American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity

American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity

American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity

American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity

Synopsis

This exciting multidisciplinary collection brings together twenty-two original essays by scholars on the cutting edge of racial theory, who address both the American concept of race and the specific problems experienced by those who do not fit neatly into the boxes society requires them to check.

Excerpt

In present academic culture, "diversity" is sometimes a euphemism for "racial difference." the title of this collection is meant to confront a comfortable nuance of that code. Those in favor of diversity, or its synonym, "multiculturalism," support the increased presence of racially nonwhite students, faculty, and staff on American college campuses; they are usually also interested in the critiques of traditional disciplines that the "representatives of under-represented groups" may bring to the classroom and, more formally, to scholarly research and publication. Those opposed to diversity or multiculturalism rarely say that they intend to exclude nonwhite groups from American college life or to restrict the curriculum; rather they express concern that affirmative action is "reverse discrimination" and scholarly multiculturalism is a subversion of the Western canon. the task, here, is to deepen the discussion by questioning the parameters that pertain to race. the term diversity is normally used on the assumption that there are different racial groups that can be added to the academic situation as groups through representation by their individual members. the purpose of this collection is to underscore the point that in American life the picture of monolithic racial identity that differs only across groups is a model that does violence to the identity and experience of many individuals. in fairness to individuals who not only differ from other members of the groups of which they are designated members, but who fail to fit into any designated group, discussion of diversity ought to include microdiversity. Microdiversity refers to the reality and scholarship of racial difference within single individuals. a focus on microdiversity considers individuals, as well as groups, as the subjects of diversity. the number of groups of racially mixed individuals who have common racial characteristics as racially mixed, is much greater than the number of presumably racially pure groups. Given the complicated possibilities for racial mixture over generations, there may also be individuals who are racially unique.

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