President Obama: Black and more so

President Obama: Black and more so

Los Angeles Times

Gregory Rodriguez

By checking ‘black’ as his race on the census form, President Obama is at odds with clear demographic trends toward multiracial pride. The number of Americans identifying as both white and black jumped 134% in 10 years.

It could have been a historic teaching moment. Instead, President Obama, the most famous mixed-race person in the world, checked off only one race—black—last year on his census form. And in so doing, he missed an opportunity to articulate a more nuanced racial vision for the increasingly diverse country he heads.

The president also bucked a trend. Last month, the Census Bureau announced that the number of Americans who identified themselves as being of more than one race in 2010 grew about 32% over the last decade. The number of people who identified as both white and black jumped an astounding 134%. And nearly 50% more children were identified as multiracial on this census, making that category the fastest-growing youth demographic in the country.

To be sure, the number of people—9 million, or 2.9% of the population—who identified themselves as of more than one race on their census form is still small. But the trend is clear…

…“Obama made the politically correct choice,” San Francisco State University political scientist Robert C. Smith told me last week. “If he had come to Chicago calling himself multiracial, he would have had no political career. And I think if he called himself multiracial now, black people would see it as a betrayal.”…

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