too outspoken and even a little sexy - unbecoming of the leader of canada's conservative party (if it happens to be a woman - a "sexy" male seems to be quite acceptable !)
what a strange continent we live on - but i still like it here .
hbg

this picture caused a lot of "tut-tutting" by the old guard - i wonder what books were sitting on their night-stands - just the bible ?

http://www.collectionscanada.ca/obj/h4/f1/17-v3.jpg
0 Replies
 
 

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