Professor of Sociology Sarah Willie-LeBreton was a recent guest on a Huffington Post Live segment on the changing face of America.
Willie-LeBreton, who serves as the Sociology & Anthropology department chair, was one of four panelists who discussed how multi-racial and multi-ethnic individuals identify themselves in today's America. Since 2000 (when Americans were allowed to indicate more than one race on the U.S. Census), the number of Americans who identified as multiracial has jumped 30 percent.
She discussed, among other things, her experiences growing up multiracial and what effect America's long history of racism has on how multiracial people identify.
"I don't think we can ever fully be in the present without appreciating that history," says Willie-LeBreton, "so it's only very recently that many multiracial people have claimed that their identity and celebrated it."
Willie-LeBreton also talked about the census decision to allow individuals to identify with multiple races and its effect on her herself and other multiracial individuals.
"It wasn't until the Census of 2000 that I was able to name my own reality. I was always very comfortable talking about myself as biracial, or multiracial or African American, but to be able to see that in print, that my own experience was represented, was really affirming," says Willie-LeBreton.
Willie-LeBreton has been a member of the Swarthmore community since 1997. Her teaching and research interests include social inequality, higher education, social theory, African American culture, and work and occupations