Sociological Forum

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 35–67 | Cite as

The End of the One-Drop Rule? Labeling of Multiracial Children in Black Intermarriages

  • Wendy D. RothEmail author


The identity choices of multiracial individuals with Black heritage have traditionally been limited in America by the one-drop rule, which automatically designated them as Black. This paper evaluates the rule’s contemporary influence and argues that, with increasing interracial marriage, options in racial identification are now available to this group. Using the 5% 1990 and 2000 Public Use Microdata Samples, I consider how children from Black intermarriages are racially identified by their families and, using 2000 data, evaluate theoretical hypotheses to explain identification processes. The results show that most families with Black intermarriages reject the one-drop rule, but that Black–White families create unique interracial options, the implications of which are considered.


multiracial identity race Black intermarriage 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Sociology and Social Policy, Sociology DepartmentHarvard UniversityCambridge

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