Don't believe the hype! Multiracials are not new. They are the products of racial blending of various groups -- beginning with Native Americans and European settlers -- throughout US history. Multiracial identities have been leveraged for social and anti-social purposes since the dawn of print media. Even in today's networked world we are still figuring out how this "full color" demographic fits into a historically black-and-white racial context.
This year's election season is "the battle of the racial passers." While many have fixated on the authenticity of a multiracial President Obama and a Latino Mitt Romney, questions of racial identity and passing have taken center stage in the Massachusetts Senate race between GOP incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren as well.
Today my book, CLEARLY INVISIBLE: RACIAL PASSING AND THE COLOR OF CULTURAL IDENTITY is released, and I need your help.
This is my first book (published by Baylor University Press). It's like giving birth to a child except it took longer and I don't have to start a college fund. In all other ways, however, the commitment is the same, and I'm writing to ask for your help in making this research project and provocative, full color conversation-starter a best-selling book.
With the November election less than 100 days away, the Obama campaign continues to come up against questions about the president's racial identity. Most recently, reports that the president is "passing," or claiming that he's representing himself as a member of a different racial group than the one(s) to which he belongs, have resurfaced.
For instance, actor Morgan Freeman recently told NPR, "America's first black president hasn't arisen yet. He's not America's first black president -- he's America's first mixed-race president." The logic behind such claims is twofold. First, the president is not really African American because his American mother is white (and, by extension, his ancestors were not enslaved). Second, that being "mixed-race" and being "black" are mutually exclusive categories.
Lana Del Rey has done it again. Her latest controversial video, “National Anthem,” co-stars A$AP Rocky and plays homage to JFK and the women who loved him with a twist. JFK is black. The Kennedy children are multiracial. The video features an interracial first couple that “mixes it up” politically, interpersonally, and sexually.
These images suggest that the time for multiracialism is now. But is it really? Does today’s focus on multiracialism mean that we’re finally seeing the end of racism? Or does it mean that racism has simply been made over? The answers to these questions depend largely on talking and to whom we talk.
With the November election drawing ever closer the Obama campaign is beset with accusations of Obama’s “passing,” or claims that he's representing himself as a member of a different racial group than the one(s) to which he belongs.
None of this particularly surprised me, as I wrote several weeks ago about the power of passing when it comes to Mitt Romney, here on Huffington Post. My assessment of the role of passing in creating American identity was drawn from my new book, Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity, which covers the same ground as many of Obama’s political and social critics. We come to the same conclusion: passing is alive and well. It is a unique part of the way we understand and enact the mixed experience.
Recently released reports by the Pew Center and the US Census Bureau indicate that intermarriage across racial and ethnic lines and an increasing non-white demographic continue to be on the rise in the U.S.
Given this month’s focus on Loving Day and its impact on multiracial ancestries we can certainly take this news as cause for celebration and a reason to continue the fight for marriage equality everywhere. And, as I argue in my book Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity, we should remember that a fuller and more accurate historical account of interracial sex and marriage in the U.S. should also focus on the details.