Bio-Ancestry and Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity

Guang Guo, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Social construction and bio-ancestral base of race and ethnicity have long been two sharply divided perspectives. Instead of treating the two perspectives as diametrically opposed, this application proposes to examine evidence for the coexistence of socially-constructed and bio-ancestrally-rooted racial identity in the contemporary United States. Drawing on decades of scholarship in race and ethnicity, recent advances in human genetics, and data resources from the Add Health, we (1) investigate whether and why self-reports of race and ethnicity depart from bio-ancestry; (2) assess the accuracy of a panel of 186 genetic ancestral informative markers in predicting self-reported race/ethnicity using a racially and ethnically diverse sample of 17,000 adolescents; (3) examine to what extent self-reports of race and ethnicity follow the one-drop rule; (4) address whether and why individuals change their racial/ethnic identity under different social circumstances; (5) examine the relationship between bio-ancestry and friendship social network in a school context.

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Presented in Session 159: What is 'Race' in Education Research?