Minimum Genetic % For Multiracials

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD
4 min readMar 25, 2022

What’s the Minimum Genetic % Necessary for Multiracials
to Identify as One of Their Identities?

Table of Contents

· Minimum Genetic %
Research Question

· Sidenotes.
[Preliminary Data]: Novel Interracial Relationships.

· Indian Child Welfare Act

· In Defense of Awkwafina

Minimum Genetic %

According to the Indian Child Welfare Act, 1/64th is the minimum percentage to recognize a legally consequential identification with an ethnoracial group. This was the case in the relocation of 1.56% Native American Lexi (more details below).

I’m more Native American than Lexi

but if I introduced myself/ identified as Native American it would look like I was lying (even though it would be true), just as it would look like President Obama was lying if he introduced himself as White (even though it would be true).

Research Question

What do monoracials & half-White multiracials & interminority multiracials think the minimum percent should be?


A univariate ANOVA found a main effect of ethnoracial background on minimum genetic percentage necessary for multiracials to identify as one of their racial backgrounds, F(6, 447) = 8.38, p < .001.


[Preliminary Data]

Of 70 subjects who indicated their longest relationship was interracial but who were no longer with that lover, 58.57% of them (n = 41) were currently dating interracially. Moreover, of those 41 subjects, 39.02% of them (n = 16) were interracially dating someone of the same race as their longest lover.

It may be the case that the 60.98% of subjects interracially dating someone of a new racial group developed a general-interracial preference whereas 39.02% developed a specific-interracial preference (an interracial-type similar to monoracial daters’ intraracial-type).

As such, participants with the specific-interracial preference may be less open to interracial dating in general & only date interracially with a specific group. This would suggest that the rate of interracial dating itself can’t be taken as a perfect barometer of progress on race relations. It’s useful but imperfect insofar as it may only be a metric of improved race relations with specific racial groups.

Novel Interracial Relationships.

Of all subjects interracially dating a new group (n = 51; and n = 26 whose longest relationship was monoracial), 50.98% (n = 26) were dating someone multiracial, 19.61% (n = 10) were dating someone White, & 29.41% (n = 15) were dating a monoracial minority.

Of the 26 dating someone multiracial, 65.4% dated someone who partially overlapped with their racial background.

Which one of these women is Black?

Indian Child Welfare Act

The Indian Child Welfare Act defines Indian children as enrollees or potential enrollees who have a biological parent who is a member of any of the country’s 573 federally recognized tribes. About a dozen states have similar laws, some of which expand the definition, said Sarah Kastelic, director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association.

When the federal law was enacted, studies showed up to one-third of Native American children were being taken from their homes by private and state agencies, including church-run programs, and placed with mostly white families or in boarding schools. Testimony in Congress showed that was due to ignorance of tribes’ values and social norms. Kastelic also said there was a misconception that Native American families were unfit or too poor to care for their children.

“It was important to halt that removal, to correct state behavior, to put in minimum standards,” she said.

Many Native American families have stories about loved ones who disappeared and never returned.” [via CBS News, 2019]

Lexi had sobbed as she was taken away, begging her father: ‘Don’t let them take me away.’

She was taken by the Department of Children and Families in Santa Clarita and placed with relatives of her father in Utah (and biological sister who is also Native American).

Before enactment, as many as 25 to 35% of all Indian children were being removed from their Indian homes and placed in non-Indian homes, with presumably the absence of Indian culture.

The tribe and parents or Indian custodian of the Indian child have an unqualified right to intervene in a case involving foster care placement or the termination of parental rights.” [via Daily Mail, 2017]

In Defense of Awkwafina

Jarryd: Nora authentically incorporated aspects of Black pop culture into her persona. She didn’t do that as a kid to strategically commoditize or appropriate anything. She would still be exactly who she is even without the cameras.

GamerGirl: I guess being the world’s most ethnoracially diverse country means that overlaps in cultural socialization are bound to occur. We have to figure out how to recognize emblems of inclusion vs acts of appropriation. Still feels like there’s a fine line there, albeit poorly defined.



Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.