Black, White, or Biracial?: The Identity Development of Mixed-Race Individuals
Mary Ellen Moule
William E. Cross, Jr.
Thesis DT 3.5 1994 M926
xiii, 152 leaves; 29 cm.
This thesis analyzes the scholarly and popular treatment of the racial identity formation of Americans with one Black and one White parent. The racial identity development of biracial individuals has received increased attention in the social scientific literature and popular media within the last decade. Today, the historical one-drop rule that forced all individuals with any African ancestry to identify as Black, has been replace by a variety of identity options that incorporate one or both of their heritage groups into a self-selected identity matrix. Yet the literature on biracial identity development is still limited by a tendency to offer a single option deemed to be healthy for the individual.
This project reviews the recent literature on biracial identity development and compares the articles published in academic and professional journals to the material found in Interrace, a magazine devoted to interracial families, people, and concerns. In both cases, this analysis seeks to understand and critique the author's advocacy of a particular identity development pathway. Secondly, I have assessed each of the potential identity choices to determine both their health for the individual and their potential impact on the Black community and race relations in society.
I conclude with my contention that the most appropriate model for biracial identity development offers a multidimensional framework which allows each person to discover and incorporate a racial identity that is best suited to his or her individual background, experience, and needs. Finally, I argue that they should also consider how their personal identity choices will affect their relationships with others and society.