Multiracial Groups and Educational Inequality: A Rainbow or a Divide?
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How do multiracial groups "fit" into the system of racial oppression and privilege in the United States? Are the outcomes of multiracial individuals explained by the Latin Americanization hypothesis (Bonilla-Silva 2002), or a hardening racial divide between blacks and all other racial groups (Gans 1999; Yancey 2006)? Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I address these questions and show that the educational outcomes of multiracial groups and individuals are not consistently explained by measures of appearance, as suggested by these theories. Although the educational outcomes of Latinos and single-race groups are significantly associated with skin color and the racial perceptions of observers, multiracial young adults' high school and college educational outcomes are not consistently related to either measure of appearance. Parental education and family income are the most important predictors of educational outcomes for multiracial respondents across different types of outcomes. The implications of these findings for racial inequality and research on multiracial groups are discussed. © 2009 by Society for the Study of Social Problems, Inc. All rights reserved.
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