Hyperdescent

In categorizing mixed-race people, there’s two terms that go together: hyperdescent and hypodescent. Both are used to categorize children of mixed-race couples by one race.

According to hypodescent, a mixed-race person is categorized according to the more subordinated race (i.e., a child with a black father and a white mother would be classified as black.) According to hyperdescent, a mixed-race person is categorized according to the more dominant race (i.e. a child with a latino father and a white mother would be classified as white.)

My problem with the system is that it necessitates and reinforces a racial hierarchy. You have to play who’s more oppressed than who. And although the definition technically says something about “perceived social status and inequality”, its easy to read like “who’s better than who”.

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One thought on “Hyperdescent

  1. Pingback: A Rose is a Rosie is a Rosalita | Movements and Moments

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