DOI: 10.1177/23326492231218228 ISSN: 2332-6492

Black, No Question Mark: Black Student Organizations, (Multi)Racial Awakenings, and Reflective Resistance in Multiracial Families

Angelica C. Loblack
  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

The increasing visibility of multiracial college students has catalyzed debate about the need for organizations to better address the racialized experiences of these students. These debates are fueled by scholarship highlighting multiracial students’ feelings of exclusion and alienation from race-oriented student organizations. Yet, much of this research is predicated on the aggregated experiences of all multiracial students with minimal, or no specific attention to those who both have Black ancestry and indicate involvement in Black student organizations (BSOs). To fill this gap, I draw on interviews with 21 Black multiracial college students involved in BSOs to examine how they interpret the impacts of their involvement. In doing so, I elucidate how BSOs operate as critical activation sites for (multi)racial awakenings, through which students develop deeper understandings of and attachments to Blackness as well as demonstrate strengthened commitments to antiracism. I then introduce reflective resistance to account for the ways that these (multi)racial awakenings informed shifts in students’ navigation of intrafamilial relationships, leading many to adopt strategies meant to dismantle, confront, and even resist the racist logics perpetuated by loved ones. Black multiracial students’ engagement in reflective resistance illustrates how BSO involvement not only impacts understandings of race and racism but also provides the tools necessary to critically reflect and resist anti-Blackness in students’ social, political, and intimate lives.

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