One of the most popular stories on the New York Times this week is Race Remixed: Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above. The writer spent time with college students who are members of University of Maryland’s Multiracial and Biracial Student Association. The article attempts to document and explain the shift in how multiracial Americans define themselves, especially now that the census allows for more than one racial category to be checked. It focuses on America’s racial history and how we self-identify—but what happens when biracialism becomes a beauty topic?
People whose race is hard to determine at one quick glance, or who clearly are more than one race, have been called everything from “exotic” to “mutts” (thanks, Kanye). Conventional thinking goes that once the gene pool starts dipping its toe into different races, the results will be better, hotter, more desirable. There’s also our own, long-standing role in this: Black people luuuurve to brag about being part-Indian, and we were raised on the notion of “good” hair.
If, as the census will prove, multiracial people are a larger demographic than ever before, will our outdated and generally ignorant categorizations of mixed-race beauty finally grow up? Will the fetishization stop once it becomes more common?
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