Perceiving Multiracial Individuals


Senator Kamala Harris of California, Democratic
Vice Presidential Nomlnee
Source: Noah Harris/Getty

As we round the final lap of the 2020 presidential campaign, many people around the U.S. and the world are getting to know Senator Kamala Harris of California. Senator Harris proudly discusses her mixed-race heritage; she has one parent who is Indian and the other who is Jamaican.

For many years, psychologistshave been conducting research on how people perceive Multiracial individuals and other dual group memberships. Based on collective findings, Dr. Jacqueline M. Chen has listed four conclusions relevant to Senator Harris and others like her:

1. Having mixed-race ancestry is not as unusual as you think, and America is only getting more Multiracial.

2. Sometimes people see Senator Harris as “Multiracial,” but frequently she’ll be viewed as Black.

3. People place an undue burden on Multiracial individuals to “prove” their racial identities.

4. There’s an upside to having multiple identities.

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