Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Global Mixed Race

Global Mixed Race

Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
Stephen Small
Minelle Mahtani
Miri Song
Paul Spickard
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 357
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Global Mixed Race
    Book Description:

    Patterns of migration and the forces of globalization have brought the issues of mixed race to the public in far more visible, far more dramatic ways than ever before.Global Mixed Raceexamines the contemporary experiences of people of mixed descent in nations around the world, moving beyond US borders to explore the dynamics of racial mixing and multiple descent in Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Okinawa, Australia, and New Zealand. In particular, the volume's editors ask: how have new global flows of ideas, goods, and people affected the lives and social placements of people of mixed descent? Thirteen original chapters address the ways mixed-race individuals defy, bolster, speak, and live racial categorization, paying attention to the ways that these experiences help us think through how we see and engage with social differences. The contributors also highlight how mixed-race people can sometimes be used as emblems of multiculturalism, and how these identities are commodified within global capitalism while still considered by some as not pure or inauthentic. A strikingly original study,Global Mixed Racecarefully and comprehensively considers the many different meanings of racial mixedness.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-7047-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Global Mixed Race: An Introduction
    (pp. vii-xxii)

    US President Barack Obama is an international figure with a widely recognized multiracial and multinational history. He is also seen as perhaps the single most powerful “mixed-race” individual in the world.¹ However, his work as a community activist, his religious and social affiliations and his cultural activities, are clearly focused primarily on African Americans and Obama defines himself as African American—publicly, politically, and perhaps personally. At the same time, Obama talks openly about the fact that his father is Black and from Kenya and that his mother is White and from Kansas but that his mixed origins are not...


    • 1 Multiraciality and Census Classification in Global Perspective
      (pp. 1-15)

      What Maria Root called “the multiracial experience”¹ has rarely been studied from a comparative perspective.² Although scholars of race and ethnicity have long recognized the importance of placing diverse national contexts side by side in order to glean insights about both their similarities and their particularities, mixed-race people have too often slipped through the cracks. To be sure, international comparison has often dwelled on the tendencies of some countries and not others to recognize racial mixture in their populations; notable examples include Nobles on Brazil and the United States, and Marx on the same nations as well as South Africa.³...

    • 2 “Rider of Two Horses”: Eurafricans in Zambia
      (pp. 16-43)

      Four generations of my mixed-descent Eurafrican family have experienced Colouredness in Zambia, the former British colony of Northern Rhodesia. In this chapter, I chart the shifting production and construction of “Colouredness’”from its initial racial categorization to its current application as an ethnic and cultural identity in modern-day Zambia.

      In this chapter, I use the terms “Eurafrican” and “Coloured” despite their historically controversial nature. Both terms are of historical and contemporary significance in Zambia. The term “Eurafrican” defines my community and family genetically, culturally, and historically—it is a cultural expression that effectively chronicles and historicizes our origins in Northern Rhodesia...

    • 3 “Split Me in Two”: Gender, Identity, and “Race Mixing” in the Trinidad and Tobago Nation
      (pp. 44-67)

      The Caribbean, an early locus of colonial capitalist export agriculture, is central to Robert Young’s discussions of hybridity inColonial Desireand it remains a site for much of the discussion of linguistic hybridity as well.¹ The term “hybrid,” Young reminds us, has its origins in biological science, where it emerged to refer to a cross between two species such as the mule and the hinny,² which would be defective and barren and thus eventually become extinct.³ Young refers to the contributions of Jamaican slave-owner Edward Long to the 18th-century debate on where Africans should be placed in the hierarchical...

    • 4 In the Laboratory of Peoples’ Friendship: Mixed People in Kazakhstan from the Soviet Era to the Present
      (pp. 68-90)

      The billboard on display outside a bank in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, depicts a mixed couple (see figure 4.1). The man, who appears ethnically Kazakh, is wearing jeans and a flannel shirt and speaking on a cellphone, his arm draped around a well-dressed woman who is flashing a credit card. She is clearly “European,” in local parlance—Russian, Ukrainian, or perhaps an ethnic German. In the background is an American-style bar, complete with barstools and an old-fashioned juke box. Overall, the image is that of a cosmopolitan, affluent couple enjoying a night on the town.

      A great deal has changed...

    • 5 Competing Narratives: Race and Multiraciality in the Brazilian Racial Order
      (pp. 91-118)

      Brazil and the United States were the two largest slaveholding nations in the Americas.¹ Both inherited European norms granting Whites privileged status relative to other racial groups. Yet they defined Black-White relations differently in their respective racial orders. This encompasses ideological beliefs as well as institutional and social practices establishing racial categories, group boundaries, and membership.² The US binary racial order distinguished Blacks from Whites by reference to the “one-drop rule,” which defined as Black everyone of African descent. It has supported legal and informal racial discrimination preventing Blacks from having contact with Whites as equals in most aspects of...

    • 6 Antipodean Mixed Race: Australia and New Zealand
      (pp. 119-143)

      In this chapter we consider the ways in which mixed-race identities are constructed in Australia and New Zealand, both relatively new nation-states with histories as British settler societies.¹ Australia and New Zealand have experienced little debate in the public sphere about mixed race and minimal impact from international discussion on the subject. Even media coverage of Barack Obama as mixed race at the time of his election did not trigger a conversation about racial terminology. Likewise when Australia’s former prime minister John Howard commented that he would prefer a multiracial policy rather than a multicultural one, the comment fell into...

    • 7 Negotiating Identity Narratives among Mexico’s Cosmic Race
      (pp. 144-164)

      In contexts such as the US, “multiracialism,” “mixed-race families,” and “race mixture” are terms that signal relatively new phenomena linked to recent immigration trends, intermarriage patterns, and a shifting racial terrain.¹ However, in places such as Mexico, ideologies and practices of race mixture (mestizaje) have been around for centuries. In colonial times Spaniards developed an elaborate caste system to maintain a socio-racial hierarchy in light of the race mixture that was occurring between the indigenous, Spanish, and African populations.² In this hierarchy, Spaniards were on top and Indians and Africans at the bottom, with mixed-race individuals falling somewhere in the...


    • 8 Multiraciality and Migration: Mixed-Race American Okinawans, 1945–1972
      (pp. 167-187)

      Human migration and racial mixing facilitated the mixing of people, creating “third spaces”³ where cultural and linguistic fragments of two majority groups combine to form a hybrid community. This chapter examines the history of multiracial American Japanese who grew up in Okinawa and the US during the post-World War II period through the 1970s. I contextualize their lives historically and document them with oral history interviews focusing on people who grew up in Okinawa. Their transnational lives provide insight on the human experience of multiraciality. The reason for focusing on Okinawa is twofold: the first because of Okinawa’s status as...

    • 9 The Curious Career of the One-Drop Rule: Multiraciality and Membership in Germany Today
      (pp. 188-212)

      It is impossible to write about racial intermixture in Germany without mentioning that the very word “race” (Rasse) is no longer used in the German language except when people talk about dogs or horses.¹ The Nazis disowned, displaced, and eventually killed all those races they considered inferior—in particular, obviously, the Jews, who would probably not be considered a race apart in the United States, where race works more along color lines than in Germany. Six million people were killed because of Germany’s obsession with race, and, to a certain degree, Germany is still traumatized by guilt and shame. Thus,...

    • 10 Capturing “Mixed Race” in the Decennial UK Censuses: Are Current Approaches Sustainable in the Age of Globalization and Superdiversity?
      (pp. 213-237)

      Can current ethnic and racial classification systems capture the growth of “mixed-race” people in the UK? This question frames the focus of this chapter. In a comparative study of national censuses around the world, Ann Morning (see chapter in this volume) found that states can differ markedly in the ways in which they employ forms of ethnic and racial classification. One interesting geographical finding is that while countries in North America and Oceania tend to use ethnic and racial classifications, European and African countries are much less likely to do so. There are, of course, important historical and societal explanations...

    • 11 Exporting the Mixed-Race Nation: Mixed-Race Identities in the Canadian Context
      (pp. 238-262)

      Russell Peters is a Canadian comedian of South Asian descent who has built his career by exporting his brand of race-based humor internationally. In his stand-up routines, no ethnicity remains unscathed. He routinely rakes over the coals almost every racialized minority group. Peters has not only achieved national fame, but also global notoriety and great financial success. It is estimated that his net worth is over 20 million dollars Canadian. Peters has clearly struck a chord with audiences. Why has his racial-based humor resonated so strongly around the world?

      We might begin by suggesting that racial jokes are a complicated...

  6. Global Mixed Race: A Conclusion
    (pp. 263-280)

    If the popular media in the United States was a gauge of the actual state of things, one would think that mixed race issues were relatively new and demographically widespread¹—and there would be some truth to the widely presumed novelty of this demographic trend with 4.8 million people (or one in twelve marriages in 2012) reporting that they were interracial in the US.² However, others are quick to note that interracial relationships and mixed people are hardly new at all,³ as we have seen in many of the historically informed chapters inGlobal Mixed Race. What is new, perhaps,...

    (pp. 281-314)
    (pp. 315-320)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 321-335)