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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reconsidering the Relationship Between New Mestizaje and New Multiraciality as Mixed-Race Identity Models


Given the high rate of Mexican American intermarriage, it is crucial that scholars consider where the children of these unions fit within current ethnoracial paradigms. Chicana/o studies addresses racial and culture mixture through discourses of (new) mestizaje, while multiracial studies proposes (new) multiraciality. Both, however, have devoted limited attention to people who have both Mexican American and other ethnoracial backgrounds.

Both mixed-race models have significant parallels and divergences, and thus cannot be collapsed. Specifically, both contest previous inegalitarian conceptions of mixture by: (1) challenging conceptions of racial purity, essentialism, binaries, and hierarchies; (2) redefining the meaning of key racialized terms; and (3) centering liminality, multiplicity, fluidity, self-integration, and self-creation. However, both of these identity paradigms also share the potential to support racial binaries and hierarchies if inattentive to racism. On the other hand, they have several significant divergences, including: (1) the immediacy of and reasons for mixing; (2) which mixtures are addressed; (3) individual's relationships to their respective communities; and (4) the relationship between self and other.

Entering these new mixed-identity discourses into conversation through such an examination benefits both fields by expanding upon existing ethnoracial models and challenging the exclusions that each reproduces.


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