Asian-white and Latino-white Unions
It is unclear whether the children born to Asian-white and Latino-white unions are sub- ject to the same constraining principle. In part this is because the racial iden- tification of multiracial Asian and Latino children did not become salient until fairly recently, and in part it is because Asians and Latinos are neither white nor black, and so the children of Asian-white and Latino-white unions lack a historical precedent that governs their identification. It is not yet apparent whether their identities will be closely circumscribed, as has historically been the case for multiracial black children, or whether their identities will be more flexible, fluid, and even largely chosen for symbolic reasons, by which we mean selected on a discretionary and volitional basis, like those of European white ethnics, as opposed to endured because they are ascribed by others, like those of African Americans.
In chapter 7 we continue the line of inquiry about cultural differences by raising the question of who is multiracial—or, more specifically, who chooses to claim a multiracial identification? We first unpack interesting patterns that emerge from the 2000 census and more recent ACS data, and then delve into the mechanisms and processes that lead some groups to report higher rates of multiracial identification than others. Given that the one-drop rule of hypodescent is no longer legally enforced and that all Americans may now officially claim a multiracial background, we investigate why some groups are less likely to report multiracial identifications than others. In other words, in lieu of the legal invocation of the one-drop rule, we examine what cultural and institutional mechanisms may now be in place that keep the rate of multi- racial reporting lower in some groups than others. The findings underscore the critical point that the incorporative power of racial mixing differs by group, with members of some groups feeling less able to freely claim a multiracial identification.
In chapter 8 we assess what the patterns of intermarriage and multiracial iden- tification indicate about group boundaries more generally.
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