mdawkins's blog

Featured on NPR's "Tell Me More"

...full audio and text available at National Public Radio

Dr. Dawkins discusses her forthcoming book Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity and trades expert opinions with Latoya Peterson of Racialicious.Com, Galina Espinoza of Latina Magazine and Farai Chedaya of NPR on beauty, mixed race identity and "mad masculinity" in The Beauty Shop on National Public Radio's Tell Me More.

Jean Toomer Passing as White? I Think Not.

...full text also available at The Chronicle of Higher Education

In this letter to the editor of "The Chronicle of Higher Education" I respond to Professors Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Rudolph P. Byrd...

In their article "Jean Toomer's Conflicted Racial Identity," The Chronicle Review, February 11, the authors Rudolph P. Byrd and Henry Louis Gates Jr. claim that Toomer suffered from a case of "conflicted racial identity." Toomer, one of the first proponents of thinking about race in multiracial "American" terms, is now said to have been passing as white. The authors justify this assertion by presenting new evidence that Toomer identified himself differently based on location and situation.

Mixed Race Beauty Gets a Mainstream Makeover

...full text also available at Truthdig


Are mixed race faces considered the most beautiful? A recent report from Allure magazine says yes. Results of a survey conducted by Allure reveal that 64 percent of its readers thought mixed race was the most attractive. The editors attribute the results to the growing population of mixed race youth. As much as I’d like to agree it appears that this is just another case of wishful racial thinking.

2010 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

In November 2010 I received the National Communication Association's Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award in San Francisco, California. The Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Awards program recognizes new scholars who have recently completed their dissertations.

Receiving this award was a true honor and a great way to begin a career in writing. It was especially wonderful to be supported by Harry Guillermo, Deborah Hanan, Terry Nance, Randy Lake, and my colleagues and friends at USC Annenberg, CSU Fullerton and Brown. Mostly, it was humbling to be surrounded by so many scholars whose work makes important contributions to the discipline of communication.

The Coming "MiscegeNation"

...full text also available at Truthdig


It’s official. We’re a “miscegeNation.” The 2010 Census results are reminding us that multiracialism is not only our destiny but our reality. We’re seeing the rise of the most diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history with a record low white population—the millennials. According to the New York Times, “Young Americans are far less white than older generations, a shift that demographers say creates a culture gap with far-reaching political and social consequences.”

Featured in TIME Magazine: "Mixed-Race Celebrities on Race"

...full text available at TIME Magazine

"Historically, racism is equated with segregation, separating people," says Marcia Alesan Dawkins, a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. "In turn, we think racial progress is racial mixing. But the problem is, [that progress is] still based on appearance."

Halle Berry and Nahla, Not So Mixed and Not So Happy

...full text also available on Huffington Post

As we await the results of the 2010 Census it's tempting to think that our growing comfort with categorizing people as multiracial has erased racism and the fear of interracial relations. But in a recent interview with Ebony Magazine, Halle Berry says that we're neither as mixed nor as happy as we'd like to think.

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste—Except in Ohio?

...versions also available on The Women's International Perspective and Truthdig and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education


Kelley Williams-Bolar, an aspiring teacher and mother of two in Ohio, spent nine days in jail earlier this year and was placed on three years’ probation after a felony conviction for falsifying official documents. The basis of her offense? Sending her children to school in a district in which they did not live.

Quoted in Mixed Race Studies' Review of "The Invisible Line"

full text available at Mixed Race Studies

"... Much has been written in recent years about the “changing face” of America that foretells that we will become a ”mixed-race” country, or as Marcia A. Dawkins states, a “Miscege-Nation.” Yet, this is not wholly true, for we are not becoming a multiracial society, we already are a multiracial society. We have been multiracial not for years, or even decades, but for centuries."

Passing as a Woman(ist)?

As the 2011 NAACP Image Awards demonstrate, Tyler Perry has become a major force in media and popular culture. He has also become a playwright and media icon known for his potent and vivid representations of Black women's experiences. But is the "Madea-maven" passing as a womanist?