Politics and policies: attitudes toward multiracial Americans

Politics and policies: attitudes toward multiracial Americans

Ethnic and Racial Studies
First Published on: 2010-04-15
Volume 33, Issue 9 (October 2010)
pages 1511-1536
DOI: 10.1080/01419871003671929

Mary E. Campbell, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Iowa

Melissa R. Herman, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Dartmouth College

The growing prominence of the multiracial population in the United States is prompting new questions about attitudes toward multiracial people and popular opinion of policies designed to protect them from discrimination. Currently, American anti-discrimination policies are directed at groups who identify with a single race, but the rising profile of multiracial groups introduces new complexity into questions about racial policy. In this study, we find generally positive affect toward multiracial people, although monoracial minorities are more positive toward multiracial people than whites are. About half of the monoracial minorities and the majority of whites oppose including multiracial people in anti-discrimination policies. Attitudes are associated with traditional predictors such as education and political beliefs, and also with the racial heterogeneity of the local context and intimate contact with other racial groups. Although multiracial people report experiencing discrimination at levels similar to those of monoracial minorities, our results suggest there may be significant resistance to anti-discrimination policies that include multiracial groups. 

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