An Understanding of Biracial Identity Formation

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An Understanding of Biracial Identity Formation
Special Topics 3321
Presented to
James Boyleston
Jennifer Walne
December 10, 2008
What are you? A question that seems simple enough, but when dealing with biracial identity, it is a question that has spawned political movements, fields of study, and even more questions. This paper is aimed at dissecting different aspects of the biracial identity process to gain a better understanding about this subject from the research available. The identity construction of a biracial person is quite complex and it involves many different factors and those topics will be covered in this paper. Definitions

For the purpose of this paper I will only be looking at cases in the United States. Biracial will only refer to those with African black and European white decent unless otherwise stated. History

During the days of slavery, when black women had mixed progeny that a skin tone was lighter than those people of pure African descent and this grew to be an asset. The lighter skinned biracial people were afforded more privileges than that of people with dark skin and were often able to live in the house of the slave master. This afforded them the privileges of not having to work in the fields and they were often educated. Other white European physical features that were inherited also gave biracial people an advantage over the other darker skinned African featured slaves. The idea that biracial people have more privilege has continued into today’s culture, but affects the black culture more than the white culture. Politics and Demographics

Identity Development Models: Past and Present
In order to understand how an individual constructs their identity, there has to be uniformity in the measurement of identity development through models. There is a lot of literature that is written on this subject. Biracial identity construct models have changed throughout history, reflecting...
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