Research conducted at the University of Michigan finds that Whites’ racial biases impacts how they perceive multiracial individuals.
The researchers surveyed a large group of White test subjects to determine their level of racial bias. They then showed the participants photographs of multiracial individuals and asked them to identify them as either Black, White, or mixed race. The participants who were found to have higher degrees of racial bias were the most likely to perceive the multiracial individuals as Black.
Steven Roberts, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Michigan and a co-author of the study, said that “multiracial individuals make up a rapidly growing population, and they often identify in ways that do not reflect traditional ‘Black’ or ‘White’ categories.” However, our data show that biological concepts of race and intergroup biases prevent people from thinking about race more flexibly.”
The study, “Essentialism and Racial Bias Jointly Contribute to the Categorization of Multiracial Individuals,” was published on the website of the journal Psychological Science. It may be accessed here.