From Mulatto to Black to Biracial: A Psycho-Historical Analysis of Biracial Identity in the United States
Daniel Joseph Lind
William E. Cross, Jr
Thesis DT 3.5 1994 L742
ix, 154 leaves; 29 cm
This project examines the identity development of biracial Black/White individuals from a historical and contemporary perspective. The pejorative depictions of Africans by Northern Europeans, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, are first discussed, followed by an analysis of how these attitudes encouraged hostile treatment of biracial persons in slaveholding America.
Despite the negative experiences that many antebellum biracials faced in the South, some were able to identify in ways which did not reflect how they were socially perceived. An examination of the narratives of biracials, in slavery and freedom, illustrates the various identities that developed among them during the nineteenth century.
This study then takes a contemporary focus through exploring the current means by which persons formulate their racial identity. Interviews with Cornell students are utilized to show how the self-identification of biracials is influenced presently by their capacity to choose their identity, and by experiences that may "push" them to identity in a certain way. This project asserts that while biracials have been ascribed African Americans historically, their ability to possess a mixed-race orientation has been determined continually by the level of acceptance accorded by their white relatives, or the white community in general.