Stemming from the 2000 Census when respondents could indicate more than one racial category for the first time in history, Structural Influence on Biracial Identification is the first study of its kind to explore how urban environmental dynamics influence biracial identification in the United States.
Several different biracial pairings are incorporated into the analysis. Rachel Butts uses relative model differences to quantify the standing of each racial group on a multi-tiered racial hierarchy. Notably, Butts uses non-White biracial groups to contrast “minority” defined numerically or oppressively.
The analysis successfully extends macrostructural theory from the context of interracial marriage to the context of interracial identification. Much like interracial marriage has been used as evidence of racial integration in the past, Structural Influence on Biracial Identification presents a compelling argument for using interracial identification for measuring interracial integration in contemporary times.
Rachel Butts is Vice President of Market Intelligence and Research at a major financial institution and earned her Ph.D from Michigan State University in 2016.
Chapter 1: Structural Influence
Chapter 2: Structural Influence on Black-White Biracial Identification
Chapter 3: Structural Influence on Asian-White Biracial Identification
Chapter 4: Structural Influence on Biracial Identification Between Blacks and Asians
Conclusion: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Now
The federal statistical system, since 2000, allows Americans to identify with multiple races. Increasingly, people identify with more than one. Between 2000 to 2019, the population identifying with one race grew 16 % but the population identifying with two or more grew by 56 %. This investigator conducted innovative research showing that the proportion of blacks who also identify as white and the proportion of whites who also identify as Asian varies substantially from one metropolis to another. Those differences can be explained by differences in racial residential segregation, by differences in educational attainment, by the relative size of the races and by the percent foreign born. Importantly, the investigator also analyzes differences in the percent of Asians who also identify as black and the percent of blacks who also identify as Asian. This theoretically informed and lucid research will be a model for many studies of how and why we are becoming an increasingly multiple race nation. This is a substantial new contribution to our understanding of race.
Rachel Butts makes clever use of Peter Blau’s social structural theory and 2010 Census Data to examine multiracial identification. Using the census race question that allows respondents to choose more than one racial category, she shows how proportions of biracial Americans vary based on the social structural characteristics of US metropolitan areas. Butts’ careful analysis demonstrates the power of macro-scale factors influencing a phenomenon usually considered from micro- or meso-scale perspectives.