Title

Mixed-Race Looks

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

The multiracial population is growing larger and so is popular awareness about multiracial or mixed-race identity. Simmering beneath the growing public recognition of multiracial identity are questions about the legitimacy of mixed race, multiracial, or biracial as social categories, and further questions about the ethics and politics of those identities. Behind some of these questions are worries about how multiracial identity interacts with racialized aesthetic standards. This essay addresses these issues by investigating whether those affirmations are racist and betray monoracial groups. This essay concludes that such affirmations are not necessarily racist or traitorous. Instead, they are consistent with modern expressions of individuality, and arise from self-assertions of personal authenticity and autonomy. All the same, these affirmations and assertions do risk participating in, and contributing to, racist aesthetic standards. The arguments presented in this essay are part of a broader project on mixed race and the ethics of identity.

Comments

Article originally published in Contemporary Aesthetics Special Volume 2 (2009).