Speaking Up: Mixed Race Identity in Black Communities

Speaking Up: Mixed Race Identity in Black Communities

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 39, Number 3 (January 2009)
pages 434-445
DOI: 10.1177/0021934706297875

Tru Leverette
University of North Florida, Jacksonville

Within Black communities, individuals of mixed Black/White parentage have faced diverse reactions, ranging from elevation to scorn. These reactions have often been based on the oppressions of history, the injustices of the present, and the hopes for a radically different future. This article traces the common historical responses, both positive and negative, within Black communities to mixed race identities, thereby elucidating contemporary reactions to race mixture within Black communities. In so doing, it argues that an historical understanding of these reactions as well as a recognition of the positions mixed race individuals occupy can challenge assumptions about race, difference, identity, and community—fostering new ground on which individuals can stand for common causes within heterogeneous communities.

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