Black Public Scholars

December 12, 2010

Harvard Study Says Whites Don’t Identify Obama as One of Them

Filed under: Uncategorized — Staff @ 3:48 am

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action

A recent study out of Harvard University has concluded that the typical adult American sees mixed-race Americans like Barack Obama and Halle Berry as being more black than white. The study, conducted by Arnold K. Ho, a doctoral student of Psychology at Harvard, says that even when bi-racial people are equally mixed with both the white and black races, they are seen as being more black than white.
Ho conducted the study with James Sidanius, a Professor of Psychology and African American studies, also at Harvard.
The authors interpret their findings to relate to the "one-drop rule," based on a 1662 law in Virginia that connected mixed-race individuals to their lower social class. Even as recently as 1985, a Louisiana court ruled that a woman with a black great-great-great-great grandmother could not claim that she was white on her passport.
"One of the remarkable things about our research on hypodescent is what it tells us about the hierarchical nature of race relations in the United States," Sidanius said. "Hypodescent against blacks remains a relatively powerful force within American society."

 

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