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What Do You Call Yourself if Your Mother is White and Your Father is Black?

March 11, 2017
Plain English Version

An American family

On the 2010 Census, President Barack Obama, identified himself as  “black.” But millions of Americans consider themselves “bi- or multi-racial.”  And their numbers are rising.

The number of mixed or multi-racial people in the U.S. rose by 6.6 percent between 2010 and 2012. This number is growing faster than any other racial group.

There are two reasons. More people are marrying across racial lines and more multi-racial children are being born. Also, more people are comfortable describing themselves as being of more than one race.

The mingling of the races is not new. However, denying a multiracial background was common in the past. Today, an expert said this denial has begun to unravel.

A young woman, when asked to check a box, said, “There is not a box for half-Egyptian, half-Chinese.” Sometimes she answers Middle Eastern, sometimes Chinese or African. “If you let me pick more than one, I will pick as many as I can.”

For black Americans, the “one of one drop of blood rule” meant that you were considered black. This rule is relaxing. An expert said, ”We are no longer looking at Tiger Woods, Barack Obama or Mariah Carey and saying, “Those are black people.”

The Census does not count Hispanic as a race. “For mixed Latinos there is no answer,” a professor said. However, they can choose a racial identity.

The number of multi-racial people stands at 7.5 million or 2.4 percent of the population. It does not accurately reflect the true number.

There are many more multi-racial people than are being counted in the Census.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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