Multiracial Identity and Affirmative Action

Multiracial Identity and Affirmative Action

Asian Pacific American Law Journal
University of California, Los Angeles
Volume 12, Fall 2006 – Spring 2007
32 pages

Nancy Leong, Assistant Professor of Law
Sturm College of Law, Denver University

The classification of multiracial individuals has long posed a challenge in a number of legal contexts, and the affirmative action debate highlights the difficulty of such classification. Should multiracial individuals be categorized according to how they view themselves, how society tends to view them, by some ostensibly objective formula based on their parents’ ancestry, or in some other fashion?

My article draws on sociological research to demonstrate that there are no easy answers to this question. The way multiracial individuals view themselves varies among individuals and, moreover, may vary at different times for the same individual. Society often lacks consensus on an individual’s racial status, and examining a person’s ancestry simply removes the question of categorization to prior generations. Although my article does not attempt to propose a better way to take race into account in the affirmative action context, I strive to raise the issues that must be confronted in developing a coherent system that furthers the goal of affirmative action.

Read the entire article here.

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