Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-wr4x4 Total loading time: 0.535 Render date: 2023-02-01T02:47:09.487Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

A POSTRACIAL SOCIETY OR A DIVERSITY PARADOX?

Race, Immigration, and Multiraciality in the Twenty-First Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2012

Jennifer Lee*
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine
Frank D. Bean
Affiliation:
Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy, University of California, Irvine
*
*Professor Jennifer Lee, Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-5100. E-mail: jenlee@uci.edu

Abstract

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Southern states decreed that one drop of African American blood made a multiracial individual Black, and even today, multiracial Blacks are typically perceived as being Black only, underscoring the enduring legacy and entrenchment of the one-drop rule of hypodescent. But how are Asians and Latinos with mixed ancestry perceived? Based on analyses of census data and in-depth interviews with interracial couples with children and multiracial adults, I find that the children of Asian-White and Latino-White couples are much less constrained by strict racial categories. Racial identification often shifts according to situation, and individuals can choose to identify along ethnic lines, as White, or as American. Like their Irish and Italian immigrant forerunners, the Asian and Latino ethnicities of these multiracial Americans are adopting the symbolic character of European, White ethnicity. We appear to be entering a new era of race relations in which the boundaries of Whiteness are beginning to expand to include new non-White groups such as Asians and Latinos, with multiracial Asians and Latinos at the head of the queue. However, even amidst the new racial and ethnic diversity, these processes continue to shut out African Americans, illustrating a pattern of “Black exceptionalism” and the emergence of a Black–non-Black divide in the twenty-first century.

Type
Special Feature
Copyright
Copyright © W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Alba, Richard (1990). Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Alba, Richard (2009). Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Bean, Frank D. and Stevens, Gillian (2003). America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Bobo, Lawrence (2011). Somewhere between Jim Crow & Post-Racialism. Daedalus, 140(2): 1126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DaCosta, Kimberly McClain (2007). Making Multiracials: State, Family, and Market in the Redrawing of the Color Line. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Dalmage, H. M. (2000). Tripping on the Color Line: Black-White Multiracial Families in a Racially Divided World. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
Davis, F. James ([1991] 2001). Who is Black? One Nation's Definition. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
Davis, Kingsley (1941). Intermarriage in Caste Societies. American Anthropologist, 43(3): 376396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dawson, Michael C. and Merseth, Julie Lee (2011). Racial Pessimism in the Early Obama Era. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Seattle, WA. September 1–4.Google Scholar
Edmonston, Barry, Lee, Sharon M., and Passel, Jeffrey S. (2002). Recent Trends in Intermarriage and Immigration and their Effects on the Future Racial Composition of the U.S. Population. In Perlmann, J. and Waters, M. C. (Eds.), The New Race Question: How the Census Counts Multiracial Individuals, pp. 227255. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Eschbach, Karl (1995). The Enduring and Vanishing American Indian: American Indian Population Growth and Intermarriage in 1990. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 18(1): 89108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eschbach, Karl and Gomez, Christina (1998). Choosing Hispanic Identity: Ethnic Identity Switching among Respondents to High School and Beyond. Social Science Quarterly, 79(1): 7490.Google Scholar
Eschbach, Karl, Supple, Khalil, and Snipp, Matthew (1998). Changes in Racial Identification and the Educational Attainment of American Indians, 1970–1990. Demography, 35(1): 3543.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Farley, Reynolds (2004). Identifying with Multiple Races: A Social Movement That Succeeded but Failed? In Krysan, Maria and Lewis, Amanda E. (Eds.), The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity, pp. 123148. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Fields, Barbara J. (1990). Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America. New Left Review, 181(May–June): 95118.Google Scholar
Foner, Nancy (2005). In A New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
Foner, Nancy and Fredrickson, George M. (2004). Not Just Black and White: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Fryer, Roland G. Jr. (2007). Guess Who's Been Coming to Dinner? Trends in Interracial Marriage over the 20th Century. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(2): 7190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Funderburg, Lise (1994). Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk About Race and Identity. New York: William Morrow and Company.Google Scholar
Gans, Herbert J. (1979). Symbolic Ethnicity: The Future of Ethnic Groups and Cultures in America. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2(1): 120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gans, Herbert J. (1999). The Possibility of a New Racial Hierarchy in the Twenty-First Century United States. In Lamont, Michele (Ed.), The Cultural Territories of Race: Black and White Boundaries, pp. 371390. Chicago, IL and New York: University of Chicago Press and Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Glazer, Nathan (1997). We Are All Multiculturalists Now. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Gordon, Milton M. (1964). Assimilation in American Life: the Role of Race, Religion, and National Origins. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Haney-Lopez, Ian (1996). White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
Harris, David and Sim, Jeremiah (2002). Who is Multiracial? Assessing the Complexity of Lived Race. American Sociological Review, 67(4): 614627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hochschild, Jennifer L. (2005). Looking Ahead: Racial Trends in the United States. Daedalus, 134(1): 7081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hochschild, Jennifer L., Weaver, Vesla M., and Burch, Traci (2011). Destabilizing the American Racial Order. Daedalus, 140(2): 151165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hollinger, David A. (2003). Amalgamation and Hypodescent: The Question of Ethnoracial Mixture in the History of the United States. American Historical Review, 108(5): 13631390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hollinger, David A. (2008). Obama, The Instability of Color Lines, and the Promise of a Postethnic Future. Callaloo, 31(4): 10331037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Humes, Karen R., Jones, Nicolas A., and Ramirez, Roberto R. (2011). Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010. U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
Jacoby, Tamar (2001). An End to Counting Race? Commentary, 111, 6(June): 3740.Google Scholar
Jiménez, Tomás (2010). Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Kalmijn, Matthijs (1998). Intermarriage and Homogamy: Causes, Patterns, Trends. Annual Review of Sociology, 23: 395421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kennedy, Randall (2003). Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
Kennedy, Randall (2011). The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
King, Desmond S. and Smith, Rogers M. (2005). Racial Orders in American Political Development. American Political Science Review, 99(1): 7592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Korgen, Kathleen O. (1998). From Black to Biracial: Transforming Racial Identity Among Americans. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
Lee, Jennifer and Bean, Frank D. (2004). America's Changing Color Lines: Immigration, Race/Ethnicity, and Multiracial Identification. Annual Review of Sociology, 30: 221242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lee, Jennifer and Bean, Frank D. (2007). Reinventing the Color Line: Immigration and America's New Racial/Ethnic Divide. Social Forces, 86(2): 561586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lee, Jennifer and Bean, Frank D. (2010). The Diversity Paradox: Immigration and the Color Line in 21st Century America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Lee, Jennifer and Zhou, Min (2004). Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Lee, Sharon M. and Edmonston, Barry (2005). New Marriages, New Families: U.S. Racial and Hispanic Intermarriage. Population Bulletin, 60(2): 136.Google Scholar
Lee, Taeku (2011). Post-Racial and Pan-Racial Politics. Daedalus, 140(2): 136150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Loewen, James (1971). The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Loveman, Mara and Muniz, Jeronimo O. (2007). How Puerto Rico Became White: Boundary Dynamics and Inter-Census Reclassification. American Sociological Review, 72: 915939.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Loving v. Virginia (1967). 388 U.S. 1.Google Scholar
Massey, Douglas S. (2007). Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Massey, Douglas S. (2011). The Past and Future of American Civil Rights. Daedalus, 140(2): 3754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Merton, Robert K. (1941). Intermarriage and Social Structure: Fact and Theory. Psychiatry, 4: 361374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moran, Rachel F. (2001). Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Nagel, Joane (1994). Constructing Ethnicity: Creating and Recreating Ethnic Identity and Culture. Social Problems, 41(1): 152176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nagourney, Adam (2008). Obama Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls. New York Times, November 5. ⟨http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/us/politics/05elect.html?pagewanted=all⟩ (accessed November 8, 2011).Google Scholar
Nobles, Melissa (2000). Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Okamura, Jonathan (1981). Situational Ethnicity. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 4: 452465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Passel, Jeffrey S., Wang, Wendy, and Taylor, Paul (2010). Marrying Out: One-in-Seven New U.S. Marriages Is Interracial or Interethnic. Pew Research Center: A Social and Demographic Trends Report.Google Scholar
Patterson, Orlando (1997). The Ordeal of Integration: Progress and Resentment in America's “Racial” Crises. Washington, DC: Counterpoint Press.Google Scholar
Perlmann, Joel and Waters, Mary C. (2004). Intermarriage Then and Now: Race, Generation, and the Changing Meaning of Marriage. In Foner, N. and Fredrickson, G. M. (Eds.), Not Just Black and White: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States, pp. 262277. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). 163 U.S. 537.Google Scholar
Qian, Zhenchao and Lichter, Daniel T. (2007). Social Boundaries and Marital Assimilation: Interpreting Trends in Racial and Ethnic Intermarriage. American Sociological Review, 72(1): 6894.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quillian, Lincoln and Campbell, Mary (2003). Beyond Black and White: The Present and Future of Multiracial Friendship Segregation. American Sociological Review, 68: 540566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Richeson, Jennifer A. and Craig, Maureen A. (2011). Intra-minority Intergroup Relations in the Twenty-First Century. Daedalus, 140(2): 166175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rodríguez, Clara E. and Cordero-Guzman, Hector (1992). Placing Race in Context. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 15(4): 523542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rodriguez, Gregory (2007). Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
Romano, Renee (2003). Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Root, Maria P. (2001). Love's Revolution: Interracial Marriage. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
Rosenfeld, Michael J. (2002). Measures of Assimilation in the Marriage Market: Mexican Americans. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 64: 152162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roth, Wendy D. (2005). The End of the One-Drop Rule? Labeling of Multiracial Children in Black Intermarriages. Sociological Forum, 20(1): 3567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ruggles, Steven, Sobek, Matthew, Alexander, Trent, Fitch, Catherine A., Goeken, Ronald, Hall, Patricia Kelly, King, Miriam, and Ronnander, Chad (2009). Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 4.0 [machine-readable database]. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Population Center [producer and distributor].Google Scholar
Saenz, Rogelio and Aguirre, Benigno E. (1991). The Dynamics of Mexican Ethnic Identity. Ethnic Groups, 9: 1732.Google Scholar
Saenz, Rogelio, Hwang, Sean-Shong, Aguirre, Benigno E., and Anderson, Robert N. (1995). Persistence and Change in Asian Identity Among Children of Intermarried Couples. Sociological Perspectives, 38(2): 175194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sanjek, Roger (1994). Intermarriage and the Future of the Races. In Gregory, S. and Sanjek, R. (Eds.), Race, pp. 103130. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
Sears, David O., Fu, Mingying, Henry, P. J., and Bui, Kerra (2003). The Origins and Persistence of Ethnic Identity among the ‘New Immigrant’ Groups. Social Psychology Quarterly, 66(4): 419437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Skrentny, John D. (2001). Affirmative Action and New Demographic Realities. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 16, B7B10.Google Scholar
Song, Miri (2009). Is Intermarriage a Good Indicator of Integration? Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35(2): 331348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stephan, Cookie White and Stephan, Walter G. (1989). After Intermarriage: Ethnic Identity Among Mixed-Heritage Japanese-Americans and Hispanics. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51: 507519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tafoya, Sonya M., Johnson, Hans, and Hill, Laura E. (2005). Who Chooses to Choose Two? In Farley, R. and Haaga, J. (Eds.), The American People: Census 2000, pp. 332351. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Telles, Edward E. and Sue, Christina A. (2009). Race Mixture: Boundary Crossing in Comparative Perspective. Annual Review of Sociology, 35: 129146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tizard, Barbara and Phoenix, Ann (1993). Black, White or Mixed Race? Race and Racism in the Lives of Young People of Mixed Parentage. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Waldinger, Roger (2011). Immigration: The New American Dilemma. Daedalus, 140(2): 215225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Warren, Jonathan W. and Twine, France Winddance (1997). White Americans, the New Minority? Journal of Black Studies, 28(2): 200218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Waters, Mary C. (1990). Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Waters, Mary C. (1999). Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities. New York and Cambridge, MA: Russell Sage Foundation; Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Williams, Kim (2006). Mark One or More. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wilson, Anne (1981). In Between: The Mother in the Interracial Family. New Community, 9: 208215.Google Scholar
Xie, Yu and Goyette, Kimberly (1997). The Racial Identification of Biracial Children with One Asian Parent: Evidence from the 1990 Census. Social Forces, 76(2): 547570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zhou, Min and Lee, Jennifer (2007). Becoming Ethnic or Becoming American? Reflecting on the Divergent Pathways to Social Mobility and Assimilation among the New Second Generation. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 4(1): 189205.Google Scholar
18
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

A POSTRACIAL SOCIETY OR A DIVERSITY PARADOX?
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

A POSTRACIAL SOCIETY OR A DIVERSITY PARADOX?
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

A POSTRACIAL SOCIETY OR A DIVERSITY PARADOX?
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *