2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

The Politics of Biracial Identity: An Exploration of How Internalized Oppression Manifests in Black/White Mixed-Race People
Ashley A. Adams
Dr. Kerry Ann Rockquemore (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Dr. Elaine McDuff, Faculty Mentors

Since the mid 1980’s research on racial identity development among mixed-race people has increasingly emphasized biracial identification over black identification. Psychologists have argued that it is problematic for mixed-race people to develop a black identity because it signifies an internalization of the white supremacy embedded within the One-Drop Rule. This paper challenges the notion that internalized oppression is linked directly and exclusively to black identity. Instead, I ask how internalized oppression manifests in mixed race people across several different racial identifications. By analyzing 20 in-depth interviews of mixed-race people who identify as Black, Biracial and White, I demonstrate the need to decouple internalized oppression from any specific racial identification. The findings help to clarify the therapeutic process by allowing therapists who work with mixed-race clients to focus more on the pathway an individual takes to racial self-understanding than on the racial label a client uses.

Keywords: Biracial Identity , Oppression, Racial labels


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 16-1
Location: VH 1010
Time: 8:15 am

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