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Does ‘race’ matter? A study of ‘mixed race’ siblings' identifications

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Abstract

‘Mixed’ people comprise one of the fastest growing populations in Britain today, and their growth refutes the idea that there exist distinct, ‘natural’ races among people in multiethnic societies, such as Britain. In recent years, a large body of scholarship, both in the US and Britain, has begun to investigate the diverse social experiences and racial identifications of mixed people. In this article, I investigate the ways in which mixed siblings perceive and think about race and differences in racial, ethnic, and religious identification within their families. What role do race and the recognition of difference play in sibling relationships and in family life more generally? I draw upon a small number of cases to illustrate the diverse ways in which understandings of race, ethnicity, and religion are (or are not) regarded as important in these families. I also consider whether there are group differences in terms of how disparate types of mixed siblings may perceive pressures to identify in particular ways.

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