Changing Practices of Race and Multiracial Identification
This chapter outlines the new theoretical approach developed in this book: identity choice or the practice of race as a form of personal identification. The book contends that identity choice is a distinct cultural shift in how Americans define race. Historically race has been defined as a product of assigned classification in which an individual is categorized into a racial group based on the social definitions of that given time. Multiracial Americans are highlighted as an important case of identity choice given that they promote race as a form of identity but reveal the continued importance of assigned classification given that multiracial individuals are often categorized into racial groups by others. This chapter offers a historical analysis contrasting the reliance on assigned classification with the development of identity choice. The final sections of the chapter offer an overview of each chapter of the book.
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