Discovery Guides Areas


Multiracial Identity and the U.S. Census
(Released January 2010)

  by Tyrone Nagai  


Key Citations




Key Citations Short Format Full Format
  1. Policing the Borderlands: White- and Black-American Newspaper Perceptions of Multiracial Heritage and the Idea of Race, 1996--2006

    Michael C. Thornton.

    Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 65, No. 1, Mar 2009, pp. 105-127.

    By employing a new policy of 'check all that apply,' the Census Bureau accommodated a mushrooming multiracial lobby demanding that its members be allowed a right to self-identification. With its implied shifting meaning of race, newspapers portrayed the reaction to this change as a firestorm of debate along racial fault lines, highlighted by Black-American inferences that this was a perilous decision. Using textual analysis, I examine from 1996 to 2006 how five Black-American and three White-American newspapers characterized multiracial people. White-American papers framed the discussion in two ways: (a) multiracial people epitomize a new era in which race has lost its bite, and (b) Black America stands in the way of their gaining their civil rights. There were also two frames for the Black-American papers: (a) The lobby advocates individual identity and is undergirded by denial or distancing from Blackness, and (b) that focus undermines Black America's future by playing into the misguided notion that race is socially insignificant. Adapted from the source document.

  2. Will "Multiracial" Survive to the Next Generation? The Racial Classification of Children of Multiracial Parents

    Jenifer Bratter.

    Social Forces, Vol. 86, No. 2, Dec 2007, pp. 821-849.

    Will multiracial identification resonate with future generations? Using the 2000 Us. Census, I analyze the impact of a multiracial parent on the classification of children in four types of multiracial families (e.g., white/non-white, black/non-black). Compared to families where parents are of two different single race backgrounds, parental multiracial identity decreased the likelihood of multiracial classification due to the use of labels reflecting a shared single-race category (e.g. white-Asian mother & white father). When parents' races did not overlap, multiracial classification was more common in households if the other parent was white or American Indian. These results suggest that intergenerational transmission of a multiracial identity is more common in contexts of racial diversity. Tables, Figures, References. Adapted from the source document.

  3. Public Categories, Private Identities: Exploring Regional Differences in the Biracial Experience

    David L. Brunsma.

    Social science research, Vol. 35, No. 3, Sept 2006, pp. 555-576.

    Empirical research on multiraciality & the development of richer models of racial identity have increased in the last decade. Increased attention to such phenomena has lead to the "check all that apply" modification to the 2000 Census-an official recognition of an historical reality not before reflected on the United States' Census. However, "identity" & "identification" are different phenomena. Using Place-level data from Census 2000 as well as data from the Survey of Biracial Experience (Rockquemore & Brunsma, 2001), this paper will reveal the geographic distribution of black-white biracial individuals via the Census & compare it to the geographic distribution of biracials' racial self-understandings from survey methods. The findings illuminate the multifaceted relationship between public categorization & private racial identification. Finally, the implications for utilizing the new Census data for studying black-white & other mixed populations are considered. Tables, References. [Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.]

  4. Who Is Black in Brazil? The Complexities of Race Identities and Affirmative Action in a Racially Mixed Society

    Solange D. Simoes, James J. Jackson, Mauro Jeronymo and Tiffany Griffin.


    In this paper we examine race identity in Brazil & discuss the implications of the findings for the current debate on affirmative action & implementation of quotas in Brazilian institutions of higher education. We draw on a discussion of competing views of race relations in Brazilian society, & build an argument with original qualitative as well as quantitative data that were collected through the Belo Horizonte Metropolitan Area Survey 2002 & 2005 waves. We dispute the common held view that racial identity in Brazil is ambiguous. Rather than ambiguous, we argue that racial identity can be better understood as multi-faceted; a composite of various sub-types or dimensions of identity. In this approach, we develop & compare various types of race identity measures: 1) self-identification, 2) census categories, 3) observed race (controlled by the observer's race), 4) ancestry, & 4) phenotype. In the interpretation of our findings we argue that high levels of miscegenation in Brazil has lead to multi-faceted identities along with a gradation of prejudice. Rather than dismissing affirmative action & quotas as an "American import", we argue for the need to fearlessly face the intellectual & political challenges in order to develop affirmative action & quota systems that address the multiple ways in which identity is built & racism is experienced in Brazilian society.

  5. Mixing It Up

    Kimberley da Costa.

    Contexts, Vol. 4, No. 4, Fall 2005, pp. 15-16.

    Jamie Tibbetts is a member of the Generation Mix National Awareness Tour. He & four other mixed-race young adults are driving across the country, making stops in sixteen cities to "raise awareness of America's multiracial baby boom" & "promote a national dialogue about the mixed-race experience.' The tour is sponsored by the Mavin Foundation, which advocates on behalf of people who identify as being of mixed race in the United States. The Mavin Foundation continues & extends the work of earlier multiracial advocacy groups that coalesced around the issue of census classification in the 1990s & successfully challenged the federal "check one only" policy of racial enumeration. Beginning in 2000, the U.S. Census instructed people to "mark one or more" racial categories, resulting in new statistical measures of the "two or more races" population. (This interview was conducted in April 2005.). Adapted from the source document.

  6. Pondering Poi Dog: Place and Racial Identification of Multiracial Native Hawaiians

    Shawn Malia Kana'iaupuni and Carolyn A. Liebler.

    Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 28, No. 4, July 2005, pp. 687-721.

    Given the very large proportion of Hawaiians who are multiracial, our research examines Native Hawaiian identification in mixed-race Hawaiian families. We use the 1990 US Census, which affords a unique look at racial identification because multiracial people were required to choose one race over another. The results show support for our argument that place plays a central role in Pacific identity processes, illustrated in this case among Hawaiians. We find that strong ties to Hawai'i -- the spiritual & geographic home of the Hawaiian population -- are vital to the intergenerational transmission of Hawaiian identification in both continental & island multiracial families. We compare our results for multiracial Native Hawaiians to prior studies of American Indians & Asian Americans to identify any general patterns in correlates of racial identification choices. In each group, we find that familial & geographic relationships to the cultural & ancestral lands are strongly linked to racial identification. 4 Tables, 1 Figure, 1 Appendix, 61 References. Adapted from the source document.

  7. "Identifying with Multiple Races: A Social Movement That Succeeded but Failed?"

    The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity

    Reynolds Farley.

    New York; United States: Russell Sage, pp. 123-148

    2004Examines three developments emerging from the civil rights movement leading to the social movement for the right to identify with multiple races. In the 1960s, federal courts required racial data to enforce constitutional mandates. In the 1970s & 1980s, debate on which races would benefit from federal protection resulted in legislation, eg, Voting Rights Act, & finally the federal mandate, Directive 15, specifying which racial categories had to be used in the national statistical system. By the 1990s, miscegenation resulted in a lack of satisfaction with the government's established racial categories leading, in turn, to a movement that pushed for identification with several races. Attention turns to the 2000 Census & the manner in which multiracial data was collected. Some results are presented, highlighting the sociodemographic characteristics of those who identified with two or more races. Identifying one's children as multiracial is seen as a prime reason for advocating the new race question. While the multiracial movement succeeded in changing the federal statistical system, it appears that it was less successful in shifting how people think about race & racial data; the category of multiracial may prove difficult to popularize. 2 Tables, 4 Figures, 20 References. J. Zendejas

  8. Racial Identification and Ethnic Identity in Louisiana Creole People of Color

    Tameka S. Susberry.

    Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 65, No. 6, Dec 2004, pp. 2374-A-2375-A.

    With the rise of interracial unions and changes in how society views these trends (as reflected by the 2000 Census' option for multiracial identification), multiracial identity development is an increasingly significant area of study in psychological literature. Responding to both the need for theory and research and professional recommendations related to the development of multicultural competencies, recent scholarship has elucidated concepts related to multiracial identity development and choice and the variables associated with these processes. In the literature review, a variety of theoretical models are described, including Kich's (1992) three-stage multiracial identity development model, Phinney's (1992) model on ethnic identity achievement, and Wijeyesinghe's Factor Model of Multiracial Identity (2001). Additionally, research findings regarding factors associated with racial identity choice in multiracial individuals were presented. Although research has enhanced knowledge about racial and ethnic identity development by the exploration of Multiracial individuals, it has neglected communities that have a multi-generational history of interracial mixing (e.g., Melungeons, Creoles). Given the increasing pride in Creole heritage, the shift of traditional perspectives of race, and research trends in psychological study of multiracial identity development, attending to the experience of Louisiana Creoles of Color may prove to be a fruitful line of inquiry. In light of these issues, the researcher examined how a sample of 94 Louisiana Creoles of Color racially categorized themselves and the factors associated with their choices. Specifically, the researcher investigated differences across racial identity choice (exclusively Black; alternately Black, Creole, and/or White; exclusively Creole; race-less) in the following variables: ethnic identity achievement; self-esteem; self-perceived skin color, social interpretation of appearance; negative treatment; perceived social status of Blacks; fluency in Creole dialect; and racial composition of pre-adult social context. Additionally, the researcher examined which combination of variables contributed to Creole racial identity as well as the relation between ethnic identity achievement and self-esteem. A section with open-ended questions was also included in order to enhance the results of the quantitative analyses. A variety of factors were found to be associated with one's identification of Creole as a multiracial identity, particularly fluency in Creole dialect, self-perceived skin color, ethnic identity achievement, social interpretation of appearance, and racial composition of pre-adult social context. That is, greater proficiency in Creole dialect, lighter skin color, and greater ethnic identity achievement are associated with an exclusively Creole identity. Considering oneself exclusively Creole is also associated with having ambiguous physical features that are interpreted by others to convey a Creole appearance and being exposed to predominantly White childhood peers. Lower levels of self-esteem are associated with an alternating racial identity. Moreover, with a regression model that moderately fits the data, fluency in Creole dialect, self-perceived skin color, and self-esteem emerged as the best predictors of Creole racial identity. Ethnic identity achievement and self-esteem were not significantly related.

  9. Standing in the Middle of Interracial Relations: The Educational Experiences of Children from Multiracial Backgrounds

    Simon Cheng.

    Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 65, No. 2, Aug 2004, pp. 460-A.

    The newest census data suggest that multiracial children are the fourth largest group in the American youth population, yet little has been done to explore multiracial students' lives beyond their identity formation. Using two national representative datasets, this dissertation examines multiracial children's educational experiences. The empirical analyses focus on four major topics: (1) biracial families' resource allocations to their children, (2) parental school participation in interracial families, (3) multiracial students' academic achievements, and (4) the relationship between biracial adolescents' school attachments and school racial compositions. The major findings suggest that, within families, interracial parents attempt to allocate more family resources to their children's education in order to compensate for their children's marginalized social positions. Outside of their families, interracial parents also experience social prejudice because of their interracial status, but they still try to develop beneficial social capital for their children. For example, by having fathers instead of mothers attend parent-teacher conferences, white father-minority mother families maintain appropriate contacts with school officials and, at the same time, avoid potentially unpleasant interactions with other people. Reflected on school performances, we see that multiracial kindergartners display higher academic achievements than monoracial youngsters, but multiracial adolescents' school performances lag behind those of their monoracial schoolmates. This is because adolescents are more vulnerable to social prejudice and more independent of parental protections than young children. Multiracial adolescents' struggles in school are not manifested only in their academic achievements. Since their biracial identity often impedes their peer affiliations, over time biracial adolescents learn to use their dual racial heritage to position themselves in school settings. Their struggles to find social niches, however, are constrained by the racial compositions of their schools. I discuss these findings in the theoretical contexts of the sociology of family and education, and further elaborate their implications in relation to theories of racial stratification.

  10. Ties on the Fringes of Identity

    Carolyn A. Liebler.

    Social science research, Vol. 33, No. 4, Dec 2004, pp. 702-723.

    I use data on part-American Indian children in the 1990 Census 5% PUMS to assess my hypotheses that thick racial ties within the family constrain racial identification, & that structural aspects of the community (group size, inequality, & racial heterogeneity) affect racial identification when racial ties are thin within the family. American Indians present an interesting case study because their high levels of intermarriage & complex patterns of assimilation/identity retention for generations provide a varied group of people who could potentially identify their race as American Indian. Several hypotheses are supported by the data, signifying that racial identification among people with mixed-heritage is affected by the social world beyond individual psychology & racial ties within the family. 4 Tables, 1 Appendix, 29 References. [Copyright 2003 Elsevier Inc.]

  11. Collecting and Tabulating Race/Ethnicity Data with Diverse and Mixed Heritage Populations: A Case-Study with US High School Students

    Alejandra M. Lopez.

    Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 26, No. 5, Sept 2003, pp. 931-961.

    The increasing diversity of the US coupled with the continuing need for information gathered about race/ethnicity require us to re-examine our practices of collecting & tabulating such data, particularly from individuals of mixed heritage. In the context of Census 2000, which allowed people for the first time to identify with multiple race groups, this article focuses on the context of education & looks at high school students' self-identification practices on forms. Survey data gathered from 638 freshmen during 1999-2000 at a diverse, public high school in CA indicate that there can be high levels of inconsistency in students' individual identifications depending on question format & response options provided; &, overall demographic counts can greatly vary depending on how multiple-response data are tabulated. Students' responses raise questions about whether it is possible to attain a high level of measurement reliability when working with a diverse population that includes individuals of mixed heritage. 7 Tables, 4 Figures, 22 References. Adapted from the source document.

  12. The Conceptualisation and Categorisation of Mixed Race/Ethnicity in Britain and North America: Identity Options and the Role of the State

    P. J. Aspinall.

    International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 27, No. 3, May 2003, pp. 269-296.

    Estimates of around 1.7%-2.4% of the population in the US, 2% in Canada, & 0.6% in GB now self-identify as mixed race. Inter-ethnic unions comprise around 2.7% of all unions in the US & 1.3% in GB & are increasing. The impact of these changes on the ethnic/racial diversity of GB & North America & the demand from persons of mixed race to describe their 'full' identity requires a response from government & census agencies that classify the population by race/ethnicity. Most current terminology to describe the mixed race population is contested & there is limited agreement on how it should be included in classifications. Research studies show that the self-understandings of persons of mixed race may incorporate a range of identities, some biracial & others a single group like 'black,' although the options available in the US may still be limited by the legacy of the hypodescent policy. The solutions offered by classifications in the 2000/2001 round of censuses include a subdivided 'mixed' category in England & Wales & provision to select one or more categories in the US. This marks an end to the official conceptualization of 'pure' races that has been so pervasive in the past &, for the first time, offers mixed race identity options to those of mixed heritage. Classifications need to satisfactorily allow for hybridized identities representing allegiances to multiple groups as opposed to a method that implies an outcome from two putatively 'pure' categories, the latter being the method chosen in the England & Wales Census. 93 References. Adapted from the source document.

  13. Crossing Racial Lines: Geographies of Mixed-Race Partnering and Multiraciality in the United States

    Richard Wright, Serin Houston, Mark Ellis, Steven Holloway and Margaret Hudson.

    Progress in Human Geography, Vol. 27, No. 4, Aug 2003, pp. 457-474.

    This review highlights geographical perspectives on mixed-race partnering & multiraciality in the US, explicitly calling for increased analysis at the scale of the mixed-race household. We begin with a discussion of mixed-race rhetoric & then sketch contemporary trends in mixed-race partnering & multiraciality in the US. We also weave in considerations of the public & the private & the genealogical & social constructions of race. Our challenges to current thought add to the landscape of scholarship concerned with race & space. By presenting mixed race in fresh ways, we offer new sites for intervention in this evolving literature. 93 References. Adapted from the source document.

  14. "Back in the Box: The Dilemma of Using Multiple-Race Data for Single-Race Laws"

    The New Race Question

    Joshua R. Goldstein and Ann J. Morning.

    New York: Russell Sage, pp. 119-136

    2002In 1997, the US Office of Management & Budget (OMB) issued revised standards that allowed respondents to select more than one category ("box") for racial identification on federal forms; this change first appeared on the national decennial census in 2000. Shortly before the Census was conducted, new OMB guidelines dictated that respondents marking "white" & any other nonwhite race should be counted as members of the nonwhite group. Explored here are some implications of these new allocation rules (Bulletin 00-02) concerning the use of multirace data, particularly for civil rights & voting rights laws based on single-race criteria. It is argued that the OMB standards effectively reimplement the old "one-drop rule" used to classify anyone with any degree of African ancestry as black during the 19th century. In addition, it is contended that these standards (1) violate the principle of self-identification, & (2) err on the side of extending race-based public policies to individuals who might previously not have qualified, making such policies even more controversial. The OMB guidelines are outlined & some simulated estimates are offered on how their reallocation measures will impact the national racial composition -- & policies based on it. 3 Tables, 2 Figures, 17 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  15. "Comparing Census Race Data under the Old and New Standards"

    The New Race Question

    Clyde Tucker, Steve Miller and Jennifer Parker.

    New York: Russell Sage, pp. 365-390


    Considers some methodological issues surrounding attempts to compare racial & ethnic data collected in the 2000 decennial US census, the first to allow respondents the option of selecting more than one category to designate their racial identification, with data from previous censuses & other individual-level social surveys. "Bridging estimates" calculated to analyze historical trends in data series are reviewed, cautioning that they are not always useful, nor are they required. Criteria for choosing a bridging method are outlined, & the utility of different methods is demonstrated in a comparative analysis of data from three sources: the 1993-1995 National Health Interview Surveys, the May 1995 Supplement on Race & Ethnicity to the Current Population Survey, & the 1998 Washington State Population Survey. The effects of method on outcome measures are discussed, & specific implications for the interpretation of racial data are considered. 9 Tables, 5 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  16. "Counting by Race: The Antebellum Legacy"

    The New Race Question

    Margo J. Anderson.

    New York: Russell Sage, 269-287

    2002Traces the practice of racial counting across the revolutionary & antebellum eras in US history, when it was utilized to differentiate the slave & free populations for the purposes of tax allocation & segregation. The role of political partisanship in this practice is highlighted. Until 1810, "free coloreds" & slaves were not initially differentiated; only the characteristics of the white population were considered important for census purposes. Debate surrounding the "Three Fifths Compromise" enacted during the drafting of the US Constitution became fevered during the antebellum period amid various controversies over the future of black slavery. Fiery rhetoric that erupted over proposals to repeal the compromise, which would have based the legislative apportionment to Congress only on a state's free population, is reviewed; the reemergence of this controversy in MO in 1819 over proposals to ban slaves from the state is also discussed. The introduction in 1820 of new census distinctions based on age & sex cohorts for the slave & free black populations & the 1850 introduction of the "mulatto" or "mixed race" category & the shift to an individual- rather than household-level census count are detailed. After the Civil War, the southern states saw their representation in Congress increase with the addition of free blacks to the census count; northern Republicans countered with the Fourteenth Amendment, which reduced a state's representation if it denied the right to vote to all male citizens. 1 Table, 1 Figure, 37 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  17. "Does It Matter How We Measure? Racial Classification and the Characteristics of Multiracial Youth"

    The New Race Question

    David R. Harris.

    New York: Russell Sage, 62-101

    2002For the first time in 2000, the decennial US Census allowed respondents to select more than one category to designate their racial identification; 2.4 Americans identified with 2 or more racial groups. After revisiting previous research on multiraciality, existing methods of identifying this population are critiqued, & the implications of measurement effects are considered. Data from the first (1994/95) wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health are drawn on to explore the sociodemographic characteristics of middle & high school students from multiracial populations & their component monoracial groups; analysis is restricted to non-Hispanic youth who were interviewed both at school & at home. Significant sociodemographic differences are found between those youth who are consistent vs inconsistent (ie, identifying as multiracial only at school or at home) in their racial identification, as well as between youths identifying as multiracial & their monoracial peers. Thus, it is concluded that measurement does matter in research on multiracial populations. 8 Tables, 2 Figures, 51 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  18. "History, Historicity, and the Census Count by Race"

    The New Race Question

    Matthew Frye Jacobson.

    New York: Russell Sage, 259-262

    2002The long history of the US making racial counts via census methods is traced, & some moral issues are considered. The political nature of this practice is described, & concerns about the misuse of such racial counts are balanced against the necessity of making such counts to ensure civil rights. The role of the state in racial formation is explored, along with that of science. The need to consider the socially constructed nature of racial categories & their variation with shifts in historical context is emphasized. Nathan Glazer's (2002) proposal for reducing the census racial categorization to a two-tiered distinction between "black" & "not black" is criticized as overly simplistic & divisive, particularly given the history of black struggle & black-white relations in the US. 1 Reference. K. Hyatt Stewart

  19. "Inadequacies of Multiple-Response Race Data in the Federal Statistical System"

    The New Race Question

    Roderick J. Harrison.

    New York: Russell Sage, 137-160

    2002A former member of the research subcommittee appointed to assist the US Office of Management & Budget (OMB) in revising its methods of classifying race & ethnicity for federal government purposes now attempts to correct what he sees as flaws in the changes that were eventually enacted. The OMB revised standards issued in 1997 allowed respondents to federal forms (including the US Census) to select more than one category to designate their racial identification. It is argued here that such multiple-race data are inappropriate for many of the purposes for which they are used, particularly in designing policies to address inequalities based on race or ethnicity. Specific problems with multiracial reporting are identified, eg, geographic variability & the subjective nature of self-identification. Though potentially interesting & of value for research on the changing face of racial/ethnic identity in the country, it is contended that such data do not refer to "meaningful" multiracial populations & are of dubious validity & reliability for assessing social, economic, health, or housing characteristics of different population groups. Particularly dangerous implications of the new classification system for American Indians & Asian Americans are explored, focusing on civil rights concerns. Techniques that could be utilized to collect "bridge estimates" to reconcile old & new racial/ethnic reporting methods are suggested. 1 Table, 9 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  20. "Introduction"

    The New Race Question

    Joel Perlmann and Mary C. Waters.

    New York: Russell Sage, 1-30

    2002Examines factors underlying the decision that, for the first time, allowed respondents to the 2000 decennial census to designate more than one category in identifying their race, an action that challenged long-standing beliefs about race in US society. The history of "ethnic blending" between successive generations of US immigrants is traced, & the increase in the numbers -- & acceptance -- of racial intermarriage in the late 20th century is documented. Ways in which the US Census Bureau has collected data on ethnicity since the mid-19th century are reviewed, focusing on developments in the way that children of racially mixed marriages have been counted & categorized. Ways in which questions about own/parental birthplace & ancestry gave way to increasingly subjective racial designations raised questions about the social, biological, & legal statuses of racial identification, all of which were also bound up in civil rights issues. Debates for & against changing the race question in the 2000 Census are reviewed, & implications for the future of racial enumeration in the Census & in other survey measures of an increasingly multiracial society are considered. 21 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  21. "The Legal Implications of a Multiracial Census"

    The New Race Question

    Nathaniel Persily.

    New York: Russell Sage, 161-186

    2002The 2000 decennial US Census was the first to allow respondents to select more than one category to designate their racial identification. Here, some legal implications of this new multiracial format are explored, focusing on three types of potential cases stemming from civil rights law: those involving (1) discriminatory impact suits brought by individuals; (2) compliance with goals or timetables for achieving racial composition requirements (eg, affirmative action & school desegregation); & (3) legislative redistricting under the 1973 Voting Rights Act. Constitutional & other legal problems posed by the new aggregation rules for categorizing the multiracial population proposed by the Office of Management & Budget are also examined. Though short-term legal effects are likely to be minor, it is anticipated that, in the long term, the new multiracial data & methods for its aggregation will become increasingly problematic in the legal arena. 7 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  22. "Lessons from Brazil: The Ideational and Political Dimensions of Multiraciality"

    The New Race Question

    Melissa Nobles.

    New York: Russell Sage, 300-317

    2002Argues that in both the US & Brazil, the notion of race has been a central organizing principle of political, economic, & social life. In light of new concerns raised in the US with the introduction of a "multiraciality" component into the 2000 census, examined here are lessons from Brazil's experience with such racial counting & classification methods, which have been a fixture since the first modern census in 1872. The flexibility of racial & color identifications in Latin America as a whole is explored, demonstrating how the notion of racial mixture has been the cornerstone of national identity in Brazil. Contrary to assumptions, it is argued that the mere existence of multiracial data does not make Brazil a "racial democracy"; ways in which such data continue to be used for discriminatory purposes are examined. The ultimate implications of collecting such data in the US will depend on how they are interpreted & used for political purposes. K. Hyatt Stewart

  23. "Multiple Racial Identifiers in the 2000 Census, and Then What?"

    The New Race Question

    Jennifer L. Hochschild.

    New York: Russell Sage, 340-353

    2002Examines the long-term political & policy implications of the new provision in the 2000 decennial US census that allowed respondents to select more than one category to designate their racial identification. Questions are raised about how multiraciality should be interpreted, the comparability of data from the new census with those from previous ones that measured race differently, the relationship between race & ethnicity, & determining responsibility for the use of this new racial information. Whether multiracial self-identification represents a welcome acknowledgement of the social construction of race or is a thinly disguised method of perpetuating existing structures of racial domination is considered. A theoretical question is proposed for further reflection: "What would be lost, & what gained, if the racial & ethnic census categories fell of their own weight & were abandoned?". 17 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  24. "Multiracialism and the Administrative State"

    The New Race Question

    Peter Skerry.

    New York: Russell Sage, 327-339

    2002The 2000 decennial US Census was the first to allow respondents to select more than one category to designate their racial identification. It is argued that this change illuminates the political nature of the census, in general, & its racial & ethnic categories, specifically; it is further argued that politics pervades even allegedly "scientific" aspects of the census. Political motivations for switching to the multiraciality option are reviewed, citing the role of various interest groups & the leading political parties, & it is maintained that the census is inextricably bound up with the administrative needs of the welfare state. The difficulty of balancing the state's demands for authority with the nation's individualistic values is addressed, & it is concluded that multiracialism "will do more harm than good;" specific problems for affirmative action policies are noted. 29 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  25. The New Race Question: how the Census Counts Multiracial Individuals

    Joel [Ed] Perlmann and Mary C. [Ed] Waters.


    With the 2000 decennial census, the US government made a radical change in the way that it measured race, for the first time allowing respondents to identity themselves as bi- or multiracial by checking more than one race category. Reasons behind this change are considered, highlighting the increase in racial intermarriages. Methodological implications of this change are explored, including questions about how to count persons marking more than one racial category, the aggregation of racial counts from raw data, & the comparability of 2000 (& future) census data to previous censuses that mandated choosing a single category of racial identification. The politics of racial enumeration are examined in depth, focusing on the history of racial counting & the purposes for which it has been used; the practice of developing special government programs & policies on the basis of race (eg, affirmative action) are considered. Implications for the future use of racial categories & census data by the federal government are explored, along with issues concerning the fate of broader social/economic policies & legislative/judicial actions determined on the basis of census enumeration. 31 Tables, 21 Figures, 1 Appendix, 392 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  26. "Race in the 2000 Census: A Turning Point"

    The New Race Question

    Kenneth Prewitt.

    New York: Russell Sage, 354-361

    2002Argues that the long-term implications of the addition of the multiple-race response option to the 2000 decennial US census may not be apparent for some time. Several of these are considered here, highlighting (1) pressure to expand the number of racial categories, (2) growing scientific doubts about the reliability of racial measurement, (3) increasing public discomfort with racial classification in general, & (4) difficulties reconciling how race is measured & used in making law & public policy. K. Hyatt Stewart

  27. "Racial Identities in 2000: The Response to the Multiple-Race Response Option"

    The New Race Question

    Reynolds Farley.

    New York: Russell Sage, 33-61

    2002Chronicles the formation & development of a multiracial movement in the US composed of married interracial couples designed to support each other & their mixed-race children. Ways in which groups such as the Assoc of MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA), together with civil rights activists, lobbied for changes in how racial information was collected & used are described. Their impacts on the dramatic change in the 2000 decennial census, which, for the first time, allowed respondents to select more than one category to designate their racial identification, are analyzed, & new federal policy stemming from the Office of Management & Budget's Directive 15 is reviewed. Newly available (Mar 2002) data from the 2000 census are presented to determine how many people actually utilized the new option in describing their race, & the geographic distribution of the multiple-race population by racial/ethnic group is graphically illustrated. The new enumeration yields 63 distinct races or racial combinations down to the lowest level of census geography -- the city block -- which, when tabulated according to Hispanic ethnicity, produce data for 126 different groups. New methods of analyzing & making use of this multirace data are described. 3 Tables, 6 Figures, 32 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  28. "Recent Trends in Intermarriage and Immigration and Their Effects on the Future Racial Composition of the U.S. Population"

    The New Race Question

    Barry Edmonston, Sharon M. Lee and Jeffrey S. Passel.

    New York: Russell Sage, 227-255

    2002The impacts of immigration & racial intermarriage on the future racial & ethnic composition of the US are investigated, using a modified cohort-component model to develop population projections based on data from the 2000 US Census for a base population of 5 race-ethnic groups: American Indians, Asians & Pacific Islanders, blacks, Hispanics, & whites. The projection model provides population estimates for each group by age & sex for the period 2000-2100. Projections on immigration, emigration, intermarriage, fertility, & mortality are analyzed, & assumptions regarding each dimension are specified. It is cautioned that such population projections, even though they improve on current models by rejecting assumptions of endogamy, are suitable for neither predictive nor prospective analysis. 8 Tables, 49 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  29. "Reflections on Race, Hispanicity, and Ancestry in the U.S. Census"

    The New Race Question

    Nathan Glazer.

    New York: Russell Sage, 318-326

    2002Problems with how the US Census now measures race, ancestry, & Hispanic ethnicity are identified, & a proposal (admittedly "political naive") is advanced to replace the current method with only two questions: (1) whether or not the respondent considers him or herself black/African American, & (2) the birthplace of the respondent & his or her parents, & perhaps grandparents. It is argued that these questions would provide less-detailed, but more relevant & accurate, data on the racial composition of the nation. Political reasons why such proposed changes are most likely an exercise in futility are discussed. 9 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  30. "What Race Are You?"

    The New Race Question

    Werner Sollors.

    New York: Russell Sage, 263-268


    Traces the history of the use of the term "race" over the past 500 years & analyzes the intersection of the census, racism, & state power in the US. Changing definitions of race illuminate its socially constructed rather than biological nature. The racist nature of several assumptions that continue to guide contemporary law & public policy is exposed. It is suggested that if the US Census is to continue to ask questions about racial identification, it needs to qualify its purposes for doing so (to protect civil rights & enforce antidiscrimination legislation) & deny any credence to the notion of different "races" save as a historical descriptive category. 10 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  31. Who Is Multiracial? Assessing the Complexity of Lived Race

    David R. Harris and Jeremiah Joseph Sim.

    American Sociological Review, Vol. 67, No. 4, Aug 2002, pp. 614-627.

    Patterns of racial classification in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health are examined. The survey's large sample size & multiple indicators of race permit generalizable claims about patterns & processes of social construction in the racial categorization of adolescents. About 12% of youth provide inconsistent responses to nearly identical questions about race, context affects one's choice of a single-race identity, & nearly all patterns & processes of racial classification depend on which racial groups are involved. The implications of the findings are discussed for users of data on race in general, & for the new census data in particular. 5 Tables, 1 Figure, 50 References. Adapted from the source document.

  32. Jewishness after Mount Sinai: Jews, Blacks and the (Multi)Racial Category

    Katya Gibel Azoulay.

    Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, Vol. 8, No. 2, June 2001, pp. 211-246.

    The absence of attention to Black-Jewish identities in the discourse of multiracialism results from exaggerated attention to Black-Jewish relations, as well as a conceptual slippage between Jewishness & whiteness. This essay proposes that identities in the public arena are always political, & that racial binaries continue in spite of the authorization of multiple-box checking in the US Census. When Jewish parents in the US identify themselves as white, they reproduce race thinking in their children, which, in turn, reinforces, rather than undermines racial hierarchies. This surfaces with particular saliency in the proposal for a multiracial category. 133 References. Adapted from the source document.

  33. Changing Ethnic Identities in an Unbounded Community: The Formation of a "Little Race"

    Marie Pease Lewis and James E. Floyd.


    Highlights a so-called "triracial isolate community" centered in Gouldtown, NJ, to explore two principle ideas: ethnic identity formation & a geographically unbounded community formed through social networks. A longitudinal study of federal census instruments examines the language used to identify ethnic groups. Attention is given to census takers' subjective use of these terms to categorize individuals/families. The latter is compared with family members' self-selected terms for ethnic identification. Changes in ethnic labels applied to & used by these populations are charted. Although the labels change, the core families remain in residency throughout the history of the communities; ie, ethnicity remains fairly stable: it is only the ascribed & self-identifying labels that have changed. The impact that ethnic migration had on this labeling process is considered. Genealogies of the original families are used to show how they expanded their networks to include families in Kent County, DE. Studies of historical writings, church records, journalistic documents, & searches of graveyards for family names that consistently cross the geographical boundaries of the two states contribute to the documentation of an unbounded community formed through social institutions of family & religion.

  34. Counting Multiracials in the 2000 Census: Implications for Asian Americans

    Albert Sanghyup Hahn.

    Asian American Policy Review, Vol. 9, 2000, pp. 56-75.

    The 2000 Census allows respondents to check multiple race categories for the first time. This article addresses the tabulation of these multiple race responses & how the Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Islander population (API) counts will be affected by varying tabulation schemes. Specifically, the article evaluates the seven tabulation schemes proposed by the Interagency Committee for the Review of Standards for Race & Ethnicity on three main criteria: Comparability, Congruence, & Impact on API Count. API organizations should advocate the use of either a variant of the National Health Interview Survey Fractional Scheme or the All-Inclusive Scheme. Advantages & disadvantages of each option are discussed. 9 Tables, 17 References. Adapted from the source document.

  35. Introduction to Interracial Families and Multiracial Individuals

    George Yancey.

    Sociological Imagination, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2000, pp. 205-208.

    An introduction to this special journal issue describes the increased recognition & legitimization of mixed-race families & individuals in the US, reflected in the fact that, for the first time in 2000, the Census allowed respondents to check more than one category for race. Increased scholarly attention is also noted, & it is suggested that this will lead to better understanding of US race relations, particularly as race comes to be understood less as a biological entity than as a social construction. 5 References. K. Hyatt Stewart

  36. A New American Race?

    Amitai Etzioni.

    The Responsive Community, Vol. 10, No. 2, spring 2000, pp. 10-15.

    Argues for the sociological importance of recognizing the US as a multiracial nation & establishment of "multiracial" as a census category. In 1990, almost 10 million Americans identified themselves as "other" rather than as one of the 16 racial categories offered on the census form. The unattractiveness of "other" as an identity label is discussed, along with the Census Bureau's reclassification to monoracial categories of those identifying themselves as "other." The political implications of a multiracial category are discussed, including the possible blurring of racial distinctions, the potential loss of funds if significant numbers of Americans remove themselves from specific categories, & the chance of moving the nation toward societal cohesion. It is suggested that the Census Bureau decision to eliminate "other" from the 2000 form in favor of allowing individuals to mark as many racial designations as they wish, may work to harden social divisions, depending on how the information is released. The ultimate question is how Americans will envision their nation in the long run. J. Lindroth

  37. Tripping on the Color Line: Black-White Multiracial Families in a Racially Divided World

    Heather M. Dalmage.


    In-depth interviews with members (N = 47) of black-white multiracial families were conducted to determine how race influences various aspects of the lives of multiracial family members. The issue of how racial discrimination against black-white families forces these family members to reconsider their own racial identities & association with racial communities is investigated. Although housing discrimination against multiracial families is viewed as the product of multiple social determinants (eg, education & social status), it is claimed that such discrimination possesses an essentialist foundation. It is asserted that physical appearance, political positions, & family relations cause mainstream society to treat members of black-white families with ambiguity; however, it is noted that multiracial families frequently prompt essentialist individuals to reconsider their own racial identities. In addition, the influence of transracial adoption & census categories on the creation of social networks & communities for multiracial families is studied. This text consists of an Introduction, 4 Chpts, & a Conclusion. J. W. Parker

  38. Who Is Multiracial? Definitions and Decisions

    Ann Morning.

    Sociological Imagination, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2000, pp. 209-229.

    The new "check all that apply" race question on the 2000 census appears to provide a straightforward mechanism for enumerating the multiracial population of the US. However, the resulting count is unlikely to furnish a complete or representative estimate of this group. Using 1990 & more recent Census Bureau data, this paper explores how different definitions of multiraciality & attitudes toward acknowledging mixed-race origins will affect the 2000 enumeration of the multiracial population. 2 Tables, 48 References. Adapted from the source document.

  39. The Discourse of Race in Popular Media Outlets: Contextualizing 'Multi-Racialism'

    Regina Deil.


    Race is a cultural & political construction, & a status marked by arbitrary & historically defined biological attributes & perpetuated by a socially constructed acceptance of these biological traits. Throughout its history, the US has produced & nurtured the development of race as a politically, culturally, socially, economically, & ideologically meaningful category. Explored here is the concept of race as it is presented & communicated in mainstream mass media, using recent academic research & theorizing about race to inform an analysis of the content of written media representations of race & diversity in a few widely read US news magazines. Focus is on the content of dominant messages about race consumed by the general public & how these messages might be understood sociologically, given the larger political, social, & economic contexts. It is contended that the recent attempts to include a multiracial category on the census is framed by & embedded in a paradigm that reduces race to an issue of ethnic identity & neglects the dynamics of how race is inextricably linked to relations of power.

  40. The Forgotten People: Multiracial Individuals

    Elizabeth Connolly and Jeffrey R. Breese.

    Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology, Vol. 27, No. 2, Nov 1999, pp. 45-58.

    This paper offers an extensive review of the literature pertaining to the identity formation & experiences of multiracial people in the US. Much of the attention they receive in the literature tends to be directed toward discussions of either the US Census or identity issues. Discussed are problems that arise when the government attempts to classify multiracial people into monoracial categories, an acknowledgment of the challenges that individuals of mixed race face while forming & developing their multidimensional identities, & an overview of conceptualizations of race. 52 References. Adapted from the source document.

  41. "Multiple Ethnic Identity Choices"

    BEYOND PLURALISM; Beyond Pluralism

    Mary C. Waters.

    Urbana, IL: U of Illinois Press, 28-46

    1998Explores implications of people with mixed-race ancestry for US cultural pluralism in the context of the increasing proportion of the US population claiming multiple ethnic or racial identities. Drawing on US census data, it is shown that parents of mixed-race individuals exercise a degree of personal choice in identifying their offspring in terms of particular ethnic & racial categories. These individuals present certain problems for current legal procedures intended to protect subordinate groups, because these procedures involve counting & classifying minority groups. Thus, the legal system faces the irony of a set of laws that allowed racial & ethnic intermarriage, but also protects subordinate groups through counting procedures. It is suggested that revision of the current system should recognize the permeability of boundaries between ethnic & racial categories & not lose sight of the fact that protection of subordinate ethnic & racial groups remains necessary. 4 Tables. D. Ryfe

  42. Preserving Multiple Ancestry: Intermarriage and Mixed Births in Hawaii

    Teresa Labov and Jerry A. Jacobs.

    Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3, autumn 1998, pp. 481-502.

    Most studies of intermarriage & mixed births rely on census & vital statistical data that classify individuals in a set of mutually exclusive categories. This practice of assigning each individual to a single ethnic group erases history twice for persons of multiple ancestry; ie, it suppresses the mixed parentage of the children & the fact that many parents were themselves of mixed parentage. Offered here is a simple method for incorporating estimates of the effect of mixed ancestry in analyses of mixed births & marriages. Estimates of the actual rate of mixed births & mixed marriages in HI are derived from annual data published by the state department of health, taking into account mixed racial & ethnic ancestry. Results show that the rate of social & biological mixing in HI has increased even faster than official data indicate. It is hypothesized that the presence of a sizeable group of individuals with mixed ancestry creates a momentum toward further mixing of the population; results are consistent with this hypothesis. 4 Tables, 3 Figures, 64 References. Adapted from the source document.

  43. The Interests and Rights of the Interracial Family in a "Multiracial" Racial Classification

    Tanya Kateri Hernandez.

    Brandeis Journal of Family Law, Vol. 36, No. 1, winter 1997, pp. 29-39.

    The contemporary movement for the inclusion of a "multiracial" classification on all US data collection forms is examined. It is contended that the parents of mixed-race children & African American-Anglo American couples have most strongly advocated the inclusion of a multiracial category. Anglo American parental interest in the multiracial classification seems based on the notion of "symmetrical identity demand," & such parents desire to pass on their ability to think in nonracial terms to their children. Nevertheless, parents' strong advocacy for the multiracial category problematizes their children's attempts at self-identification. Thus, parents have no legal right to mandate the multiracial category's inclusion because the Census Bureau has no constitutional obligation to incorporate such a classification. Noting that penalties for not answering questions on the US Census are rarely enforced, individuals are encouraged not to respond to race questions on the US Census. J. W. Parker

  44. "An "Other" Way of Life: The Empowerment of Alterity in the Interracial Individual"

    THE MULTIRACIAL EXPERIENCE; The Multiracial Experience

    Jan R. Weisman.

    Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 152-164

    1996Changing notions of alterity or the condition of being an Other are examined. While in the recent past, designation as a racial or ethnic Other in the US carried connotations of marginalization, negativity, or even psychopathology, the surge in mixed-race births is exerting increasing pressure on the practice of limiting legitimate racial or ethnic identification to one choice of group membership. This trend toward identification outside traditionally prescribed social categories does not portend the development of a model of non-race-based identity in the US, but does signal the increasing recognition that otherness is not a negative condition, & provides a basis for individuals claiming rights & privileges as members of a community of their own definition. D. Generoli

  45. "Being Different Together in the University Classroom: Multiracial Identity as Transgressive Education"

    THE MULTIRACIAL EXPERIENCE; The Multiracial Experience

    Teresa Kay Williams, Cynthia L. Nakashima, George Kitahara Kich and G. Reginald Daniel.

    Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 359-379

    1996Current cross-cultural & multicultural education's lack of a social & political framework, failure to recognize diversity within groups, & use of an overly reductionistic or anthropologically distanced perspective suggests that the historical separation of the races is normal, differences between cultures are insurmountable, & a bonafide monoracial group exists. The model of ethnic studies (ES) at the university level offers a much better alternative for multiracial education, three crucial ingredients of which are highlighted: (1) action orientation; (2) bottom-up perspective; & (3) multidisciplinary approach. Potential limitations of the ES model for multiracial education include (A) mirroring of the dominant assimilationist race difference paradigms, & (B) division of ES programs along traditional lines that have limited compatibility with understanding the social realities of groups that defy single racial or ethnic identification. Theoretical & methodological issues pertinent to teaching are discussed. D. Generoli

  46. "On Being and Not-Being Black and Jewish"

    THE MULTIRACIAL EXPERIENCE; The Multiracial Experience

    Naomi Zack.

    Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 140-151


    The black & Jewish multiracial identity is examined in light of the notion that a racial or ethnic identity confers membership in that population & conveys a presumption of solidarity among group members that insulates them from oppression & hatred. Because relations between blacks & Jews in the US are antagonistic, being black & Jewish weakens the desirability of affiliation with either group. Individuals who are black & Jewish can accept their racial identity as a social fact, but face the dilemma of not fully accepting their multiracial identity because of its conflicting elements & loyalties. The best ethical choice for such individuals is not being both identities. Making such a choice results in the creation of distance from one's own racial & ethnic identity & opens a space to question the ethical implications of any racial or ethnic identity. D. Generoli

  47. "Race as Process: Reassessing the "What Are You?" Encounters of Biracial Individuals"

    THE MULTIRACIAL EXPERIENCE; The Multiracial Experience

    Teresa Kay Williams.

    Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 191-210

    1996The identity formation of racially mixed nonwhite & white individuals of African-European & Asian-European ancestries was examined via ethnographic interviews with samples of 10 of each ancestry in CA. Two major identity formation themes are emphasized: (1) structural issues of the conceptualization, elaboration, & maintenance of newly formed & transformed social identities; & (2) the social psychological issues that biracial individuals encounter in the construction of social identity through their daily interactions. The sociological significance of "What are you?" encounters, the oppositionalization of race & the racialization of the biracial experience, & the intersection between micro- & macrosocial relationships are highlighted. D. Generoli

  48. American Triracial Isolates

    Calvin L. Beale.

    Eugenics quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 4, Dec 1957, pp. 187-196.

    The concern is with pop groups of presumed triracial descent, intermingled Indian, white, & Negro ancestry. This group includes not less than 77,000 persons. The nature, location, & status of Indian-white-Negro groups in eastern states are described & the potential interest they hold for the field of human genetics. A majority of the triracial isolates originated in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The majority of the groups in the TransAppalachian states are related to others remaining in the south Atlantic states. The residence of the mixed-blood people has been typically Ru geographically isolated. They tend to fall into a lower SES & tend to have a high incidence of socially disapproved practices. The racial status of the triracial people varies greatly as conceived by themselves & others. The feature of their being a highly inbred class warrants the interest of S's of heredity. Because of the close marriage practices, genetically determined diseases & defects of unusual f have been reported. Selected isolated triracial groups are described. Fertility rates in the triracial isolates appear to be exceptionally high. Other demographic characteristics are presented including pop of isolates by states & race designation in census schedules. A. Wendling.