All in the family: The familial roots of racial division

Kimberly Mc Clain Da Costa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Debates about multiracial politics have tended to focus on the most obviously "racial" nature of the issues at stake (Will a multiracial category alter race-based social policies? Will such a category reify a biological notion of race? Do multiracials seek to escape a stigmatized status?). Yet even a brief glance at the forms of collective organization, goals, and activities of persons of mixed descent make it clear that the Multiracial Movement is as much a politicization of kinship as it is one of racial identity-one in which multiracial families are emerging as families. Most of the more than sixty local community groups formed in the last twenty years were formed by interracial couples and multiracial people to meet others like them and share experiences. Through the formation of groups and the attempt to name their experience ("multiracial"), interracial families try to make visible and normalize that which is conventionally invisible and pathologized (given that the family is usually thought of as a monoracial institution and interracial sex is taboo). The attempt to create a new multiracial label is partly an attempt to make visible relationships that are often not assumed by others-that between parents and children who appear racially different.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Multiracialism
Subtitle of host publicationChallenging Racial Thinking
PublisherState University of New York Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)079146153X, 9780791461532
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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