Checking Boxes: A close look at mixed-race identity and the law

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-05 21:21Z by Steven

Checking Boxes: A close look at mixed-race identity and the law

Macomb County Leagal News
Mt. Clemens, Michgan

Jenny Whalen, ‎Web Communications Specialist
School of Law
University of Michigan

Professor Martha S. Jones has long struggled with the idea of checking more than one box. Her reluctance to do so has been influenced by a lifetime of changing perceptions about her own identity. Born to an interracial couple a decade before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the legality of such a relationship in Loving v. Virginia, Jones, who co-directs the Program in Race, Law & History at U-M, crossed the color line at birth.

As the featured speaker for Michigan Law’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day lecture last month, Jones reflected on her mixed-race experience to open up an understanding of how legal culture has wrestled with the idea that Americans might check more than one box of racial identity.

“Today I’m going to be asking myself, ‘How does it feel to be a problem?’” Jones said, looking to address the same question contemporaries of W.E.B. Du Bois asked him at the dawn of the 20th century.

For Jones, the answer to this question starts with Loving v. Virginia

Read the entire article here. View Professor Jones’ presentation here.

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