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BLACK/WHITE BIRACIAL IDENTITY AND SELF-CONCEPT IN THE U.S. BY ALEXIS HOLLY SCHWARTZ A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Steven Graham Sarasota, Florida May, 2011
ii Dedicated in loving memory of my P oppa Bear, Lawrence Schwartz. He was ever engaged in my goings-on. His confiden ces-in-advance toward my endeavors loaned me a sense that I was capable, and could an ticipate good things in life. He was an assuredly loving, warm wind at my back w ho knew well my inclinations and thus was greatly influential in my decision to come to New College. I strive to continue being what made him proud.
iii Acknowledgements Thank you to my sponsor, Dr. Graham, for your guidance during th is project. It was in your 2009 Self and Identity course that I was afforded an opportunity to explore my thesis topic, in the form of an em pirical study. I felt supported by your shared enthusiasm for my progresses and developments. Thank you to my committee members, Dr. Hernandez and Dr. Johnson, for your advice on how to integrate your respective fi elds into a complementary and balanced Social Sciences thesis. On occasion when I was uncertain where my studies might lead in respect to my future pursuits, Dr. Herna ndezs informed advice was influential in my ability to move forward, unobstructe d by worry of making a wrong move. Thank you to Ms. Wheeler; I referred to our writing workshops innumerable times, and exercised those acquired skill s during the writing of this thesis. Thank you to Dr. Annette Schwabe, of Florida State University, for your unobligatory, helpful suggestions made upon my survey instrument. Thank you to my professor-surrogate-a unts, Dr. Dungy, and Dr. Pittman, who gave me instruction and made suggestion upon how to best navi gate my secondary experience, and who first introdu ced me to the works of resear chers of this topic of my personal and academic interest. Thank you to Phillip Handy of Rutgers, whose data-collecti on pointer led to a turning point in the acquisition of study pa rticipants. Also, for your demonstrated willingness to engage in open, thoughtful, and diplomatic dialogue about topics related to this thesis, all of which I feel is conducive to being interpersonally influential to others.
iv Thank you to my mom, my biggest suppor ter, Cynthia Schwar tz, to whom it matters much to see me succeed. Thank you fo r your time spent reviewing this thesis and the contribution of your invalu able revision suggestions. Also, for your alertness to articles that concerned this t opic, as well as our conversations about relevant issues. And thank you for incurring within me a healthy, solid sense of self. Thank you to this studys participants fo r their contribution of valuable insights and experiences.
v Preface In this section, I discuss my interest in black/white biracial id entity and describe why this subject is of current importance. As well, it reflects change in my understandings of the distinctions between race versus ethnic ity and appearance versus phenotype expression as a result of this research. As a third-year New College student, I conducted a quantitative survey on black/white biracial identity and self-concepts for Self and Identity, a psychology course. That study surveyed ten students of various permutations of bira cial heritage. Part of the survey instrument sought to determine wh ether the self-reported perceived race (nonwhite heritage, biracial, or white ) would affect beliefs that ot hers racial categorization of them was contingent upon the three racial cues of physical appearance, speech, and dress. Results indicated that biracials who were perceived by others to be their non-white heritage were on average the least likely to be lieve that people classified them according to their speech and dress. They were al so, on average, most likely to believe that physical appearance was others primary basis for classifying their id entity. Therefore, primary racial cues associated with non-white heritage and perceived importance of this cue to others racial categorization of participants were positively associated. Primary racial cues associated with whiteness and perceived importance of both the secondary and tertiary racial cues were positively associ ated. This study gene rated a hypothesis that participants whose appearances were more closely associated with their non-white heritage believed appearance to be the mo st meaning-laden symbol by which others categorized their racial identity. On the other hand, participants whose appearance were more closely associated with whiteness believ ed that behaviors were the more meaning-
vi laden symbols by which others cat egorized subjects racial id entity. Study re sults raised the question of whether and how the racial cues of biracial people mediated others categorizations of them. Another question of interest was whether appearance, seemingly related to their perceptions of others categorizati ons of them, effected other beliefs and experiences. Also during the same third year course, I learned of the concept of Symbolic Interactionism and wished to determine whethe r the concept could be applied literally to black/white biracial identifica tion processes. This thesis research sought answers to the question of whether physical ra cial appearance was the m eaning-laden symbol by which black/white biracials and their experiences with social contacts reflexively influence their self-identification. Biracial identity and self-concept is an increasingly emergent contemporary issue which has come of age during my generation. Our current president, President Obama, identifies as the U.S.s first black president, despite his white heritage; this selfidentification of biracials with a singular heritage is a decreasing phenomenon. With the 21st Century came the Multiracial Movements successful push to include mixed-race response as an option on the 2010 Census; a formal acknowledgement of biraciality rather than a continued practice of disregard of dual heritage. For example, recently, in the summer of 2010, a Floridian liberal arts college required that students and staff review their responses to th e institutions race/ethnicity survey, the options of which previously did not allow for pe rmutations of race to be se lected. Such institutional changes are reflective of how society is incr easingly acknowledging multiplicity of racial identities.
vii In my first forays into this topic, I considered the term ethnicity to be a renovation of the term race that included all past meanings, only, with the specification that race was a non-biological ch aracteristic; thus, I consider ed the terms redundant. The term race indeed differs from ethnicity be cause race was once used in contexts which fictitiously deem peoples as biologically different. Ho wever, race is now acknowledged to be socially constructed, while ethnicity has more social implications that compound ones ascribed region of physical origin. While Americans definitions of race changes, I am inclined to continue use of the term race, with acknowledge ment that race is a social construct, rather than biological, which does not include places of origin as does ethnicity. Also included in my decision to use term s with social connotations rather than those with biological associa tions is the substitution of appearance where formerly I used phenotype expression, because phenotype expression refers to the determination of looks based on genetics. Appearance is distinctly more social than phenotype because it is created by the biracial indi viduals understanding of their skin color as conditioned through the judgments of others in interactions (Brunsma and Rockquemore 2001 34) and thus it is more appropriat e in the context in which I use it. The uses of race and racial identity in this thesis are meant to occur along the continuum of race, rather than refe rence to each as separate entities In other words, their uses are meant to portray race as black .bi racial white, for instance, because it is acknowledging that the participants of the current study can identify, for example, between black and biracial, but closer to biracial. Such complex identifications possibility
viii should remain a consideration, instead of pe ople being constrained to the singularities implied by the terms of black , biracial, and white. I also acknowledge that there is a so cial phenomenon of speech and dress being viewed as being white-typical and black-typical, and that these mannerisms are not biologically linked to ones heritage. As seve ral participants state d, it is not possible to determine that one acts black or talks white. The scales on performed racial cues aim to reflect what participants consider to be socially agreed upon as racial-typified behavior.
ix Table of Contents Dedication . .. .ii Acknowledgements ........iii Preface ..v Abstract x Chapter 1 Introduction .........1 Chapter 2 Literature Review .. 6 Chapter 3 Methodology .18 Chapter 4 U.S. Results ...22 Chapter 5 U.S. Discussion .25 Chapter 6 U.K. Results/Discussion/Comparison ...30 Chapter 7 Conclusion .34 References ..38 Appendix A Informed Consent Form ....43 Appendix B The Survey Instrument ..45 Appendix C Recruitment Materials ...50 Appendix D: Descriptive Statis tics and Data Correlations 52
x BLACK/WHITE BIRACIAL IDENTITY AND SELF-CONCEPT IN THE U.S. Alexis Holly Schwartz New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT In this study, I explore whether racial appearance is a meaning-laden symbol by which U.S. black/white biracial participants and their social contac ts reflexively create their self-concepts and identity, and whether ap pearance affects their racial behaviors. Thirty-eight survey participants were of both black and white heritage, between 18 and 25 years old. Results indica ted that their self-concepts were influenced by their interactions with soci al contacts and, therefor e, their self-reported racial-typical behaviors were correlated with th eir racial appearances. Dr. Steven Graham Social Sciences Department
1 Chapter 1: Introduction Concepts of Identity In the field of sociology, self-concept is de fined as the set of meanings we hold for ourselves upon self-observation, which is base d on our inferences about who we are, as gained from others behavior toward us, our wishes and desires, and our evaluations of ourselves (Stets and Burke, 130, 2003). Sy mbolic Interactionism complements the sociological definiti on of self-concept; Identities locate a person in social space by virtue of the rela tionships that these identities imply, and are, themselves, symbols whose meanings vary across actors and situations (Howard, 371, 2000). Following Howards reasoning, one might c onsider black/white biracial selfidentification to be symbolic of the larger race-relations in which their heritages are embedded. This thesis provides detail of the possible relatedness of biracial selfidentification to race relations during th e Civil Rights Era and in more recent times. Also from the field of psychology, the concept of social identity is the individuals knowledge th at she/he belongs to certain so cial groups together with some emotional and value significance to her/him or her/his group membership (Tajfel, 292, 1972). Cognitive schemas, the cognitive version of identities, are abstract and organized packets of information, such as self-schem as, and group schemas (T ajfel, 292, 1972). Self-schemas are organized knowledge of onese lf that includes ones ideas of their own characteristics and behavior patterns (H oward, 368, 2000). The self-schema of racial identity as studied in this thesis includes ideas of ones own physical characteristics (primary racial cues) and racially-typical be haviors (speech and clot hing style). Another
2 tenet of identity is group schemas, which include information on social positions and stratification statuses, such as gender, r ace, age, and class (Howard, 368, 2000). Group processes play a major part in the processes of identification because the social positions we occupy have immediate consequences to our sense of self (Howard, 368, 2000). Though these schemas allow for the summarizati on of information, it is also possible to lose information, such as the specifics of racial identity (H oward, 368, 2000), as this thesis will indicate in the instance of th e U.S. black/white biracial identity. In earlier U.S. history, less efficacy was attr ibuted to people in the maintenance of their public identity, and research did not acknowledge peoples efficacy in establishing their self-identification (Howard, 368, 2000). Recently, the concept of identity encompasses a more comprehensive sense of who one is, with respect to the current social structures and practices in which one is embedded (Howard, 368, 2000). This is true of racial identity; society is becoming increasingly accepting of black/white biracial peoples increasing acknowledgement of both components of their heritage, different from the U.S.s history of black and white categories being excl usive (Haney Lopez, 1996, Roth 2005). This literature review asse sses how racial categories are socially determined by cultural frames of reference. Specificall y, this thesis traces the motion away from equating dual black/white iden tity to singular blackness, and discusses the emergence of the concept of black/white mixed race indi vidual identity, by spanning interactions of macrocosm contexts (such as social movements) a nd microcosm contexts (such as familial influences). The subsequent ove rview traces how racial designation of black/white biraciality reflects change s of those cultures interactions.
3 The U.S.s Black and White Racial Identiti es as Created in Re lation to the Other since Emancipation This chapter describes how U.S. black and white races have been social actors, creating their identities in relation to th e other. Black and white identities have respectively varied across time and place, as they have been linked to their interracial contact; Racial categories assume meaning over time through ongoing interplays of political, economic, cultural, and social forces (Brooks, 2006, p.313). Examples of these influences present since that era at all levels of so ciety, spanning from regional, state, and social are provided. The chapter co ncludes with an assert ion that the composite experience of black/white U.S. biracials ha s historically been one characterized by a division from white, with a closer association with blackness as a possible result of black solidarity resulting from the disenfranchisement of people of color and social distance from whites. Emancipation in 1865 threaten ed white privilege by creating a theoretically equal status of former slaves. For almost 250 ye ars of slavery, racial difference was driven and determined primarily by status, rather than visible distinction or legal definition (Holder, 2008, p.153), afterward, races moved toward a trend of separation by visibly distinct physical charac teristics indicative of racial gr oup inheritance. As free people, blacks could enter only into government sa nctioned marital unions Mississippis 1865 Black Codes enacted anti-miscegenation laws to restrict unions to same-race marriages only. The sociological term of miscegenati on means the intermixing of two races (Tells, Sue 2009). During the late 19th century, thirty-eight other states established anti-
4 miscegenation laws, sometimes explicitly outlawing marriage between blacks and whites (Roth 2005). Asymmetrical Definitions of White and Bl ack Created in Relation to the Other Additionally, in 1924, Virginia passed the Racial Integrity Act in response to social change; namely, increased proximity of whites and blacks (Dorr 1999). The act included several declarations geared toward protecting perceived white social integrity. It was then necessary to operationalize race in a way that created an exclusive white category; Definitions of blackness were neces sary in part because of state laws making interracial marriage illegal (Roth, 38, 2005). The Racial In tegrity Act defined whiteness as having no traceable ancestry of another race (Hickman 1997); mixed people then could not advance in social status by being of part -white ancestry. This act epitomizes a social force that defined black and white racial identif ication criteria in relati on to one another. It functioned to protect privileges associated with white identity by creating a fictitious racial dichotomy. Hypodescent, colloquially known as the O ne Drop Rule, is the phenomenon of minority race disproportionately weighted toward identity designation. The rule is unique in that it is found only in the United States and only applies to American blacks (Davis 1991). According to Rockquemore and Brunsma (2002), hypodescent is the delegation of mixed race peopl e to their minority, lower social status heritage and deemed any person who had any amount of b lack blood to be black. Beginning in the early 20th century, people with any known black an cestry, or a single drop of black blood, were legally designated as black, and over time most blacks inte rnalized this rule themselves (Davis, 1991; Williamson, 1980).
5 Such laws conferred a meaning of race in which racial identity criteria was asymmetric and subjective. Throughout U.S. hi story, the white category has been one of exclusivity and privilege, while the black cate gory has been more inclusive and afforded no privileges. In U.S. history, blackness has carried disproportionate weight in the determination of biracial identity.
6 Chapter 2: Research Performed on Biracial Identity This following chapter is a review of how the concept of an integrated biracial identity emerged from earlier, exclusive de finitions of race; it outlines the progression that societys acknowledgement that ones id entity is multi-faceted and socially both influenced and constructed. The following te xt also details how black/white biracial identity has been understood and defined differe ntly across eras of U.S. history. This details how the historic delega tion and self-assumption of bl ack biracial identity then possibly advanced racial egalitarianism when paired with the increased racial mixing of more recent times. This chapter critiques how research conducted on biracial identity from the 1960s to present day was skew ed toward black identification, though decreasingly so. This chapte r also endorses present-day proportionate recognition of black/white heritages. To support th is thesiss hypothesis, the Symbolic Interactionismism Theory is defined and descri bed in application to biracial self-concept formation. Definitions of Race through Time Racial categorical definitions indicate mo re inclusion of diversity than those previous meanings. As race is a socially determined concept, its definitions have varied. At one time black/white biracial s black heritage deemed them to be black, while in more recent times interpretations made of their phys ical characteristics have been increasingly interpreted as being of black /white biracial identity. In Support of Symmetric Acknowledgem ent of White and Black Heritages Though asymmetric definitions in U.S hist ory were originally the mainstream cultures delegation of biracials to be black, these definitions were additionally
7 perpetuated by assumption of biracial i ndividuals themselves (Cooke, 1998; Harrison, 1997). Asymmetric definitions of race by th e mainstream is likely compounded early in life by close social relationships such as family. Brunsmas 2001 study of the 2000 Census found that of the 10.4 percent of childre n ages four to six who were biracial by their dual heritage, only 2.6 percent were id entified by their parents as mixed race (Brunsma 2005). Those parents were likely using earlier unde rstandings of race in the designation of their childrens identity; that generation of parents ha d experienced an era of segregation. Because they likely experienced the enforced social distance of the races, they were the first generati on to experience integrated public buildings, let alone integrated households. They likely had ye t to develop the capacity to integrate the heritages within their biracial children. Such societal influence has present-day manifestations; a significant proportion of self-i dentified blacks are of white heritage (Hickman 1997). For example, our current pr esident is of black and white heritage, though he identifies as singularly black. Th e application of the term race can be understood most aptly as socially constructed because black racial ancestry tends to factor disproportionately vi a asymmetrical qualifications of racial identity. The Multiracial Movement of the 1990s was largely generated by black/white interracial partners (Williams 2006) demanding recognition and legitimacy for full component of their childrens being. Carlos Fernndez (1995), former president of the Association of MultiEthnic Americans made the point that every person who is multiethnic/interracial has the same right as an y other person to assert an identity that embraces the fullness and integrity of their ac tual ancestry. A compelling ideology of the multiracial movement asserts that a ny black person with white ancestry should
8 become multiracial (Hickman 1997), debunking deep-rooted classification schemes of racial disparity and inequalities perpetua ted by hypodescent. The One Drop Rule: Currently of Both Detriment and Benefit to Societies How has the One Drop Rule been of both detr iment and benefit to society? It is necessary to distinguish the e ffects and ultimate outcomes of th is rule, and how this rule has shaped the experiences of the racial gr oups. This section will provide evidence of why, ultimately, increased miscegenation combined with the One Drop Rule could have facilitated advancements toward th e achievement of racial egalitarianism. The black population (as recogn ized with its inclusive identity criterion) has utilized this racial category as a basis for strengthening its collect ive bargaining positions and for counteracting unfavorable conditions enforced through the polarization of races. Enforced polarization of white and black called for biracial people to congregate on the side of black-interest movements. While blacks and biracial persons experienced successes from a collective standpoint, full iden tity expression of mixed race persons was repressed. The One Drop Rule, combined with other social phenomena, has been more beneficial to the black population, whic h supported black lineag e. While the One Drop Rule had once benefited the white populati on totally, that same rule perhaps serves to abate a hegemonic racial relationship. In relation to collective barg aining, Christine B. Hickman (1997) made a compelling proposal that the implementation of the One Drop Rule was ultimately beneficial for the welfare of blacks. He r premise was that th e One Drop Rule, though created solely to maintain racial stratificati on via a fictitious raci al dichotomy, actually expedited greater racial equity; because mixe d race people were socially deemed black,
9 their association with blac kness added voice and strength to progressive minority movements. The One Drop Rule united this race as a people in the fight against segregation, and raci al injustice (Hickman, 1997, 1166) . Following her logic, if in U.S. history people were divided in to categories as black, white, and mixed race, mixed race people would have experienced a life situation unlike that of blacks oppression. Therefore, as miscegenation o ccurred during that time, African American political interest would have likewise dissi pated; mixed race peopl es political agendas would not have included progr essive racial movements to the degree that they had occurred for cause of a mulatto escape hatch to racism (McClarin, 289, 2009). In fact, an example of this mulatto escap e hatch concept occurring in history is in South Africa, beginning in the 1940s. A symme tric division of race into black, colored (inclusive of black/white bir acials), and white. Under a system of white privilege, those deemed colored experienced a socioeconomic status secondary to whites, though better relative to blacks; coloreds were afforded mo re privileges than their black counterparts (Hickman 1997). The regime in power em phasized the colored populations differences from the black population, and thus colore ds assumed superiority over and were estranged from blacks, whom they also feared. As a result, during th e first free elections of 1994, the colored population largely voted to keep the white Nationalist Party, which had oppressed them, in power (Hickman 199 7). As shown, the symmetric division alienated biracial interests from black inte rests and thus, because colored persons were granted modest privileges in a racially stratified society, the white population prevailed in maintaining power.
10 To the black population, it was largely benefi cial to claim biracials as a subset of black. Implementation of the Civil Right s Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Ac t of 1972 all depended on racial statistics culled from the census (Hickman 1997). Attain ment of rights by blac ks were affected by demographics; that were used to calculate soci etal trends, changes and needs. Today still, funding related to black issues and interests are related to membership numbers enlarged by its absorption of blacks of mixed he ritage. Adding a new multiracial category would change membership numbers as they ar e constructed and could alter that laws are implemented (Hickman 1997). Thus, collectiv e black interest and bargaining ability would weaken. From the perspective that a symmetric system of racial determination would have weakened progressive racial m ovements, one might reasonably contend that the grouping of black and mixed race individua ls, indeed, has served some advantage. The One Drop Rule could be viewed as detrimental to the lineage of people identified as white who ar e of relation to biracial pe ople. Over time, unintended consequences arose from increases in misceg enation and changes in racial demographics that now work against the maintenance of white privilege. Privileges of people who were of white heritage were revoked; mixed race people, with their white heritages included, were retained within disenfranchisement. As this society has seen recent trends to ward mixed-race identification, it is also possible that if future generations were to indentify as such and thereby become the majority, society perhaps would appr oach the transcendence of race: Members of the mixed race movement have posited such mixt ure as the means to end racism, asserting that racial mi xture challenges any claims to racial
11 homogeneity and could potentially mo ve social understanding of difference beyond race (Leverette, 2007, 441). Previous Research on Biracial Identity Though in recent history, the One Drop Ru le, functioned as a factor in the advancement of black rights, it also should be recognized that the residual phenomenon has negative repercussions for people of mi xed heritage whose self-identities are invalidated. These consequences manifest both interpersonally and intrapersonally. Influenced by the One Drop Rule, research cond ucted on biracial identity during the late 1960s and 1970s endorsed a positive racial identity as black as a consequence of the Civil Rights and Black Pride movements. Such m ovements created solidarity among people of black heritage, thus researchers exclusively investigated only biracials choice of a singularly black identity (Brunsma 2001, 2005). Perhaps paradoxically, Brunsmas 2002 su rvey response item options favored black identification. For example, of others perceptions of their ap pearance; (1 ) I look black, most people assume that I am blac k, (2) My physical features are ambiguous, people assume I am black mixed with some thing else, (3) My phy sical features are ambiguous; people do not assume that I am blac k, or (4) I physically look white; I could pass. The first response is unmatched on the other side of the spectrum of racial choice; response option four denot es an appearance type and option for a socially prescribed ascent to whiteness. The sec ond response does not have a match of, My physical features are ambiguous; people do not a ssume that I am white. The survey did not allow for self-identificat ion as biracial; because blac k was presumably the healthy identity for biracials to assume at that tim e, research performed instead focused on the
12 effects of biracials internalizing mainst ream societys negativ e views of blacks (Rockquemore and Laszloffy 2003). It is possible that most research c onducted before the Multiracial Movement found biracials to be more vulnerable to em otional health problems because integration was a phenomenon characterized by turmoil at that time. Also, th at researchers were possibly inclined to portray the offspring of interracial unions as unstable as was the state of interracial affairs. Iit is also possible that biracial individuals, at that time, were at greater risk for psycho logical distress. Those times of greater social discord likely restricted interracial parents portrayals of each others families in positive ways and affected their ability to maintain secure relationships. Brunsmas 2001 study done of various permutations of biracial children ages four to six found that parents were more likely to follow norms of hypodescent and identi fy their children as the of-color heritage (Brunsma 2005). At times when a black/white person claims their borderline bir acial heritage, they may be regarded by blacks as being presumptuous of a higher life sta tion; that is, seeking a distinction above blacks and closer to whites by their perceive d disassociation from blacks. A Letter to the Editor of E bony Magazine typifies the sentiment: If the old saying one drop of black blood makes you black were reversed to say one drop of white blood makes you white, would the biracial s still be seeking a separate classification? (November 1995) Biracial studies through the 1970s and 1980s also focused on bira cials formation of a positive black identity. For this reason, academia had not considered the continuum of appearances affec ting social interactions (Br unsma 2001). Further, these
13 studies neither addressed the issue of how bir acial individuals percei ved their own racial identity, nor how physical appearance might play a role in racial se lf-concepts (Brunsma 2001). The cultural atmosphere toward white superiority aff ected studies in such a way that the reflexivity of biracials own identi ty creation was not addr essed; studies did not recognize the efficacy with which individuals of black heritage are able to create, reflexively, their racial self-concepts. Howe ver, subsequent research did incorporate findings of mixed race persons self-understa ndings and included a biracial category (Brunsma 2001). Thus, advances were made in deconstructing the doctrine of earlier racial dichotomy. Persons of black/white raci al heritage who descri be a parent of mixed heritage as black, while considering th emselves as biracial, would embody a transformation from past ideologies and pr actices of earlier U.S. history. These individuals are perhaps more likely to understa nd themselves as biracial, an identity indicative of a more functional and integrat ed view of themselves relative to their environments. Toward Symmetric Defini tions of Heritages The U.S.s racial demographics change d drastically in the 1990s, with more interracial couples and biracial children than ever before. These families also began to understand their offspring as an integration of both partners races, thus the rise of the Multiracial Movement enabled more familie s to understand their children as an integration of both parents id entities. The movement sought to influence the countrys collective thinking upon racial points of reference (Peebles-Wilkins 2006); Some of these children of interracial marriages are now arguing cogently for a reappraisal of hypodescent. Their movem ent has sprung to public consciousness
14 with the recent bid by multiracial organizations, over the objections of civil rights groups to put a multiracial category in the race sect ion of the forms that will be used when the next decennial census is conducted in the year 2000. This Multiracial Movements campaign saw th e addition of a new ra cial option to the 2000 census that better represen ted of its constituents child ren, check all that apply. The movement profited substa ntially from the social gains achieved during the Civil Rights era; it gained tailwind momentum, al so generally censured by traditional civil rights advocates on grounds that a separate m ultiracial category w ould detract from the count of blacks, and thereby possibly jeopa rdize civil and voting rights enforcement (Peebles-Wilkins 2006). People with parent s who were present for the Multiracial Movement could be more likely to have an understanding of themselves as biracial, and have an integrated view of their experien ces as they relate to both their communities, in ways not possible in previous times which were characterized by segregation. Social Contact Influences on Self-Concept The 1990s conveyed increased acknowledgement of biracials efficacy in forming their own self-concepts, and the interrelatedness of thei r personal social networks and locations racial compositions in its process. The Demo a nd Hughess Interracial Contact Variable (1990) emerged during this time; it assessed the racial composition of respondents socialization contexts while growing up: family, grade school, and neighborhood. A correlation was found between bi racials perceptions of their physical appearance and the racial composition of their pre-adult socialization contexts (Brunsma 2001); biracials assessment of their racial appearance as influenced by the racial composition of their social ne tworks up through their adoles cence. Variance of self-
15 perceived physical appearance wa s attributed to biracial peoples view of themselves as darker, lighter, and projecting varying degrees of mannerisms as a result of the societal contexts that surrounded them as younger adul ts (Brunsma 2001). Adolescents seeking the company of others who shared similar physical traits (col loquially known as the Lunch Table phenomenon) is another possi ble explanation for this correlation. The 1990s brought enlightenment that biracial indi viduals created multiple understandings of their identity and lived various experience s that negotiated their self-concepts. There are some limitations of the surv ey concerning the Interracial Contact Variable as used by Demo and Hughes, and as appropriated by Rockquemore and Brunsma (2002). Respondents were limited in the range of responses to describe accurately the racial demographics of their social networks. The multiple-choice survey of the Interracial Contact Variable di d not include non-black and non-white ethnic groups. The social interpretation of black/white biracial identity seems to align with the process of the Symbolic Interactionism pro cess, as described by Brunsma. In Symbolic Interactionism, ones self-understanding m eets others perceptions/judgments (Brunsma et al. 2004). People then respond to symbols which they, in this way, reflexively make meaning (Brunsma et al. 2004). Meanings made during the process of Symbolic Interactionism are subject to change through social situations (Brunsma et al. 2004). After experiencing those modified meani ngs, people perhaps then anticipate others reaction to them upon peers judgments/reactions made of stimuli, and might adjust selfpresentations, creating more smoothly executed social interactions (Brunsma et al. 2004).
16 Physical appearance is perhaps the mo st meaningful racial cue by which social actors reflexively shape their racial-group self-concepts. Al though secondary and tertiary racial cues likewise are sy mbols upon which people create racial meaning and consequent group membership, they are performed and dyna mic. Physical appearance, intrinsic to ones being, is immediately available to others and thus is perhaps most likely to be the meaning-laden symbol. One social situation subject to change, the racial demographics of ones location, can affect the way individuals be lieve others to perceive their physical features along racial categories: An individua ls pre-adult and adult social networks may include a vast number of potentially si gnificant others who influence the daily interactional work of shaping and defini ng ones identity (Rockquenmore and Brunsma 2002). For example, there is a higher probab ility of multiracial in dividuals in largely minority social contexts to identify more with the minority aspect of their racial heritage (Brunsma 2005). Rockquemore and Brunsma (2002) found that those socialized in predominately white networks were more likel y to develop a biracial identity because it is both available and preferable to the singular black identity. Of this finding, it is necessary to consider that earlier research e ssentially regarded a positive biracial identity as singularly black, was inclined toward o ffering asymmetrical identification survey choices, thus it is possible that this finding is incorrect. If the processes involved in Symbolic Inte ractionism apply aptly to U.S. biracials creation of self-concept and identity, individuals presentations of secondary and tertiary racial cues are affected by their interac tions with others. Biracial individuals postulated behavior would align with others judgment s/reactions based on their interactions.
17 The study of biracial people can enab le exploration of how culture and interactions within social contexts in fluence identity construction by providing knowledge of how cognitive interpretations of racial groups are contingent upon meaning-laden symbols which reflexively influence the way these social actors understand themselves. The 21st century, unique in its occurrence of black/white racial social proximity and subsequent black/white biracial identified people, has afforded greater recognition of biracial identity. As discussed previ ously, research is ever more acknowledging of biracials efficacy in esta blishing their racial self-concepts. Given this reasoning, the present study hypothe sizes that biracials exhibition of these behavioral racial cues are manipulations that partially reflect others assessment of their physical appearances. Fu ture studies of biracial in dividuals would likely offer additional insights into how cu lture and interactions within social contexts influence identity construction by providing knowle dge of how individuals cognitive interpretations of racial groups are c ontingent upon meaning-laden symbols that reflexively influence the way these social actors understand themselves and their relationship to others.
18 Chapter 3 Method Participants This study consisted of 38 subjects from ages 18 though 25, as this demographic is most likely to convey the most contempor ary views on matters of race. Their racial identities were not formed during the Civi l Rights Movement and their parents were present during the Multiracial Movement. Th is demographic did not experience firsthand effects of the positive endorsement of th e singular black identity of the 1900s, and it is possible that some of their parents r ecognized and accepted the concept of mixed race identity. In this study, the term biracial refers to participants of black/white heritage. Most black/white participants were included in this study regardless of their quantified self-reported heritage, though seven participants included with in this category are of 12 percent or less of a third raci al heritage of another cate gory. Though this study focuses on U.S. black/white biracials se lf-concepts, responses from the U.K with such criteria were almost of equal numbers, owing to the non-spec ification of country criterion. The U.K. participants were retained for the purpose of a cross-cultural comparison to the U.S. results. While U.K. biracials tended to describe themselves as being of English/British and Jamaican/Caribbean heritage, these te rms were decidedly comparable to U.S. responses of White/Caucasian/European and Bl ack/African American responses and thus these categories were condensed to White and Black. Measures and Procedure The method of gathering partic ipants changed over the course of the study; at first by convenience sampling: online race forums message boards introduced the survey and
19 requested participation. In addition, Flor ida State University sociology professors granted access to their summer session courses for survey distribution. Those students received extra credit for their participati on. Using the snowball method, one professor forwarded the study to a multicultural sorority and a hometown friend of the researcher forwarded another friend the survey. Ot her professors of online summer courses forwarded their students the request for volunt eers and the online survey link. Lastly, an administrator of a mixed-race interest gr oup forwarded the request en mass to members of a social networking site. The survey requested that individuals of black and white heritage, ages 18-25, spend ten minutes on a survey. To discer n participants who possessed the needed characteristics for this study, several items requi red specification of th e heritages of their parents, along with their respective percenta ges. The survey contained items borrowed from other researchers; others were designed for this study. For the first item, participants provided demographi c information: their age, gender, and hometown state. Self-Understanding The second question was an appropriation of Rockquemore and Brunsmas 2002 typology, used to determin e respondents racial self-concept. Two items responses were omitted: Race is meaningless; I do not believe in racial identities and I consider myself to be black, biraci al, or white depending upon the circumstances, after the response coll ection because its incl usion would render the question not a scale while looking for correlations of self-concep t to racial cues reported. Though this transcendental identity is thus not included in the figur ing of the original hypothesis, the participants with these self-concepts other response items were retained. This
20 allowed for recognition of their identities th at would lend themselves to measurement purposes, while sorting the responses rele vant to this study s purposes. To portray black and white heritage options symmetrically, unlike previous studies skewed toward black heritage identif ication, the response op tions were similarly changed. For example, the original survey implicated that th e target population was black/white biracials; I consider myself exclusively as biracial (neither black nor white), though the wording of the survey other-izes white heritage by providing options such as, I consider myself exclusivel y as my other race (not black or biracial). Also, the response option I consider myself biracial, but I experience the world as a black person was recreated by omitting the later part of the response and instead creating another question asking what heritage they e xperienced the world as. Again, the question was composed of racially symmetrical opti ons by including black, biracial, and white responses. Racial Cues The survey measured both self-reported measures of racial cues, as well as how they thought their communities saw them. The t ool sought self-descriptions of their features, along a continuum from one (b lack) to nine (white). The numbers were assigned deliberately to challe nge the historical inclination to impose heaviness to black heritage, giving greater weight in renderi ngs of race. Racial cues were applied to this continuum, including components of a ppearance (skin color, hair, and facial features), speech used, and clothing worn. Th e secondary and tertiary cues of speech used and clothing worn followed the same co ntinuum from one to nine; as in, Speech used is most typical of
21 Perceived by Others This survey item was an appropriation of a Rockquemore and Brunsmas (2001) measure tool used to describe biracial features as seen by others. As with the changes to the Self-Understandi ng item, the response opt ions were made to have symmetrical black and white representa tion, and included a biracial option. Interracial Contact Variable Items were added to the Interracial Contact Variable as used by Rockquemore and Brunsma (2002) which itself was an expansion of the Demo and Hughes (2000) Interracial Contact Variable, used to attain the racial demographics of respondents contacts at different times of their life. It assessed participants racial demographics in areas (average of family, elementary school, elementary school friends, junior high school junior high school fr iends, high school, high school friends, college, college friends, neighborhood while growing up, present neighborhood, place of worship, present workpl ace). These and additional items were placed on a scale (1= all black, 3= half black/h alf white and 5=all white). These contacts were hypothesized to influence self-concepts. The Interracial Contact Variable was used to determine whether meanings made of ap pearance were subject to have different meanings as a result of variance in raci al demographics of social contacts. Familial Influence This item asked participants to note what identity their parents endorsed. Possible response options were bl ack, biracial, white, and other (please specify).
22 Ch 4 U.S. Results Descriptive Statistics This studys sample was 55.3% female (n=21) and 44.7% male (n=17). Most participants considered themselves to be bi racial (47.4%), some ha d a black self-concept (10.5%), and one had a white self -concept (2.6%), while fifteen participants e ither did not answer this item or use these terms (39.5%). Most families of these participants endorsed a biracial identity for their children (57.9 %), and others endorsed a black or a white identity (both 7.9%), wh ile 26.3% of participants either did not answ er this question or did not use these terms. Most participants an swered that they were perceived by others as biracial (36.1%), some answered that they were perceived as black mixed with something else (26.3%), others answered they were perceived as white mixed with something else (21.1%), several reported being perceived as black (7.9%), a couple reported being perceived as white (5.3%), and 5.3% either did not answer or use these terms. Data Correlations Familial Influence. This study showed that participants from families who endorsed a white racial identity tended also to report th at they experienced the world more as a white person r (23) = .511, p = .013; that their appearance was more typical of white heritage, r (28) = .497, p =.007; and that their secondary and te rtiary racial cue average was more typical of white heritage, r (28) = .627, p = .000. Participants who understood their life experience to be more typical of white identity tended to have a self-concept that was consistent with that identity r (20) = .840, p = .000.
23 Participants who understood their life experience to be more typical of white identity further tended to exhibit more of a white physical appearance r (29) = .435, p = .018. Respondents who reported being perceived more so as white tended to report having a whiter physical appearance r (36) = .446, p = .006. Primary to Secondary & Tertiary Cues. Respondents whose reported primary racial cues were more indicative of white heritage te nded to describe themselves as having their secondary and tertiary cues (a verage of speech used and clothing worn) as more typical of white identity r (38) = .500, p = .001. Respondents whose appearance were more white described their speech patterns as more white r (37)=.517, p =.001, and there was approaching significance between appearance and style of dress; r (38)=.317, p =.053 Primary Racial Cue Components. People who answered that their facial features were more indicative of white heritage also tended to agree that their hair r (38) = .414, p = .010.; and skin tone r (38) = .552, p = .000 were more indicative of white heritage. Secondary & Tertiary Cues. People who indicated that thei r speech patterns were more typical of white identity were also more likel y to indicate that thei r style of clothing was more typical of white identity r (37) = .396, p = .015. Social Contexts & Secondary/Tertiary Cues Respondents who reported their lifes social contexts to be more white also tende d to report that their behavioral racial cue average (speech used and clothes worn) was more typical of white identity r (38) = .438, p = .006.
24 Gender Differences Females were more likely to experience the world as more white r (29) = -.379, p = .043. Though not significantly so, females gave more white responses than males in all of the measures of self-c oncept, identity as perceived by others, selfreported racial appearance, identity their fa milies endorsed, racial behaviors average, and social context racial demographics.
25 Ch 5 Discussion of U.S. Results Possible Explanation of Familial Influence. Interpretations made of these results are that ones physical appearance seems to in fluence the racial identity ones parents endorse for their children. Perhaps because parents are influenced by their childrens appearance enough to the degree that they enco urage identification with the identity their child most physically resembles. Parents and ot hers interact with th em as the race that the biracials features most resemble and in turn, biracials experience the world as more that race; thus, they conceptualize themselves to be more of that racethis might explain how appearance is correlated with th e experienced racial identity. In theory, it is s upported by the corre lation of respondents p hysical appearance to their perceived racial identity by others. Becau se social contacts respond to participants looks and participants describe them accordingly to perceive them as the corresponding racial description, respondents composite experien ce is of that raci al description. Consequently, perhaps, speech used and clothi ng worn were modified toward accordance with the identity their families endorse. Perhaps this modification is a result of respondents adapting their behavioral racial cues in accordance with others perceptions, with a possible result of crea ting more smooth interactions. Alternately, it could be that participants symbolically interact not with the other social actors, but rath er their idea of how th e social actors are viewing, evaluating, and interacting with them. Perh aps the participants understand themselves as behaving most typically of the identity they believe others perceive them to be. It could be that the participants believe they ar e perceived by others as a cer tain identity and understand themselves as typifying that identity; they could see their mannerisms as being indicative
26 of others racial perception of them. The results indicate support an idea that to the participants, appearance is the meaning-lade n symbol by which actors reflexively create biracial self-concept. If the secondary and tertiary average of racial cues had correlated with perceivedby-others identity, this would indicate that participants perhaps sense peoples average response to their appearance, an d accurately adjust their be haviors in accordance with peoples perception of their appearance. However, since average secondary and tertiary racial cues do not correlate with perceivedas identity, perhaps it is more likely that biracials view themselves as having the behavi ors that are generally associated with the race which bears more similar physic al characteristics to themselves. Possible Explanation #2. It is also possible that what racial identity ones physical appearance typifies influences what identity ones parents endorse for her/him. Parents typically cultivate childrens speech patterns and provide their clothing/accessories worn. As a possible result, these performed behavior s are in accordance with the racial identity their families endorse. In turn, they could experience the world as more that race which their appearance typifies; also, social othe rs interactions with them are perhaps influenced by the race they appe ar to be; thus, they have more of that race as their selfconcept. Possible Explanation of Primary to Secondary & Tertiary Cues. The results support the hypothesis that the more an appearance indica tes a racial description, the more their behavior will reflect that partic ular racial description identi ty. The studys results also support the hypothesis that particip ants are inclined to view their mannerisms as typifying the racial identity they more closely resemble physically. Participants also perhaps
27 believe their combination of dress habits and speech patterns is associated with the same identity. The cues earlier grouped as behaviora l cues were analyzed separately in relation to appearance. Of the behavioral cues, speech was both independently and highly correlated with appearance while dress style only approached significance, making it more associated with appearance than dress style. Speech was highly correlated with appearance, while only dress approached significance. This is likely because, At the most basic level, the point is simply that people actively produce identity through their talk (Howard 2000). It is possible that with a larger sample, the significance of dress to appearance would have been more correlative. Possible Explanation Primary Racial Cue Components Facial features associated with a racial group identity are us ually consistent with other ap pearance indicators of racial identity; namely, skin tone and hair. Keith Thompsons (2001) explanation that Skin color is highly correlated with other phenotypic features such as eye color, hair texture, broadness of nose, and fullness of lips; s upports this studys fi nding that of phenotypic qualities, skin tone is indeed the most correlated phenotypic feature to another such feature, with a direct correlation found be tween complexion and facial features. However, this is not always true, though the results of this study found a direct correlation between those primary racial cues. Possible Explanation # 2. These cues associated with racial group identification are behaviors that are described as being enacted/enacted symmet rically, with consistency to one another.
28 Possible Explanation of Social Contexts & Secondary/Tertiary Cues. People are probably more likely to display behaviors si milar to those near them; in this case, biracials social demographics were as such that they saw themselves as exhibiting behaviors more closely associated with the (racially homogenous ) majority. This information supports that biracials understand ing of their secondary and tertiary cues as being moderated by their social c ontacts racial demographics. Possible Explanation of Gender Differences Although the other measures are more white, but not significantly so when controll ing for gender, the correlation with white racial experience with females is perhaps a culmination of those other measures indicating more whiteness. Females perhaps experience the world in ways similar to the interactions of variab les as explained in Possible Explanation of Familial Influence It could be that because biracial female s look to be more white, they experience less association with blackness and therefore experience more upward social mobility. It is also possible that because they possibl e do look more white than males, as the responses provide, they tend to associate themse lves more so with white social contacts. This quantitative surveys goal was to gain a better understanding of how black/white biracial peoples self-concepts and identification were influenced by ones society and characteristics. To avoid the hi storical inaccuracy of limiting ways in which biracials could choose to identify, all of th e above questions gave respondents the option to provide or supplement their responses in the form of open-ended questions or a comment box. This study requested people whom were of both black and white heritage. By stating this criterion, rather than requesting biracial pa rticipants, this study was not
29 limited to the population that identifies itself as biracial ; those who follow the One-Drop Rule and consistently identified themselves as black were therefore not lost from consideration. Also resulting from this criteria statement were responses from people with a third heritage; the seven of such res ponses that had 12 percen t or less of a third heritage were retained in the study. Although race is no t a biological fact, these percentage measures allowed one to see wh ether participants might use the One Drop Rule in application to their pa rents; e.g. describe one parent as black and the other white, but describe oneself as ha ving 75% white heritage a nd 25% black heritage.
30 Chapter 6: UK Results/ Discussion/Comparison Descriptive Statistics Most of the participants considered them selves to be biracial (62.9%), some of them considered themselves to be black ( 17.1%), while 20% either did not respond or answer using them terms. Most participants reported that they were perceived as black mixed with something else (40%), some re ported being perceived as biracial (28.6%), others reported being perceived as white or white mixed with something else (both 11.4%), one reported being perceived as white (2.9%), while 5.7% either did not respond to this item or did not answer using these te rms. In this sample most people responded that their family endorsed a bi racial identity (62.9%), othe rs reported that their families endorsed a black identity ( 11.4%), while 25.7% either did not answer by using these terms or did not answer this item. Data Correlations The U.K. had some correlations similar to those of the U.S., though no additional correlations were found. Possible Familial Influence. As with the U.S. participants, the racial identity endorsed by parents was correlated with the racial iden tity one reported their experience to be most like; r (25) = .402, p = .046. On the other hand, the ra cial identity endorsed by parents did not correlate with the physic al appearance of respondents r (26) = .359, p = .072, nor with the secondary and traits of respondents r (26) = -.126, p = .539.
31 Also as in the U.S. sample, people w ho understood their life experience to be more typical of white identity also tende d to have a more white self-concept r (27) = .024, p = .024. Also similarly to the U.S, participants who understood their life experience to be more typical of white identity further te nded to exhibit more of a white physical appearance r (33) = .410, p = .018. Possible Comparison Familial Influence Perhaps cross-culturally, the black/white biracials saw their life experi ence as typifying the identity that their family endorsed of them, and that identity which they understood themselves as physically resembling. Though familial influence proved important in that measure, perhaps U.K. parents were not responding to their childrens physical ap pearance when choosing an identity to endorse, as U.S. parents perhaps do. Either U. K. participants did not see their secondary and tertiary traits as typifyi ng the racial identity endorsed for them by their families, or they were not influenced by their family to adopt the mannerisms typical of the identity the family endorsed. Primary to Secondary & Tertiary Cues. Of U.K. participants, physical appearance component averages (of hair, skin tone, f acial features) did not correlate with the secondary and tertiary trait average (of sp eech used and clothing/accessories worn); r (34) = .219, p = .213. Possible Explanation Primary to Secondary & Tertiary Cues. Unlike as in the U.S., phenotypic expression is perhaps not a meaningladen symbol by which social others use
32 to make racial group designation, or communi cate this designation via interaction, and influence the biracial to modify their secondary and tertiary cues in accordance with that race, as was indicated in the U.S samples resu lts. Perhaps because of variations from the U.S. in its race relations history, Symbolic In teractionism perhaps operates differently in the U.K.; modification of the secondary and ter tiary racial cues does not occur as in the U.S. Primary Racial Cue Components. People who answered that th eir facial features were more indicative of white heritage did not also tend to agree that their hair r (33)= .737 p =.061 was also indicative of that heritage, though the correla tion between facial features and skin tone, r (34)= .330, p =.172, approached significance. Secondary & Tertiary Cues. People who indicated that thei r speech patterns were more typical of white identity did not also indicate that their style of clothing was more typical of white identity; r (34)= .436, p =.130. Social Contexts & Secondary/Tertiary Cues As in the case of the U.S. respondents, people who reported their lifetime social contex ts to be more white also tended to report that their speech used and cl othing worn average was more typical of that identity r (34) = .444, p = .009. Possible Explanation Social Contex ts & Secondary/Tertiary Cues. As in the U.S., black/white biracials possibly ta ke on the performed racial cu es that are associated with the majority population of their social contexts
33 Possible Explanation Pre-adult vs. Adult Context Demographics As in the U.S., it is possible that before adulthood, participants we re less aware of r ace as a differentiating point between themselves and their social contacts, though closer to adulthood, they described their contacts as being more bl ack than previously. Or, as the second explanation offered for the U.S. of this findi ng, as biracials aged they experienced the effects of a black/white dichotomized societ y and associated more closely with their disenfranchised heritage. Gender Differences. There were no significant gender differences found in this sample, as was found in the U.S. sample.
34 Chapter 7: Conclusion Variances between the U.S. and the U.K. could be understood as resulting from the presence or lack of the One Drop Rule in their respective histories. This thesis has throughout argued that the U.S.s One-Drop Rule legacy has determined that black and white races have reflexively defined each other. It has been logistically confirmed that the phenomenon of Symbolic Inter action indeed occurs in the formation of biracial selfconcept. The findings indicate d that Symbolic Interaction was at work in this scenario, though not as hypothesized on pages 22-23, with biracials changing their behavioral racial cues to be in agreement with others assessment of their appearances. Rather, the results of this study indicate that inst ead of behaviors being manipulations of presentation, it is more likely that biracials actually view themselves as having the behaviors that are generally associated with the race that bears the most similar physical characteristics to their own. This supports research that suggests that people actively produce identity through their talk (Howard 2000); perhaps ve rbal communication is the medium by which peoples implied meanings made of appearance are conveyed, the meaning-laden symbol by which biracials form self-concepts. Expression of dress does not factor into communication as directly as verbal expressi on; speech is more closely associated with appearance. This is because language plays a central part in the de velopment of meaning, which develops through interaction (Howard 2000). The implications of this studys results support that contextu al variations shift self-concepts. The racial composition of one s social contacts moderates biracials understanding of the racial typica lity of their secondary and tert iary cues. In other words,
35 they saw themselves as exhibiting behaviors more closely associated with the racial majority. Keeping in consideration that ear lier researchers used asymmetric racial identification choices, the implication of earlie r findings on identity is that biracials are additionally motivated to identify in greater association with the majority population of their social contexts, th ough not to the extent of white identification. Perhaps because the participants were of mostly predominantly white contexts, the black heritage in their features were mo re distinguishable, maki ng that heritage more consequential in their social networks perceptions, and, consequently, their selfconcepts. Very few of the participants of this study described themselves as having a white self-identification, experience, or perception by others, in comparison to the common frequency with which participants as sociated themselves with blackness or biraciality on those measures. The experien ce of being perceived as black mixed with something else was more prevalent than being perceived as white mixed with something else in both the U.S. and U.K. samples; perhaps rec ognition of minority features within a majority-white population is what enables the survival of the One-Drop Ruleblack/white biracial peoples minor ity heritage features are perhaps more distinguishable. A true appli cation of this is that if whites were to become a minority race, white features would become ones di stinguishing heritage, which could possibly moderate the stronghold of white privilege. A study by Yancey (2003) gave some s upport to recent debates about the U.S society moving from a White/non-White society to a Black/non-Black society. Its results indicated that higher socioeconomic status wa s not associated with black/white parents racial designation of their children as biracial and white, as it was with Hispanic/White
36 and Asian/White parents. Perhaps this resu lt was found because black /white parents have acted upon the history of the One Drop Rule di chotomy, as has not been present in the pasts of Caucasian/Hispanic and Ca ucasian/Asian relations (Yancey 2003). As identities locate a person in social sp ace by nature of the interactions that these identities imply (Howard 2000), our society could pe rhaps expect a trend of people of African-American descent moving away from bl ack self concepts more typical of a time characterized by African-American solidarit y and toward mixed-race identification, reflective of more households becoming mix ed race and narrowing social distance between black and white populations. If mis cegenation and mixed -race identification continue to increase as they are currently, social contexts could become more racially diverse, with more mixed-race people. C onsequently, a possible result of multiple identity options to an increasing mixed-r ace population could be the transcendence of racial categories as they were previously recognized, thereby le ssening the hegemonic racial operations of our society. Limitations /Researcher Biases An expansion on this study would entail more detailed measures of self-reported racial cue components. T hough the primary racial cue of appearance was expanded into several components (hair, skin color, f acial features), those components could use expansion. For example, hair could be an average of color, texture, and style measures. The secondary racial cue of speech used could be transformed into an average of intonation and figures of speech used. Perhaps for the Interracial Contact Variable, the survey should have solicited an estimated percent of blacks, whites, and other races to a llow acknowledgement of other
37 races that are neither white nor black. However, this item would then not be a scale ranging from blackness to whiteness and woul d possibly present difficulties in finding correlations between this ite m and others because it w ould no longer be a scale. A possible research bias is the subjectiv e idea that particip ants who have 12 percent or less of a third racial heritage perhaps do not consider this heritage important to their self-concept and/or identification because that racial heritage origin is about three generations removed; th ose participants have not likely come into contact with a living full-blooded third race relative. Another bias is the idea that the participant is likely out of contact with the community from which th eir third-heritage ancestry came, or that their contacts have not interacted with/perceiv ed them as a person of their third heritage. Another possible researcher bias is that this authors studys subjective understanding of previuos res earch on this topic was influe nced by the social mores and political constructs of more recent times, ju st as previous researches were influenced similarly in their respective studies. Curren tly, U.S. society is characterized by greater social integration of the races than previo usly, and therefore th is author views an integrated racial self-identification of biracials to be ideal The opinion that the aforementioned biracial researchers studie s, conducted during times of greater social segregation of races that were therefore skewed toward black identification survey response items, was limiting to biracials of previous times is perhaps applying ones own present racial identification inclinations to previous research survey item options.
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43 Appendix A: The Informed Consent Form New College of Florida Informed Consent For persons 18 years of age or older who take part in a research study The following information is being presented to help you decide wh ether or not you want to take part in research study. Please r ead this carefully. If you do not understand anything, ask the person in charge of the study. Title of research study: Biracials Self-Concepts Person in charge of study: Alexis Holly Schwartz The purpose of this research study is to gain insight to biracial experiences. Description You are invited to participate in a research study on biracial identity and self concept. You will be asked to answer a questionnaire about experiences Your participation will take approximately 10 minutes. Benefits of Being a Part of this Research Study This study will incur self -reflective activities. Risks of Being a Part of this Research Study There are no risks to this study. Payment for Participation You will not be paid for your participation in this study. Confidentiality of Your Records Your privacy is important. However, the resu lts of this study may be published. Though this study will not obtain your name, your individual privacy will be maintained in all published and written data resulting from the study. Only authorized research personnel, employees of the Department of Health and Human Services and the NCF Institutional Review Board may inspect the data from this research project. The data obtained from you will be combined with data from others in the publication. Th e published results will not include your name or any other informa tion that would personally identify you in any way. Volunteering to Be Part of this Research Study If you have read this form and have decide d to participate in this project, please understand your participation is voluntary a nd you have the right to withdraw your consent or discontinue particip ation at any time without pena lty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled. You have the right to refuse to answer particular questions.
44Questions and Contacts If you have any questions about this research study, contact Alexis Schwartz at (850) 766-6320 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org If you have questions about your rights as a person who is taking part in a research study, you may contact the Human Protections Administrator of New College of Florida at (941) 487-4649 or by email at email@example.com Consent to Take Part in This Research Study By signing this form I agree that: I have fully read or have had read and explai ned to me this informed consent form describing this research project. I have had the opportunity to question one of t he persons in charge of this research and have received satisfactory answers. I understand that I am being asked to participate in research. I understand the risks and benefits, and I freely give my consent to participate in the research project outlined in this form, under the conditions indicated in it. I am able to print a copy of this informed consent form, which is mine to keep.
45 Appendix B: The Survey Instrument 1. Please select the state where you spent the most time growing up. State: 2. Please provide the location in whic h you spent the most time growing up. State/Providence State: 3. Please choose the option with which you mostly agree. I consider myself my minority he ritage (not White or Biracial) I sometimes consider myself my minority heritage, sometimes White, and sometimes ----Biracial depending on the circumstances I consider myself Biracial (not my minority heritage or White). I consider myself White (not my minority heritage or Biracial) Race is meaningless, I do not believe in racial identities Other (please specify) 4. I experience the world as a My minority heritage person Biracial A white person 5. Please choose the option with which you most agree. I physically look my minority he ritage and most people assume that I am that heritage My physical features are ambiguous; most pe ople assume I am my minority heritage mixed with something else
46 "I physically look biracial" My physical features are ambiguous; most pe ople assume that I am White mixed with something else I physically look White and most people assume that I am White Other (please specify) 6. For each category, please respond for whether it was populated with all my minority heritage, mostly my minority heritage, about half my minority heritage/whites, mostly whites, or all whites. Your: all my minority heritage mostly my minority heritage about half my minority heritage/whites mostly whites all whites Family elementary school closest friends in elementary school j unior hi g h school closest friends in junior high school high school closest friends in high school college, if applicable closest friends in college, if applicable neighborhood while growing up present neighborhood place of worship, if applicable present
47 On a scale of 1 to 9, please indicate which race you believe your features to be most indicative of, with 1 being your minority heritage, and 9 being white. 1. Facial Features 1 minority heritage 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 white 2. Hair 1 minority heritage 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 white 3. Skin Color 1 minority heritage 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 white 4. Language most often used is most typical of1 minority heritage 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 white 5. Clothing/Accessories most ofte n worn is most typical of1 minority heritage 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 white 1. I feel peoples racial iden tification of me is continge nt upon my physical traits1 Disagree 2 3 4 5 Agree 2. I feel peoples racial identification of me is contingent upon my speechworkplace, if applicable
48 1 Disagree 2 3 4 5 Agree 3. I feel peoples racial identification of me is contingent upon my dress1 Disagree 2 3 4 5 Agree 1. What is your age in years? 2. What sex are you? 3. Please choose the last year of education you completed. Less than high school Completed high school or GED Some college Completed an AA or Community college Graduated from a 4-year college Some graduate school Completed a masters degree Completed a Ph.D or profe ssional degree (MD, JD, DDS) 1. What is the race of your mother? 2. Please choose the last year of education your mother completed Less than high school Completed high school or GED Some college (2or 4-year college) Completed an AA or Community college Graduated from a 4-year college Some graduate school Completed a masters degree Completed a Ph.D or profe ssional degree (MD, JD, DDS) 3. What is the race of your father? 4. Please choose the last year of education your father completed
49 Less than high school Completed high school or GED Some college (2or 4-year college) Completed an AA or Community college Graduated from a 4-year college Some graduate school Completed a masters degree Completed a Ph.D or profe ssional degree (MD, JD, DDS) 5. What racial identity do es your family encourage? My minority heritage Biracial White Other (please specify) 6. What is your minority heritage? 7. Please provide an estimate of the p ercentages of your racial heritages. This number should total 100. 8. Please provide an estimate of the year ly average income your family made during your adolescence.
50 Appendix C: The Recruitment Materials Recruitment Materials for Web Forums [seeking black/white biracial participants for study] Hi, Im looking for black/white persons to respond to my undergraduate senior study about biracial identity. If you are between the ag es of 18-25 and wish to contribute to this research, please follow the link provided. Your participation will take about 10 minutes of your time and would be much appreciated. Alexis http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YXFSMHZ Recruitment Material Email to Professors Hello Professor________, I hope your summer session has been we ll. I am an undergraduate at New College of Florida doing my senior thesis on biracial identity and self -concept, and wish to collect data from your students this summer. I am seeking students who have black and white heritage, are ages 18-25, and wouldn' t mind ta king less than 10 minutes to complete my survey. This study has been approved by my institution's IRB committee, and I will share any prepared materials you wish to s ee. May I possibly introduce my study to you and your class, and distribute hard copy ques tionnaires? Or in the event that you are conducting online courses, would you possi bly forward your students this link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TJBN9C6 to the online version? I would much appreciate it. many thanks, Alexis Schwartz
51 Recruitment Request Spoken in Classrooms Hi, Im an undergraduate st udent at New College of Fl orida working on a Social Sciences senior thesis on bi racial experiences. Im looki ng for people ages 18 to 25 who are of both black and white heritage, to answ er a questionnaire which takes less than ten minutes to complete. Im going to pass around the questionnaires, please keep one if you intend to answer it. Please return all surveys at the end of class in this envelope at the front. Beside this folder are copies of the informed consent form for you to keep, describing the project as it concer ns your participation. Thank you.
52 Appendix D: Descriptive Statistics and Data Correlations by Country **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). *. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). U.S. Tables Descriptive Statistics Gender Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid female 21 55.3 55.3 55.3 male 17 44.7 44.7 100.0 Total 38 100.0 100.0 consider self Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid black 4 10.5 17.4 17.4 biracial 18 47.4 78.3 95.7 white 1 2.6 4.3 100.0 Total 23 60.5 100.0 Missing System 15 39.5 Total 38 100.0 family endorse Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid black 3 7.9 10.7 10.7 biracial 22 57.9 78.6 89.3 white 3 7.9 10.7 100.0 Total 28 73.7 100.0 Missing System 10 26.3
53 family endorse Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid black 3 7.9 10.7 10.7 biracial 22 57.9 78.6 89.3 white 3 7.9 10.7 100.0 Total 28 73.7 100.0 Missing System 10 26.3 Total 38 100.0 perceived as Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid 1 3 7.9 8.3 8.3 2 10 26.3 27.8 36.1 3 13 34.2 36.1 72.2 4 8 21.1 22.2 94.4 5 2 5.3 5.6 100.0 Total 36 94.7 100.0 Missing System 2 5.3 Total 38 100.0 Data Correlations Table 1 Familial Influence family endorse experience as appearance sec & ter family endorse Pearson Correlation 1 .511* .497** .627** Sig. (2-tailed) .013 .007 .000 N 28 23 28 28 experience as Pearson Correlation .511* 1 .435* .367* Sig. (2-tailed) .013 .018 .050 N 23 29 29 29 appearance Pearson Correlation .497** .435* 1 .500**
54 Sig. (2-tailed) .007 .018 .001 N 28 29 38 38 consider self experience as Pearson Correlation .840** Sig. (2-tailed) .000 N 20 perceived as Pearson Correlation .446** Sig. (2-tailed) .006 N 36 Table 2 Primary to Secondary and Tertiary Racial Cues sec & ter appearance Pearson Correlation .500** Sig. (2-tailed) .001 N 38 speech wear appearance Pearson Correlation .517** .317 Sig. (2-tailed) .001 .053 N 37 38 Table 3 Primary Racial Cue Components face hair Skin face Pearson Correlation 1 .414** .552** Sig. (2-tailed) .010 .000 N 38 38 38 hair Pearson Correlation .414** 1 -.065 appearance
55 Sig. (2-tailed) .010 .697 N 38 38 38 Table 4 Secondary and Tertiary Cues wear speech Pearson Correlation .396* Sig. (2-tailed) .015 N 37 Table 5 Social Contexts and S econdary/Tertiary Racial Cues sec & ter all context Pearson Correlation .438** Sig. (2-tailed) .006 N 38 Table 6 Gender Differences experience as gender Pearson Correlation -.379* Sig. (2-tailed) .043 N 29 gender experience as consider self perceived as Appearance family endorse sec & ter all cont e female Mean 2.00 2.00 3.05 5.1429 2.05 6.7381 3. 4 N 17 12 20 21 19 21 Std. Deviation .354 .426 .999 1.45133 .405 1.87496 .51 male Mean 1.67 1.73 2.69 4.7059 1.89 6.0588 3. 3 N 12 11 16 17 9 17 Std. Deviation .492 .467 1.078 1.53606 .601 1.75786 .4 0 Total Mean 1.86 1.87 2.89 4.9474 2.00 6.4342 3. 3 N 29 23 36 38 28 38
56 U.K. Tables Descriptive Statistics consider self Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid black 6 17.1 21.4 21.4 biracial 22 62.9 78.6 100.0 Total 28 80.0 100.0 Missing System 7 20.0 Total 35 100.0 perceived as Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid 1 4 11.4 12.1 12.1 2 14 40.0 42.5 54.6 3 10 28.6 30.3 84.9 4 4 11.4 12.1 97 5 1 2.9 3 100 Total 33 94.3 100.0 Missing System 2 5.7 Total 35 100.0 family endorse Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid black 4 11.4 15.4 15.4 biracial 22 62.9 84.6 100.0 Total 26 74.3 100.0
57 Missing System 9 25.7 Total 35 100.0 Data Correlations Table 1 Familial Influence consider self experience as Pearson Correlation .434* Sig. (2-tailed) .024 N 27 Table 2 Primary to Secondary & Tertiary Cues sec & ter appearance Pearson Correlation .163 Sig. (2-tailed) .357 N 34 Table 3 Primary Cue Components hair skin face hair Pearson Correlation 1 .241 .061 Sig. (2-tailed) .177 .737 N 33 33 33 family endorse experience as appearance sec & ter family endorse Pearson Correlation 1 .402* .359 -.126 Sig. (2-tailed) .046 .072 .539 N 26 25 26 26 experience as Pearson Correlation .402* 1 .410* -.143 Sig. (2-tailed) .046 .018 .428 N 25 34 33 33 appearance Pearson Correlation .359 .410* 1 .163 Sig. (2-tailed) .072 .018 .357 N 26 33 34 34
58 skin Pearson Correlation .241 1 .172 Sig. (2-tailed) .177 .330 N 33 34 34 Table 4 Secondary and Tertiary Cues wear speech Pearson Correlation .130 Sig. (2-tailed) .463 N 34 Table 5 Social Contexts a nd Secondary/Tertiary Cues sec & ter all context Pearson Correlation .444** Sig. (2-tailed) .009 N 34