I saw this coming years ago, even when I was a child it seemed obvious. Once it may have seemed easy or obvious to answer the question "what is your race?". Inter-racial marriage, or at least inter-racial sex, has existed almost since the beginning of time. Even in Biblical times governments took a census, but I'm not sure if they questioned race in those records. Move forward in time to 2012 and people seem confused and even unable to determine whether they are 'White', 'Hispanic', 'Black', or 'other'. Oh, no, not enough choices there.
When the 2010 census asked people to classify themselves by race, more than 21.7 million — at least 1 in 14 — went beyond the standard labels and wrote in such terms as "Arab," "Haitian," "Mexican" and "multiracial."
The unpublished data, the broadest tally to date of such write-in responses, are a sign of a diversifying America that's wrestling with changing notions of race.
The figures show most of the write-in respondents are multiracial Americans or Hispanics, many of whom don't believe they fit within the four government-defined categories of race: white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska Native. Because Hispanic is defined as an ethnicity and not a race, some 18 million Latinos used the "some other race" category to establish a Hispanic racial identity. (AP)
When I was a little girl I noticed Black and White couples and their children, beautiful children with light chocolate skin. As a child I wondered who they related to more, their Black parent or their White parent. I wondered if they were uncomfortable at school or in their neighborhoods because they were different. So goes the mind of another child.
Today in America it is much more complicated than Black and White, people are so racially mixed they don't seem to know what they are.
More than three million write-ins came from white and black Americans who appear to have found the standard race categories insufficient. They include Arabs, Iranians and Middle Easterners, who don't fully view themselves as "white" and have lobbied in the past to be a separate race category. They are also Italians, Germans, Haitians and Jamaicans who consider ancestry a core part of who they are.
Roughly half a million black Americans — between 1 and 2 percent of their total population — wrote in answers to signify their preferred term for black. Among them: African-American, Afro-American, African, Negro, mulatto, brown and coffee. More than 36,000 described themselves as "Negro" in whole or in part. The term, which was listed as an example on the 2010 census form, drew criticism from some black groups for being outdated and insensitive.
Coffee is a race? Is it possible for the Census forms to have enough 'boxes' to check to satisfy every person in the United States? Is it possible that the term melting pot is taking on an entirely new meaning? Is it also possible that at some point in the future children will see basically no difference in other children when it comes to skin pigment? Will there be such a mixing of races that we actually have no racial identity any longer? If so, if this is where we are heading, what would the result be?
I don't believe that is our future because people want an identity. The response to the Census backs me up on this - people want to belong to a group. Take a look at some the options those participating in the poll want:
_About 2.8 million people wrote in responses falling in the white category. The answers, used to describe themselves in whole or in part, included Italian (307,000); Iranian (289,000); Arab (241,000); Armenian (185,000); German (140,000); Irish (126,000); Caucasian (123,000); Middle East (114,000); and Polish (113,000).
_Roughly 1 million respondents were in the black category. They wrote the following terms to describe themselves in whole or in part: black (366,000); Haitian (222,000); African-American (137,000); Jamaican (104,000); West Indies (83,000); African (73,000); Ethiopian (46,000); Negro (36,000); Trinidad and Tobago (34,000); Nigerian (15,000); and Afro-American (7,000).
_Some 18 million were from Latinos who indicated a Hispanic origin both as an ethnicity and race; they checked "some other race" rather than a standard category of white or black. Their answers included Mexican (8.7 million); Hispanic (5.1 million); Latin American (2 million); Puerto Rican (865,000); Spanish (531,000); Salvadoran (332,000); and Dominican/Dominican Republic (295,000).
_Among multiracial Americans, commonly used terms were mixed (156,000); biracial (77,000); brown (62,000); multiracial (38,000); mulatto (34,000); Eurasian (11,000); Amerasian (9,000); multiethnic (4,700); and interracial (2,700).
Line up for opinions, studies, research, focus groups .... make way for the historians, psychologists, sociologists, race-ologists(?)...
One would think that after all these years, race would not be such an explosive topic in the United States of America, but unfortunately with a half-White, half-Black president race is in the news every day. We even have media who claim the way a question is asked (of Juan Williams) can be racist.
The question of what's in a name, what's in a label, doesn't seem to scratch the surface any longer. You can be sure this latest Census will confuse people even more.
I can only imagine how confused the children will be.