Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 65, No. 1, 2009, pp. 13--34
Racing to Theory or Retheorizing Race?Understanding the Struggle to Builda Multiracial Identity Theory
Kerry Ann Rockquemore
University of Illinois at Chicago
David L. Brunsma and Daniel J. Delgado
University of Missouri-Columbia
Empirical research on the growing multiracial population in the United Stateshas focused largely on the documentation of racial identification, analysis of psychological adjustment, and understanding the broader political consequencesof mixed-race identification. Efforts toward theory construction on multiracialidentity development, however, have been largely disconnected from empiricaldata,miredindisciplinarydebates,andboundbyhistoricallyspecificassumptionsabout race and racial group membership. This study provides a critical overviewof multiracial identity development theories, examines the links between theoryand research, explores the challenges to multiracial identity theory construction,and proposes considerations for future directions in theorizing racial identitydevelopment among the mixed-race population.
In the United States, debate over how individuals with parents of differentraces (i.e., mixed-race people) would be racially categorized in the 2000 Censusfocused national attention on this growing population. Underlying the debate overwhether or not to add a stand-alone “multiracial” category was the differencebetween the identity of mixed-race people and the identification of them by othersand the state (Brunsma, 2006). On one side of the debate, a coalition of variousactivists, scholars, and pundits argued that increasing rates of interracial marriagesince the Civil Rights Movement had created a “biracial baby boom.” They ar-gued that such demographic shifts necessitated the addition of a “multiracial”
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kerry Ann Rockquemore, De-partment of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL 60607-7112 [e-mail:email@example.com].
2009 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues