“Miscegenation” Making Race in America

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2009-11-02 16:59Z by Steven

“Miscegenation” Making Race in America

University of Pennsylvania Press
216 pages
6 x 9, 19 illus.
Cloth: ISBN 978-0-8122-3664-4
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8122-2064-3

Elise Lemire, Professor of Literature
Purchase College, State University of New York

In the years between the Revolution and the Civil War, as the question of black political rights was debated more and more vociferously, descriptions and pictorial representations of whites coupling with blacks proliferated in the North. Novelists, short-story writers, poets, journalists, and political cartoonists imagined that political equality would be followed by widespread inter-racial sex and marriage. Legally possible yet socially unthinkable, this “amalgamation” of the races would manifest itself in the perverse union of “whites” with “blacks,” the latter figured as ugly, animal-like, and foul-smelling. In Miscegenation, Elise Lemire reads these literary and visual depictions for what they can tell us about the connection between the racialization of desire and the social construction of race.

Previous studies of the prohibition of interracial sex and marriage in the U.S. have focused on either the slave South or the post-Reconstruction period. Looking instead to the North, and to such texts as the Federalist poetry about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, James Fenimore Cooper‘s Last of the Mohicans, Edgar Allan Poe‘s “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and the 1863 pamphlet in which the word “miscegenation” was first used, Lemire examines the steps by which whiteness became a sexual category and same-race desire came to seem a biological imperative.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction: The Rhetorical Wedge Between Preference and Prejudice
  • 1. Race and the Idea of “Preference” in the New Republic: The Port Folio Poems About Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings
  • 2. The Rhetoric of Blood and Mixture: Cooper’s “Man Without a Cross”
  • 3. The Barrier of Good Taste: Avoiding A Sojourn in the City of Amalgamation in the Wake of Abolitionism
  • 4. Combating Abolitionism with the Species Argument: Race and Economic Anxieties in Poe’s Philadelphia
  • 5. Making “Miscegenation”: Alcott‘s Paul Frere and the Limits of Brotherhood After Emancipation
  • Epilogue: “Miscegenation” Today
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments
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Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-31 15:16Z by Steven

Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption

Vintage an imprint of Random House, Inc. Academic Resources
688 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-375-70264-8 (0-375-70264-4)

Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

From the author of Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word and Race, Crime, and the Law—a tour de force about the controversial issue of personal interracial intimacy as it exists within ever-changing American social mores and within the rule of law.

Fears of transgressive interracial relationships, informed over the centuries by ugly racial biases and fantasies, still linger in American society today. This brilliant study—ranging from plantation days to the present—explores the historical, sociological, legal, and moral issues that continue to feed and complicate that fear.

In chapters filled with provocative and cleanly stated logic and enhanced by intriguing historical anecdotes, Randall Kennedy tackles such subjects as the presence of sex in racial politics and of race in sexual politics, the prominence of legal institutions in defining racial distinction and policing racial boundaries, the imagined and real pleasures that have attended interracial intimacy, and the competing arguments around interracial romance, sex, and family life throughout American history.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • One – In the Age of Slavery
  • Two – From Reconstruction to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
  • Three – From Black-Power Backlash to the New Amalgamationism
  • Four – Race, Racism, and Sexual Coercion
  • Five – The Enforcement of Antimiscegenation Laws
  • Six – Fighting Antimiscegenation Laws
  • Seven – Racial Passing
  • Eight – Passing the the Schuyler Family
  • Nine – Racial Conflict and the Parenting of Children: A Survey of Competing Approaches
  • Ten – The Tragedy of Race Marching in Black and White
  • Eleven – White Parents and the Black Children in Adoptive Families
  • Twelve – Race, Children, and Custody Battles: The Special Status of Native Americans
  • Afterword
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

Read an excerpt of the book here.

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Friendship choices of multiracial adolescents: Racial homophily, blending, or amalgamation?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-28 20:37Z by Steven

Friendship choices of multiracial adolescents: Racial homophily, blending, or amalgamation?

Social Science Research
Number 36
pages 633-653

Jamie Mihoko Doyle
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
University of Pennsylvania

Grace Kao, Professor of Sociology, Education, and Asian American Studies
University of Pennsylvania

Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we utilize the concepts of homophily, blending, and amalgamation to describe the possible friendship patterns of multiracials.  Homophily occurs when multiracials are most likely to choose other multiracials as friends. Blending occurs when friendship patterns of multiracials are somewhere in-between those of their monoracial counterparts. Amalgamation consists of friendship patterns that are similar to one of their monoracial counterparts. All groups exhibit signs of amalgamation such that non-white multiracials resemble Blacks, and White multiracials resemble whites except for Black-White multiracials. Black-Whites, Asian-Whites, and Asian-Blacks also exhibit signs of blending, while only Native American multiracials show signs of homophily. Multiracials have different experiences depending on their specific racial composition, and while they seem to bridge the distance between racial groups, their friendship patterns also fall along Black and White lines.


In Robert E. Park’s seminal essay in 1928, he argues that a multiracial person lives in “two worlds, in both of which he [or she] is more or less a stranger,” (Park, 1928, p. 893).  This idea, often referred to as The Marginal Man Theory, has dominated sociological thinking about multiracials and their position in the racial structure of the United States and elsewhere. In the new millennium where multiracial identities are more prevalent and are officially recognized by the 2000 US Census, one emerging question is how multiracial people might self-identify in the modern racial landscape. Do they remain in the racial borderlands or act as a bridge between their two or more racial groups, as Park and Stonequist suggest, or do they simply assimilate into one of their monoracial counterparts?

To address this question, we investigate the extent to which self-identified multiracials are integrated into single-race groups by examining their best friend choices during adolescence. We know that racial groups are salient in part because peer groups tend to be racially homogeneous. Friendship choice offers a gauge of the social distance between groups; best friends, in particular, show with whom people feel the closest identification and greatest sense of acceptance.

Our paper proceeds as follows. We first delineate the specific contributions of previous research, focusing on the limited literature on multiracials and research on the determinants of peer selection. Then, drawing on key points from selected literature, we sketch our theoretical approach to this study and outline our hypotheses. We then describe our data, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The survey instrument not only allows individuals to check two or more races, but unlike other datasets, provides linkages to the respondent’s friendship network, making it possible to directly examine survey responses by the respondent’s friends. Race of both the respondent and his/her best friend is self-reported, reflecting the racial identity of the respondent as well as his/her best friend. Lastly, we estimate logistic models using Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) to examine the actual friendship choices of multiracial youth, taking into account the opportunities for interaction…

Read the entire article here.

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