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The Borders of Race: Patrolling “Multiracial” Identities

Melinda Mills
The Borders of Race: Patrolling “Multiracial” Identities
ISBN: 978-1-62637-582-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-909-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-914-5
2020/281 pages
A FirstForumPress Book
Paperback now available!
Originally published in hardcover in 2017.
"Insightfully framed.... Valuable for classroom use.... Race and racial identity are clear and obscure simultaneously, always for certain, yet always questionable—the 'What are you?' that the racially ambiguous, among others, learn to anticipate. Mills has a ready phrase, equally loaded, to return with—'Why do you want to know?' This 'so what?' question is at the heart of this book." —Sarah Gatson, Contemporary Sociology

"Indispensable for institutions with sociology, social work, or anthropology programs." —Choice

"We have much [for which] to thank Melinda Mills and her exploration of the borders of race and multiracial identities." —Rodney Coates, American Journal of Sociology

"Full of rich findings and new questions.... Mills points scholars down a conceptual road that changes many of the things we thought we knew about multiraciality."—David Brunsma, Virginia Tech University


Choice Outstanding Academic Book!

Who is "multiracial"? And who decides? Addressing these two fundamental questions, Melinda Mills builds on the work of Heather Dalmage to explore the phenomenon—and consequences—of racial border patrolling by strangers, family members, friends, and even multiracial people themselves.


Melinda Mills is associate professor of gender and women's studies, sociology, and anthropology at Castleton University.


  • The Borders of Race.
  • What Is "Multiracial"?
  • Managing Racial Identities in Public Spaces.
  • Managing Racial Identities with Family and Friends.
  • Internalizing Racial Identities.
  • The Changing Geography and Demography of Race.
  • The Shifting Mixture of Racial Identities.