Why Race Policy must include Multiracial Americans

Today’s guest blog by Kathleen Odell Korgen, whose book Race policy and multi-racial Americans published this month, examines the much overlooked issue of including multiracial Americans in policy making and explains why this oversight must stop.

Kathleen Korgen OdellAmericans who identify as multiracial comprise approximately 7 percent of the U.S. population. With a growth rate three times that the rest of the population, this percentage will rise quickly (U.S. Census Bureau 2012; Frey 2014; Pew Research Center 2015).

One would never know this, however, by viewing the nation’s race policies. A look at policies across a variety of areas, including public school curricula, health policy, and prison regulations, reveals little trace of the existence of growing numbers of Americans who identify as multiracial.


Despite the reality that 10 percent of babies born in 2013 had parents of different races (Pew Research Center 2015), multiracial children still attend schools with teachers and curricula that tend not to acknowledge the existence of multiracial people (Williams 2013; Williams and Chilungu 2016).

Health data on multiracial Americans and how to service this population is also hard to find (Bratter and Mason 2016). Moreover, multiracial people have neither protection against nor acknowledgement of discrimination based on their identity as multi- rather than mono-racial (Botts 2016).

“The fallacies of the colorblind ideology…have become harder to swallow.”

With the steady release of videos documenting police violence against Black citizens and the public vitriol of Republican presidential candidates against immigrants seen as non-White and/or Muslim, increasing numbers of Americans of all racial backgrounds acknowledge that race still matters.

The fallacies of the colorblind ideology (e.g., racial discrimination is no longer an issue) have become harder to swallow. It is increasingly clear that, while the growing rate of intermarriage and people identifying as multiracial indicate that race relations have changed, racial discrimination remains a real issue we must address.


Evidence of racial discrimination exists, however, only because we keep track of it. For example, we have evidence that Blacks and Latinos still face racial discrimination when seeking employment and applying for a mortgage (Pager et. al 2009; Rothstein 2012; Swarns 2015).

If we did not have policies that require us to take note of the treatment of different racial groups, many people following the colorblind ideology would ignore or brush off such racial discrimination as isolated or unusual cases. And if we don’t know there’s a problem how can we possibly address it?

“And if we don’t know there’s a problem how can we possibly address it?”

Today we do not have the data we need to ascertain the extent to which multiracial Americans—and the varying groups within this umbrella racial category—face racial discrimination in housing, attaining loans, healthcare, retail shopping, schools, etc.

In order to create a just society for Americans of every race—and multiple races—we need to officially acknowledge and protect the rights of multiracial people. Mono-racial policies leave growing numbers of Americans unprotected from racial discrimination. It is time for race policy in the U.S. to acknowledge the nation’s new demographics and work for a racially just society for all.

#multiracial #mixedrace #multiracialnotpostracial  #multiracialpolicy #multicultural

Race policy and multiracial Americans [FC]Race policy and multiracial Americans is available to order here  from the Policy Press website for £22.99. Remember that Policy Press newsletter subscribers receive a 35% discount – if you’re not a member of our community why not sign up here today?

Kathleen Odell Korgen is Professor of Sociology at William Paterson University.  She received her BA from the College of the Holy Cross and her PhD at Boston College. Kathleen, a public sociologist, specialises in race relations, racial identity, and inequality. You can follow Kathleen on Twitter @korgenk

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

6 Responses to “Why Race Policy must include Multiracial Americans”

  1. 1 Catskill Thoughts January 28, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    The toxic idea of “race” is an exploitive social construct that uses cooperative code in thought, speech and action to dominate competitors in the struggle of tribes for “supreme” power in a world of scarce resources. The term “race” has no biological use, but its dichotomous viral dynamo is used as a tour de force weapon by the tribal group that labels itself “white.” All people in the “other” category are labeled “black/non-white,” and are collectively dominated in all major areas of economic, social and political activity by a super efficient global “system” of racism/”white” supremacy that envelops victims in a concept of reality that functionally always makes “whites” superior.

    The majority of people collectively classified as “non-white” do not understand what “white” supremacy is, or how it works. Moreover, the instant this deceitful “race” game of chess is played, the “non-white” person becomes an unwitting victim, subject and servant to the “white” gang.

    The dilemma for gamesters is how to continue the business of exploiting subjects on the basis of skin color and associated phenotypes without the public relations fallout of appearing to be “racist” in the 21st century. One tactic is to discredit and confuse victims by claiming that the very idea of “race” no longer matters; another is to “showcase” the contrived success of selected “minorities” in the “system.”

    There are subtler entrapments. In harmony with numerous acts of “refinement” to preserve the unjust matrix of racism, this article cleverly disavows but actually supports the myth of a “post-racial” society. The old wine of “white” privilege is still poured into new bottles. How “non-white” individuals or cultural groups choose to self-identity within the context and thralldom of “white” supremacy has never mattered because “non-whites” lack functional group power to collectively stop their mistreatment and domination by “whites.” Not all individuals classified as “white” are racists, but the “system” of racism/”white” supremacy dominates all social, political and economic activity on this planet. In this matrix of control, “white” racists maintain the exclusive power to promote and demote “non-white” individuals and cohorts based on the self-preservation needs of the “system.” Altruism is never the prime mover, and any good that the “system” does should only be taken as a coincidence.

    This is a “fallen” unjust world, and there is nothing new under the sun.

    So-called “multi-racial” people have been born in the Americas for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The evidence is in the faces of tens of millions of people from Chile to Canada. They were conceived in torrents of love, lust, harsh socio-economic necessity, slavery and rape. Raw identity politics being what it is, why the sudden push for new labels and political rights for stratums of people already neatly classified as “non-white” in a “system” of global racism/”white” supremacy? Who really benefits?

    If one looks carefully at the increasing handwringing calls for “multi-racial” categories, protections, laws, and studies of so-called “mixed-race” people, one will notice a common denominator. The spotlight is primarily on “mixed” persons who have one birth parent socially identified as “white.” Racists want to create auspicious conditions for this cohort in the face of long-standing social policies of functional discrimination and mistreatment, that, ironically, are the legs of its domination over “non-whites.”

    “White” supremacists want to have their cake and eat it too.

    Private affection aside, this “mixed” off-spring cohort will be used by the dominant “white” group as a buffer between themselves and subordinates in an effort to confuse, frustrate and maintain the prevailing power-dynamic of “white” over “black.” A plethora of celebrity “mixed-race” marriages will be increasingly “showcased” to symbolize the decline of “racial” animus, while the fruit of so-called “mixed” unions, although ballyhooed, will remain irrelevant because they do not impair collective “white” power.

    “Post-racial” agents always play “white” supremacist team ball. But given the history of the Americas, particularly the United States, where tens of thousands of “mixed” people were literally sold by their own biological parents into bondage, quenched their thirst at water fountains labeled “colored,” and still suffer second-class citizen affronts like stop-and-frisk, can any thinking person with more than a short memory embrace this new chess move with open arms and enthusiasm? Only time will tell.

    • 2 Kathleen Korgen (@korgenk) February 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      I think you misunderstand. I believe we actually agree on many points–and the fact that race (social construction as it is) matters is one of them. What we do not agree on is your idea that recognizing the rights of multiracial people necessarily supports white supremacy. I hope you will read the book!

  2. 3 ミネラル酵素ドリンク December 5, 2016 at 8:17 pm

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  1. 1 Mixed Race Studies » Scholarly Perspectives on Mixed-Race » Why Race Policy must include Multiracial Americans Trackback on January 27, 2016 at 5:07 pm
  2. 2 Mixed Race Studies » Scholarly Perspectives on Mixed-Race » In order to create a just society for Americans of every race—and multiple races—we need to officially acknowledge and protect the rights of multiracial people. Trackback on January 27, 2016 at 7:08 pm
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