Speaker: Lionel K. McPherson, Associate Professor, Tufts University
Mainstream recognition of mixed-race identity, which proponents of black solidarity have sometimes feared and resisted, poses no serious threat to the stability of Black American social identity. Americans who identify as racially or socioancestrally black can respectfully coexist with Americans who have visible African ancestry and identify as mixed race. There is conceptual and practical room for nonstandard racial identities. At the same time, mixed-race advocacy has lent credence to retrograde, essentialist thinking about racial difference. The American practice of assigning persons to monoracial categories generally does not, nor tries to, track the total facts of an individual’s continental ancestry. Despite the hype, mixed-race identity does not reflect a distinctive kind of racial being.