As the mixed-race population in the United States grows, public fascination with multiracial identity has promoted the belief that racial mixture will destroy racism. However, multiracial people still face discrimination. Many legal scholars hold that this is distinct from the discrimination faced by people of other races, and traditional civil rights laws built on a strict black/white binary need to be reformed to account for cases of discrimination against those identifying as mixed-race.
In Multiracials and Civil Rights, Tanya Katerí Hernández debunks this idea, and draws on a plethora of court cases to demonstrate that multiracials face the same types of discrimination as other racial groups. Hernández argues that multiracial people are primarily targeted for discrimination due to their non-whiteness, and shows how the cases highlight the need to support the existing legal structures instead of a new understanding of civil rights law. The legal and political analysis is enriched with Hernández's own personal narrative as a mixed-race Afro-Latina.
Coming at a time when explicit racism is resurfacing, Hernández’s look at multiracial discrimination cases is essential for fortifying the focus of civil rights law on racial privilege and the lingering legacy of bias against non-whites, and has much to teach us about how to move towards a more egalitarian society.
"In Multiracials and Civil Rights, Tanya Kateri Hernandez insightfully analyzes the claim that mixed race people will end racial discrimination as we know it and render inadequate the existing legal tools to address it. At the same time, Hernandez skillfully addresses the claims that the civil rights laws fail to address the discrimination against multiracial people in American social life. Unfortunately, racism and discrimination based on physical appearance -- even with the rise of multiracialism -- is alive and well in the modern United States and the traditional legal tools exist to support efforts to challenge discrimination against multiracial people. Multiracials and Civil Rights is a 'must read' for anyone interested in sophisticated analysis of the use of the civil rights laws to challenge discrimination in the United States."
—Kevin R. Johnson, Dean, UC Davis School of Law
"The increase in interracial marriages following the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia ushered in an era of racial self-identification as Loving’s children struggle to define themselves in a world that views race as monolithic. Multiracials and Civil Rights is an important contribution to the emerging literature about the post-Loving multiracial generation. It explores claims that multiracials experience a unique form of race-based discrimination. This thoroughly researched book is a must read, the first legally-focused discussion of whether current anti-discrimination law adequately addresses discrimination claims by multiracials."
—Taunya Lovell Banks, Jacob A. France Professor of Equality Jurisprudence, University of Maryland Law School
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