Dec 13, 2010

U.S. adults view President Barack Obama and actress Halle Berry -- one parent white and one parent black -- as minorities, researchers say.

Lead author Arnold K. Ho, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard University and James Sidanius, professor of psychology and of African and African-American studies at Harvard, say Americans tend to see biracial people not as equal members of both parent groups, but as belonging more to their minority parent group.

It's a lasting perception that dates back to the "one-drop rule" -- also known as hypodescent -- from a 1662 Virginia law on the treatment of mixed-race individuals. Biracials are viewed as members of their lower-status parent group, the researchers said.

The legal notion of hypodescent has been upheld as recently as 1985, when a Louisiana court ruled that a woman with a black great-great-great-great-grandmother could not identify herself as "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 says in a statement. "Hypodescent against blacks remains a relatively powerful force within American society."

The findings reflect the cultural entrenchment of America's traditional racial hierarchy, which assigns the highest status to whites, followed by Asians, with Latinos and blacks at the bottom, the researchers say.

The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finds people who are one-quarter-Asian are consistently considered more white than those who one-quarter-black, even though African-Americans and European Americans share a substantial degree of genetic heritage.



  1. This is one of those cases of everybody knows this and now a study has confirmed it. Both our president and Halle Berry have both said they identify themselves as black or African American, primarily because it's not like they can escape it. If I remember correctly, Halle said her mother specifically raised her that way because that's what the world would regard her as. The other thing is the black community is eager to have these folks, even if they wanted to identify themselves as white or biracial, we'd quickly tell them who they are.

    There are several others, such as Shemar Moore, Tiger Woods, Jordin Sparks, Rod often do we think about the other "half" of them? We really should consider that because I'm sure that aspect of their lives and identity is very important to them.

  2. Nobody wants to be black. That's why society will make you black, even when you're not. This country outta be a shame of itself, here we are in 2010 and we are actually still studying this stupid sh##.