Stanford Political Scientist Examines Gender Differences in Multiracial Identity

Lauren Davenport examines biracial identity by genderA new study authored by Lauren D. Davenport, an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University in California, finds that women who are children of interracial couples are more likely to identify themselves as biracial than men who are children of interracial couples.

Dr. Davenport’s data is from surveys of entering college students conducted each year by the Higher Education Research Institute at University of California, Los Angeles.  The statistics shows that when one parent is Black and one parent is White, 76 percent of the female offspring identified themselves as multiracial. For male offspring of such couples, 64 percent identified themselves as multiracial. Dr. Davenport speculates that biracial women are more likely to see themselves a “racial other” which is perceived as mysterious and sexually exotic. Therefore, they may be more likely to classify themselves as multiracial, rather than Black or White.

Dr. Davenport is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.

The study, “The Role of Gender, Class, and Religion in Biracial Americans’ Racial Labeling Decisions,” appears in the February issue of the American Sociological Review. It may be accessed here.

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