Friday, May 11, 2007

Are biracial people less happy? With all this talk about Obama's racial identity and his depression, I was interested in this question. I used General Social Survey data to construct two variables: 1) people who say their ancestors are 1st from Africa and 2nd from some white country, versus all others, and 2) people who say their ancestors are 1st from some white country and 2nd from Africa, versus all others. The former I will call "black-whites" and the latter will be "white-blacks."

By the way, the numbers of these biracial people who put black first is twice as large as those who put white first, and the percent of these folks who said "black" when simply asked their race was 88% for the white-blacks and 93% for the black-whites. Here are the percentages for happiness:

Percent very happy

Unmixed whites 33.2
Unmixed blacks 20.9
Unmixed others 30.1
Black-whites 20.9
White-blacks 24.8

The second answer-choice is "pretty happy", but let's look at the third choice--"not too happy":

Percent not too happy

Unmixed whites 9.2
Unmixed blacks 23.6
Unmixed others 11.9
Black-whites 15.6
White-blacks 23.8

Biracials--both black-whites and white-blacks--have low levels of happiness, but not lower than unmixed blacks. But we can't tell from these numbers if the causes of the similar levels are the same or not.


  1. The disturbing part is that most of them identify as black. America's "one drop rule" is ludicrous and senseless. Yet we still cling tenaciously to it.

  2. Anonymous1:11 PM

    ^ it has nothing to do with the one drop rule and everything to do with white supremacy (the contruction of whiteness) and not wanting to participate or associate with it.

    whiteness is nothing to aspire to.

  3. Anon: And evidently blackness IS something to aspire to.

  4. Anonymous8:37 AM

    As a person of mixed race I'd like to address Peter's bothersome discovery that most black and white people identify primarily with the black race. I wouldn't expect you or anyone who is not mixed to understand that black people are more accepting and welcoming to mixed people. I have friends of both races but all my really good friends have been black. In my experiences, white people are just not as accepting. I know it seems sad but it's true.

  5. Anonymous6:23 PM

    i am a mixed person but was adopted by a white family in rural west virginia. im mixed but i really look more "black" than high school i was the only person of color in the entire school. i never had trouble being accepted in my high school. I was captain of my football team and was i guess a 'popular' kid. i even dated the homecoming queen. i was always known as the black kid, and it never bothered me. i always identified myself as being more black than anything else. then i went to college where there were actually other black people. they were from places like atlanta, DC, baltimore(urban areas) i tried making friends with some of the guys but it seemed like i never fit in with these people. i have even been called "mexican" now it seems like i dont know who i identify with. i dont look at all white but most of my friends are white and i have a hard time fitting in with the black crowd.being mixed is hard

  6. Anonymous6:16 PM

    What depresses me as a mixed race person is thick lipped hard-haired black men using our weman in dirty rap videos as sex objects and think nothing of it. Yes of course I think Bi-racial people should show some emotion. White people on the other should be more assertive and not be cowards claiming to be ignorant. I heard of Bi-racial people being attacked by blacks and even killed if they show any kinship to whites. A Black Angolan man unashamedly told me that they killed Bi-racial people on sight and chuckled. He wanted to do business I cancelled everything and suggested he go back to Angola and be with all the other animals.
    I am Bi-racial and most of my difficulties growing up was with black kids. Blacks showed me more racism than I had ever seen in whites. As kids we were scared of black men. The one drop rule was a disastrous effort to give life to a fading black race at the high cost of the Bi-racial people. Black people have no respect for order and time is of no consequence and that trait does not apply to Bi-racial people. If you are black reading this, don't be offended try to assess your behaviour and bring change to your race. Racism is kept alive by Blacks, in Africa they have taken well kept farms away from Whites and destroyed them, they openly discrimnate against whites yet they cry racism. People like Tiger Woods and Barack Obama function well in a white man's world, they are biracial and refuse to carry the baggage of race descimination.


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