From Black to Biracial

Transforming Racial Identity Among Americans

by Kathleen Odell Korgen


Examining the racial self-definition of black/white biracial Americans, this sociological study delves into the current and historical relationship between biracial Americans and the racial structure of the United States.

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February 1998


Pages 160
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Race and Ethnicity/African American Studies
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Is a person with both a white and African American parent black? Thirty years ago in American society the answer would have been yes. Today, the answer most likely depends on whom you ask. According to the U.S. Census, a person with both a black and a white parent is, in fact, black. However, most young persons who fit this description describe themselves as biracial, both black and white. Most young Americans, whatever their racial background, agree. Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 signaled the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement, a transformation has occured in the racial self-definition of Americans with both an African American and a white parent. This book describes the transformation and explains why it has occurred and how it has come about. Through extensive research and dozens of interviews, Korgen describes how the transformation has its roots in the historical and cultural transitions in U.S. society since the Civil Rights era. A ground breaking book, From Black to Biracial will help all Americans understand the societal implications of the increasingly multiracial nature of our population. From affirmative action to the present controversy over the U.S. Census 2000, the repercussions of the transformation in racial identity related here affect all race-based aspects of our society. Students and faculty in sociology and multicultural studies, business leaders, and general readers alike will benefit from reading this work.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Transformation of Racial IdentityBiracial Americans: White, Black, Both, NeitherBlack by Definition or The Best of Both Worlds?The Transformation: From Black to BiracialTurning Points: Biracial College Students and DatingMarginality and the Biracial AmericanIdentities and TransformationPublic Policy ImplicationsAppendix: Notes on MethodologyBibliographyIndex



"[T]his book [is] very interesting. . . . [It] would be good for college classes in black studies and sociology. It includes statistical data and a good bibliography."Multicultural Review

"Korgen takes an in-depth look at race and racial attitudes in the United States, focusing on biracial people. . . . I found this book to be very interesting. . . . This book would be good for college classes in black studies and sociology. It includes statistical data and a good bibliography."Multicultural Review

"For those who are interested in the racial categories that will appear in the census in 2000, Korgen's research is very useful. She clearly demonstrates that her younger respondents see themselves as having more than one racial identity, even though they are aware that American society continues to apply the one-drop rule in identifying them racially."American Journal of Sociology

"Korgen's clear and insightful work is a welcome addition to an emerging topic. . . . Korgen concisely explains the conflicting historical, sociological, and psychological roots and how they have interacted to create the present day `biracial individual' - noting all the while that the term biracial is not a classification used by the Census Bureau. . . . Overall, the information presented adds much to a field with little research on the biracial experience. Korgen provides valuable information to our understanding of the experiences of biracial individuals."Social Forces

Other Titles of Interest

Environmental Stress and African Americans cover imageCultural Portrayals of African Americans cover imageThe Myth of Black Ethnicity cover image
Black Male Deviance cover imageAfrican-American Stories of Triumph Over Adversity cover image

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