Perspectives and Research on the Concept of Race within the Framework of Multiracial Identity
Interpersona : An International Journal on Personal Relationships
In recent years, according to U. S. Census reports, the number of people who classify themselves as "mixed race" is rapidly increasing. As a consequence, scholars have become increasingly interested in the nature of racial identity. Currently, scholars and laypersons tend to view the concept of race from a biological perspective, from a social-constructivist perspective, or from a mixture of the two. In this paper, we address several questions: How do political, religious, and legal experts
... d legal experts classify various people (racially)? How do men and women (especially those of mixed ancestry) decide to what race they belong? Does one's own identity, be it monoracial or multiracial, influence one's perception of race as socially constructed or biologically determined? In order to understand how the concept of race is viewed in the U. S.-especially as the American landscape becomes increasingly complex-we reviewed 40 studies, conducted from 1986-2006, that explored the nature of racial and ethnic identity. 2 This comprehensive review suggested that: 1. Americans often find it difficult to classify people of mixed ancestry. 2. Men and women (of mixed race) generally possess a complex view of race. They generally agree that race is, at least in part, a social construct. Nonethess, they are well aware that (at least in society's eyes) ancestry, appearance, "blood," and genetic make-up also play a part in one's racial classification. 3. Multiracials appear to be more flexible in "choosing" a racial identity than are their peers. How they choose to present themselves depends on their physical appearance, how accepting their family and friends are of their claims, and how profitable they think it will be to identify with various aspects of their racial heritage.