The Paradox of “Multiracial” Research

We are, in fact, at a crucial moment in research on multiraciality.  The idea that race is socially, rather than biologically, constructed is well-accepted in academy and is gaining purchase in the larger society. Most recent research related to multiracial identity begins from the standpoint that racial categories are socially constructed and racial identity is constructed on an individual level through social interactions and cognitive development.  Acceptance of these tenets begs the question: if we believe that race is socially constructed, to what extent are we re-inscribing fixed racial categories by studying multiraciality?  If there are no “races” how can there be “mixed races”? Before proceeding as a research community, we need to address these questions and explore potential solutions.

Renn, Kristen A., “Tilting at Windmills: The Paradox of Researching Mixed-Race,”  Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in April 2000, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

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