by Habiba Ibrahim

About Habiba Ibrahim

Habiba Ibrahim is Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington. She is the author of Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism (2012).

Mixed Race

“Mixed race” is an outcome of racial formation that has been variously defined in relation to blackness throughout the course of U.S. history. The development of slavery in the U.S. and elsewhere accounts for how mixed race has routinely been absorbed within the category of blackness. As reliance on indentured and slave labor grew in the colonies and states from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, the definition of blackness—­a social classification to which slaves were relegated—­expanded to absorb larger numbers of laboring, captive bodies. The rule of “hypodescent,” which is the basis for what is colloquially termed the “one-­drop” rule, refers to the means by which this expansion occurred.