Kevaleigh Parker is a 20 year old student at Western Michigan University from Lansing, MI. Her mother is white and her father is Black.
By Kim Parker, Juliana Menasche Horowitz, Rich Morin and Mark Hugo Lopez – Pew Research Center
Edited by The New Citizens Press staff
According to Pew Research Center, for multiracial adults, the intersection of race and social connections is complicated. Many mixed-race adults straddle two (or more) worlds, and their relationships reflect that. Whether it is in the friendships they form, the neighborhood where they live, or contact with family members, interactions with the racial groups that make up their background are often uneven, as is the level of acceptance multiracial adults feel they get from each group.
Overall, biracial adults who are both white and Black say they have more in common with people who are Black, and that is reflected in their relationships: They feel they are more accepted by Blacks than by whites, have had more contact with their Black relatives over the course of their lives, and are about three times as likely to say all or most of their friends are Black than they are to say all or most of their friends are white.
Kevaleigh Parker is a sophomore at Western University. She is twenty years old and her mother is white and her father is Black.
As a child, she grew up in all white schools with her white mother and never thought about being Black.
Parker said, “I wasn't raised to have much knowledge about Black culture and what comes with being Black in America. Because of this, I used to say that I related more to white people but I now know that was just lack of knowledge. Now that I'm older, have experienced the world and been around Black people, I definitely relate to them more. I understand that simply because of my skin I can never relate to white people because our experiences are so different.”
By contrast, biracial adults who are white and Asian tend to have stronger ties to whites than they do to Asians. For biracial adults who are white or black and American Indian, their connections with the white or Black community are often stronger than the ones they feel with Native Americans.
At the same time, the survey finds that multiracial Americans are more likely than single-race adults to cross racial lines in forming romantic partnerships. One-in-eight adults with a mixed racial background who are married or living with a partner say their spouse or significant other is two or more races. Among the general public, only 2% say the same.
This section explores the connections people feel and the relationships they form within and across racial lines. It looks at how much individuals feel they have in common with people of other races and the extent to which they feel accepted by those whose backgrounds are different from their own. It also looks at friendships, family relationships and neighborhoods. The analysis pays careful attention to biracial adults and the ties they feel to the two racial groups that form their background.
Common Bonds Within and Across Races
There’s no question that the U.S. is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Still, the survey finds that relatively few adults say they have a lot in common with those who don’t share their own racial background. This is especially true of adults who are only one race. Among those who are single-race white, 62% say they have a lot in common with people in the U.S. who are white, while about one-in-ten or fewer say they have a lot in common with people who are Black, Asian or American Indian. The pattern is similar for adults who are single-race Black or Asian.
Looking at how much single-race adults have in common with people from different racial backgrounds raises an important question: How much do multiracial adults feel they have in common with the individual racial groups that make up their background? The answer is, it depends.
Biracial adults who have both white and Black in their background feel they have more in common with Black people than they do with white people. Fully 58% of white and Black biracial adults say they have a lot in common with Black people in the U.S., while only 19% say they have a lot in common with whites. Biracial white and Black adults are actually more likely to say they have a lot in common with blacks than they are to say they have a lot in common with multiracial people who have the same mixed racial background that they do—38% say they have a lot in common with other biracial white and Black adults.
For more information about this study, log on to http://pewrsr.ch/38IGD8U