How does affirmative action affect people of mixed/ 2 or more races?

By Maxine Seya

How does affirmative action affect people of mixed or 2+ races?

– student/applicant in Moorestown, NJ

It depends on which two races. These days, affirmative action might give extra admissions “points” to individuals who identify as Black, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American.
If you are Asian and white, affirmative action won’t help you, since those are two races not categorized in the URM, or underrepresented minorities group. Monoracial Black, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American individuals will typically benefit from affirmative action without much scrutiny. Then, multiracial individuals who are partially Black, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American are generally the next to benefit, if they’re mixed with white or Asian. However, there are some nuances.

Here’s what we found:

2013 study by a Davidson professor concluded that “people are less likely to categorize those of Black/White biracial descent as minority and thus are less likely to view them as appropriate recipients of affirmative action than those of Black monoracial or Black/Native American descent.”

Of course, perception doesn’t equate to practice. In a 2010 interview with the Chronicle, “C. Anthony Broh, a higher-education policy consultant who played a key role in the debate over the Education Department’s racial-classification system when he was director of research policy at the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, said he has no objection to biracial students identifying themselves as black to try to benefit from affirmative-action programs. Affirmative action, he said, is intended ‘to help students who are not part of the majority.’”

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Maxine Seya
Maxine Seya is a former investigative journalist, college consultant, and admissions interviewer. She studied at Peking University (Beijing, China) and Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier, France) and investigated for CNN and Huffington Post before graduating from Northwestern University. She founded SocratesPost to share the human stories behind the admission gates and offer parents clarity as they help their teens with college.