The Multiracial Option: A Step in the White Direction

The Multiracial Option: A Step in the White Direction

California Law Review
Volume 105, Issue 6 (2018)
pages 1853-1878
DOI: 10.15779/Z38H98ZD1S

Alynia Phillips

It is estimated that within fifty years, the white race will lose its stronghold as the majority racial group in the United States. In recent years, this prediction has induced anxiety in everyone from lay citizens to conservative politicians. But this prediction may not come to fruition if the definition of whiteness expands as needed. Parallel to this mounting racial anxiety runs a social movement aimed at promoting the classification of mixed race individuals as “multiracial.” Though on its face this classification appears harmless, the reliance on “multiracial” indicates an implicit deracialization of mixed race individuals, and a tacit devaluation of minority heritage. This Note argues that based on the history of racial classifications in the United States and existing motivations to maintain the white majority, the push for a multiracial category functions as a means by which mixed race individuals can join the ranks of whiteness. With mixed race individuals comprising the fastest growing population in the United States, their acceptance into the white race could secure the white majority for decades to come.


  • Introduction
  • I. Relevant Terminology Explained
  • II. Unmasking the Players in Today’s Multiracial Movement
    • A.  White Mothers as Racial Ventriloquists
    • B.  Republicans as Multiracial Crusaders
  • III. An Evolutionary History of White America
    • A.  Bacon’s Rebellion and the Invention of Whiteness
    • B.  Conceptual Frameworks for American Assimilation
    • C.  Subscribing to Superiority
  • IV. Multiracial Exceptionalism and the “Other” Within
  • Conclusion

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