but her continual reliance on white privileged forms of advocacy and expression were her political undoing.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2012-09-21 02:44Z by Steven

In the end, although Project RACE’s political advocacy facilitated other multiracial groups’ participation in the OMB discussions for the 2000 census, [Susan] Graham was eventually shut out of the process. Her position as a white woman campaigning for multiracial interests proved to be unappealing to too many, and her uncompromising stance distanced her from more flexible multiracial groups. The political alliances she made and her unwillingness to sympathize with monoracial civil rights groups’ concerns lost her the support both of monoracial people of color and multiracial activists. Graham’s passion and loyalty to the original racial designation voted upon by her constituents served her well in the public sphere, but her continual reliance on white privileged forms of advocacy and expression were her political undoing. Although Project RACE remains one of the more active inter- or multiracial organizations in the U.S. (many dissipated after the 2000 census victory), it also still remains connected to a white privileged perspective and racially unreflexive forms of advocacy.

Alicia Doo Castagno, “‘Founding Mothers’: White Mothers of Biracial Children in the Multiracial Movement (1979-2000),” (Undergraduate Honors Thesis, Wesleyan University, 2012), 98.

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The demand for multiracial identity for the children of interracial marriage, however, may be explained in terms of a desire for status as long as we live in a society in which there is still a clear racial hierarchy…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2012-09-18 03:14Z by Steven

The demand for multiracial identity for the children of interracial marriage, however, may be explained in terms of a desire for status as long as we live in a society in which there is still a clear racial hierarchy. The demand that multiracial children be recognized as partly white did not come from blacks.  Nor is it surprising that Susan Graham, a major advocate for the multiracial category on the United States Census found an ally in Newt Gingrich, who opined that such a category might “‘be an important step toward transcending racial division.’” The enthusiasm for such alternative classifications leads skeptics to believe that this system of reclassification and the rhetoric of transcendence will make it easy to ignore the reality and the structure of racism.

Deborah W. Post, “Cultural Inversion and the One-Drop Rule: An Essay on Biology, Racial Classification, and the Rhetoric of Racial Transcendence,” Albany Law Review, Volume 72, Issue 4 (2009):925-926.

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Susan Graham Discusses Project RACE

Posted in Audio, Census/Demographics, Interviews, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-08-15 23:22Z by Steven

Susan Graham Discusses Project RACE

Mixed Race Radio
2012-08-15, 17:00Z (12:00 EDT, 09:00 PDT)

Tiffany Rae Reid, Host

Susan Graham, Executive Director
Project RACE

Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) members are the national advocates for multiracial children, teens, adults, and our families. Project RACE was started in 1990, so we are in our 22nd year! Susan Graham, the mother of two multiracial children and Chris Ashe, the mother of a multiracial child began Project RACE because of their own frustration with their own children being forced to pick only one race on forms in America. That meant, very simply, that a child had to choose to be her mother’s race or her father’s race. Susan and Chris planned to start a grassroots movement to pass State legislation, mandate the US Census Bureau and federal agencies to add the term “multiracial” to forms, or in some way accommodate the needs of multiracial people.

Play in your default player here.

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Will new age of mixed-race identities loosen the hold of race or tie it up in tighter knots?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-08-01 23:08Z by Steven

Will new age of mixed-race identities loosen the hold of race or tie it up in tighter knots?

Newhouse News Service

Jonathan Tilove

Ward Connerly, who describes himself as a roughly equal mix of French Canadian, Choctaw, African and Irish ancestry and who is married to a white woman, spent much of the last decade campaigning to end race-based affirmative action. Susan Graham, a white woman married to a black man, has spent that same decade working tirelessly as the founder of Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) so that her two children and others like them could be counted in official statistics as “multiracial.”

For the first time in American history, respondents to the decennial census are able to identify themselves by as many races as they see fit. The tabulated results will yield 63 different categories and combinations—or 126 considering that each of those 63 could also be either Hispanic or non-Hispanic. And that does not take into account the limitless possibilities for writing in some race of one’s own devising.

But when the 2000 census is completed, all the folks at both the Connerly and Graham households will be assigned the race of their nearest neighbors. Why? Because both Connerly and Graham, for their own very different reasons, refused to check any of the boxes on the race question.

As America embarks on a new, more complicated era of racial counting, a look at how some of those close to the issue chose to answer the census race question presents a puzzle: Is this dawning age of mixed-race identities likely to loosen the hold of race on the American mind, or merely tie it up in tighter knots?

“It is progress,” said G. Reginald Daniel, a sociologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “Whether people understand it or not, we’re undoing 300 years of racial formation. We have yet to see the after-effect, but it will be radical.”

Daniel, who grew up black in Kentucky, said he has been thinking about his racial identity since Dec. 2, 1955, when his first-grade teacher reported that Rosa Parks had been arrested for refusing to let a white passenger have her seat on the bus. “It’s time we colored people stood up for our rights,” the teacher told her students.

Daniel was puzzled. He raised his hand and asked the teacher who “colored” people were. “Everyone in this school,” the teacher, startled, replied. But, Daniel persisted, what color are they? “We’re brown! We’re Negroes!” the teacher replied…

But Daniel’s skin was tan, a blend of white and brown, and when he asked his mother about it she explained that while they were a mix of African, Irish, English, French, American Indian, Asian Indian and maybe even German-Jewish, they were still members of the “Negro race.”

Over time, Daniel came to identify himself as multiracial. He became a leading intellectual adviser, at one point to Project RACE and on a continuing basis to the Association for MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA)—the largest of the organizations that pressed for a multiracial category on the census. The federal Office of Management and Budget rejected that possibility but in 1997, after four years of deliberation, announced that on the 2000 census respondents would be able to check as many races as apply…

…But to Susan Graham, the form felt like one step forward and two steps back. Graham had wanted a separate multiracial category so that children like hers would not have to choose between their parents’ racial identities, or end up some unclassifiable “other.”…

…“I’m not about to have my children check more than one box only to be relegated back to the black category,” said Graham, who now lives in Tallahassee, Fla. She left the race question blank.

But the census cannot permit blanks, so, by a statistical method known as “hot deck imputation,” Graham’s family will be assigned races that blend best with their closest neighbors—the assumption being that most people live in neighborhoods that match them racially. And, in Graham’s case that is true, with immediate neighbors black, white and interracial.

Rainier Spencer, a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, has studied the multiracial movement in his book, “Spurious Issues: Race and Multiracial Identity Politics in the United States.” He faults Graham’s logic.

In Spencer’s view, Graham and others in the multiracial movement deploy their distaste with the one-drop rule selectively. If they truly want its repeal, they must recognize that virtually all African-Americans are multiracial.

To him, the whole notion of a multiracial identity depends on an assumption that racial identity is real. And as Spencer told some 100 students at the Pan-Collegiate Conference on the Mixed-Race Experience, held recently at Harvard University and Wellesley College, “All racial identity is bogus, no matter whether the prefix is mono, multi or bi.”

The “insurgent idea” of multiraciality can undermine the racial order by “demonstrating the absurdity of fixed and exclusive racial categories,” he writes in his book. But the moment multiracial becomes an official category—a box to be checked—it no longer undermines the existing racial paradigm, but expands it.

Moreover, Spencer said, while race may not truly exist, racism does, and OMB acted quite appropriately in ordering the racial data collapsed back into traditional categories for civil rights purposes…

Read the entire article here.

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As Racist as We Wish to Be: Project RACE, “The Talk”, Obama and the Fear of Blackness

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Social Science, United States on 2012-04-27 00:48Z by Steven

As Racist as We Wish to Be: Project RACE, “The Talk”, Obama and the Fear of Blackness


Steven F. Riley

Late last year, I opined about the inability of some activists in the multiracial identity movement to combat racism.  It is difficult to combat racism if you are not anti-racist and quite impossible if you—or at least your rhetoric—is actually racist. Such is the case in a March 29, 2012 blog post by Susan Graham at Project RACE titled “Walking While Black,” (also here) that epitomizes racist anti-black ideology.

Graham, a white woman who purports to represent the interests of multiracial Americans, has written the most inane commentary on multiracialism you will find anywhere.  Her  pseudo-scientific commentary reads as if it were written in the early part of the previous century, deploying ideologies long since abandoned by anthropologists and biologists alike. For instance, in “The Obama Racial Identity Factor and Saving Multiracial Lives” (June 7, 2008) she opens with, “Barack Obama can call himself black, white, magenta, green, or whatever he wants, it really does not matter socially. However, genes are genes and his genes are multiracial.” Seven months later, when millions of Americans have moved from doubting that a black man can become president and actually electing one, Graham continues with her mindless foray into genetics in “January 2009 – Is this President Obama’s Post-Racial America?” (January 20, 2009) where she says, “We have our first multiracial president, Barack Obama, and even if he does self-identify as black, he cannot deny DNA.”

Three years later and not a day wiser, in a still pre-post-racial America, Graham uses the tragic and racially motivated shooting death of Trayvon Martin as an entree into her racist “Walking While Black” about the travails of the lives of African American males.  She partially describes the concept of “Driving While Black” and the so-called “Black Male Code” of conduct when one is confronted by the police.  She neglects to mention that “Driving While Black” also involves being targeted to be pulled over in the first place. Graham goes on to describe her then-husband’s habit of always carrying identification no matter where he went just in case he was confronted by police. Finally, she describes how when her son reached driving age, she and her then-husband had “the talk” with him about what to do when confronted by police.  Graham says, “she gets it.”  She does not.

Despite the death of Trayvon Martin, the indignities and civil rights violations of “Driving While Black,” and the “Black Male Code,” Graham is neither, angry, concerned or even bothered about the daily aggressions directed at black men in American as they try to live as decent citizens.  She is unwilling to speak out against even the most explicit forms of racism that still exist in America.  So what does bother her? What “bothers” her is the fact that President Obama, chooses to proudly identify as “black.”

While many view the multiracial identity movement in America as a way to transcend race and to remove the proverbial millstone of racialized identities off of all our necks, scholars like Jared Ball, Minkah Makalani, Lewis R. Gordon, Ralina L. Joseph, Jared Sexton, Rainier Spencer and others, see a movement with a primary goal of transcending blackness. As blogger Summer McDonald eloquently states in her essay “Canon Fodder: ‘The Girl Who Fell From the Sky’ and the Problem of Mixed-Race Identity” (August 18, 2011),

Accepting and embracing a mixed-race identity hardly reveals racial progress. As it is currently constructed, mixed-race identity does not dismantle racial hierarchies. Rather, it reiterates white supremacy by attempting to etch a space for itself somewhere under whiteness–which it knows it can never access–and definitely above blackness.

Susan Graham and Project RACE, without a doubt, prove these writers correct. When her son asks “what does ‘driving while black’ mean to me?” She explains, “self-identification is one thing, but how he appears to someone can be completely different and yes, someone could assume he was black, so he had to act accordingly. Be on the safe side, son.” Again, what bothers Graham is not that black men are “perceived as a threat,” but rather, that her son will be perceived as a black man. Thus in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin tragedy when multitudes of commentators of all racialized identities proclaim  “We are Trayvon,” Graham and Project RACE, proclaim “We are not black.”

While Graham does seem to accept the fact that one’s self-identification can be different from how one appears to someone else, she refuses to grasp how one’s appearance to others can and does influence one’s self-identification. Scholar Nikki Khanna’s excellent article, “‘If You’re Half Black, You’re Just Black’: Reflected Appraisals and the Persistence of the One-Drop Rule” describes the role of self-reflected appraisals—how we think we are seen by others—on the identity of those of mixed-ancestry and shows how these identity choices, like one made by President Obama, are honest, common—and despite Ms. Graham’s continual protestations—valid. Phil Wilkes Fixico said it best when he stated on Mixed Chicks Chat (September 14, 2011), “Racially, I’m an African-Native American. Culturally, I’m an aspiring Seminole Maroon descendant. But to the people of America who see me on the street, I’m just another flavor of Black.”

As countless commentators continue to appropriately condemn the prevalence of white supremacy that demonizes people of color (like Trayvon Martin) and white privilege that provides license to the demonizers, Graham says nothing whatsoever about these evils, but rather chooses to take offense exclusively President Obama when he suggested that if he had a son, “he would look like Trayvon.” Though she is correct in stating that the President “doesn’t know that his son would look like Trayvon or anybody else,” it is clear that her anger at Obama is magnified, not just by his identifying as a black American, but now, identifying with black Americans. Furthermore, the resemblance of Obama’s imaginary son to Trayvon Martin is irrelevant because more importantly, it is Obama himself who would “look like Trayvon” if he were seventeen. As Leila McDowell put it so aptly in Associated Press columnist Jesse Washington’s “Black or biracial? Census forces a choice for some,” “Put a hoodie on him and have him walk down an alley, and see how biracial he is then.”

Susan Graham fails to see that the things we ultimately pass down to our children are more important than genes; they are our values and attitudes, hopes and fears, our love and our hate. In short, these are the things that define us. Hopefully, one of those things won’t be race. Until then, Graham may discover that in passing down the “Black Male Code” to her son, he may one day choose to identify, like President Obama and Phil Fixico, as “just a another flavor of Black.” In the meanwhile, perhaps it’s time someone had “the talk” with Ms. Graham and suggest she move on to a new project.

©2012, Steven F. Riley

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“Multiracial” Genes?

Posted in Barack Obama, Excerpts/Quotes on 2012-01-13 06:37Z by Steven

Barack Obama can call himself black, white magenta, green, or whatever he wants, it really does not matter socially. However, genes are genes and his genes are multiracial. Barack Obama has a white mother and a black father, and to categorize him as only one race medically is just wrong, inaccurate, and likely to cost multiracial people their lives.

Susan Graham, “The Obama Racial Identity Factor and Saving Multiracial Lives,” Project Race: From the Director, June 2008.

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Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism [Review: Spickard]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-05-10 03:04Z by Steven

Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism [Review: Spickard]

American Studies
Volume 50, No. 1/2: Spring/Summer 2009
pages 125-127

Paul Spickard, Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism. Jared Sexton. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2008.

One of the major developments in ethnic studies over the past two decades has been the idea (and sometimes the advocacy) of multiraciality. From a theoretical perspective, this has stemmed from a post-structuralist attempt to deconstruct the categories created by the European Enlightenment and its colonial enterprise around the world. From a personal perspective, it has been driven by the life experiences in the last half-century of a growing number of people who have and acknowledge mixed parentage. The leading figures in this scholarly movement are probably Maria Root and G. Reginald Daniel, but the writers are many and include figures as eminent as Gary Nash and Randall Kennedy.

A small but dedicated group of writers has resisted this trend: chiefly Rainier Spencer, Jon Michael Spencer, and Lewis Gordon. They have raised no controversy, perhaps because their books are not well written, and perhaps because their arguments do not make a great deal of sense. It is not that there is nothing wrong with the literature and the people movement surrounding multiraciality. Some writers and social activists do tend to wax rhapsodic about the glories of intermarriage and multiracial identity as social panacea. A couple of not-very-thoughtful activists (Charles Byrd and Susan Graham) have been co-opted by the Gingrichian right (to be fair, one must point out that most multiracialists are on the left). And, most importantly, there is a tension between some Black intellectuals and the multiracial idea over the lingering fear that, for some people, adopting a multiracial identity is a dodge to avoid being Black. If so, that might tend to sap the strength of a monoracially-defined movement for Black community empowerment.

With Amalgamation Schemes, Jared Sexton is trying to stir up some controversy. He presents a facile, sophisticated, and theoretically informed intelligence, and he picks a fight from the start. His title suggests that the study of multiraciality is some kind of plot, or at the very least an illegitimate enterprise. His tone is angry and accusatory on every page. It is difficult to get to the grounds of his argument, because the cloud of invective is so thick, and because his writing is abstract, referential, and at key points vague…

Login to read the review here.

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Room For Debate: The ‘Two or More Races’ Dilemma

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2011-02-13 23:13Z by Steven

Room For Debate: The ‘Two or More Races’ Dilemma

The New York Times

In Room for Debate, The New York Times invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues.


An article in a Times series on the growing mixed-race population in the United States describes a debate over new Education Department rules for how schools from kindergarten through college count students by race and ethnicity. Students of mixed parentage who choose more than one race will be placed in a “two or more races” category.

But those identifying themselves as Hispanic will be reported only as Hispanic, regardless of their race. Some civil rights leaders and educators say that these new classifications will complicate efforts to track academic inequities and represent a step backward in addressing them.

Do the new federal requirements make sense? What are the possible pitfalls?


“Why Race Still Matters”
Anthony P. Carnevale, Research Professor and Director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
Georgetown University

“‘Check One’ Didn’t Work”
Susan Graham, Executive Director
Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally)

“Identity and Demography”
Lani Guinier, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

“The New Color Wheel”
Eric Liu
Author of The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker (1998)

“Racism and the Multiracial Label”
Rainier Spencer, Director and Professor of Afro-American Studies; Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Author of Reproducing Race: The Paradox of Generation Mix (2011)

“Take the Politics Out of Race”
Shelby Steele, Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow
Hoover Institution

“Race, Poverty and Educational Equity”
Gerald Torres, Professor of Law
University of Texas, Austin

…The change endangers the accurate monitoring of civil rights compliance in education. Despite the important gains of the civil rights movement, much discrimination still exists, albeit in less overt forms. Civil rights compliance monitoring—the use of racial statistics to uncover suspicious patterns in education, housing, employment, etc.—is our very best means of detecting covert and institutional discrimination. It is the reason for all those “check boxes” for racial identity that no one loves…

…People, including students, are not discriminated against on the basis of being mixed-race, but rather on the basis of being one part of that mixture The federal race categories, crude as they might be, allow us to track how people are treated based on how they are perceived by others. The dangerous result of the Education Department’s provision will be two-fold.

On one hand, the “two or more races” category will provide no useful data for compliance monitoring; while on the other, real racial discrimination against some students will go untracked by the compliance monitoring apparatus because students who check more than one box will not be placed in the categories that are in fact motivating their unjust treatment…

Rainier Spencer

…But a new generation has arrived, more mixed than any before, and these young Americans are quite uninterested in seeking permission to sit in one of four or five colored boxes. Today’s multiracial Americans are at greater liberty to choose how they’d like to be seen, and under less pressure to pass for white.This is progress. At the same time, the blurring of race labels is neither the dawn of colorblindness nor the dusk of racism. Go to a place like Rio (or, for that matter, New Orleans), where people of many races mix, where there are many fine distinctions of shade—and where lighter is still usually seen as better.If whiteness were of no particular advantage, then having a fuller color wheel of skin tones would be purely a matter of celebration. But whiteness – just a drop of it – does still carry privilege. You learn that very young in America…Eric Liu

…This conflation of race and ethnicity inevitably distorts the diagnosis of the unique educational problems of black Hispanics—or, worse yet, averages them into obsolescence. This is particularly harmful because false or partial diagnosis of any problem inevitably produces less effective policy responses…Anthony P. Carnevale

…All children are worthy of recognition of their entire heritage. If we teach our children to tell the truth and then stand in the way of them doing that on school forms, we are missing the point. If accurate data are what we want, true identity of our students is what we must collect and reflect.We are not asking for a piece of the pie, but we need to be reflected on those data pie charts. Tracking the multiracial population is no less important than tracking any other group…Susan Graham

…Categorizing and counting students by race still has relevance since blacks and Latinos continue to experience educational inequality as shown by achievement data and the resources available in the public schools they attend. Where poverty and race are linked these problems are compounded……The rise of multiracial identification stems from a resistance to obdurate historical racial categories and the reality that there are more children now with parents of different races. Do you erase part of who you are if you are forced to choose one race over another when you really feel like you are part of both? Do you diminish the political power of a historically oppressed group if you do not choose to make that group your primary identifier? And who gets to say who you are anyway?…Gerald Torres

Read the entire debate here.

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New Challenges in Measuring Race in the United States

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2011-01-12 20:42Z by Steven

New Challenges in Measuring Race in the United States

2010 National Conference on Health Statistics
Omni Shorem Hotel, Washington, D.C.
46 pages/slides

Reynolds Farley, Research Professor Emeritus
University of Michigan
Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research

The Multiracial Movement of the 1990s [page/slide 2]

  • After Census 1990, a small social movement developed calling for a fundamental change in the way the federal statistical system classified people by race. Susan Graham played an important role in this.
  • Rather than forcing persons to identify with one single race only, they insisted upon the addition of a “Multiple Races” category.
  • Some leading advocates of this change were white women married to African-American men who found that their children were almost always classified as black by those who collected statistical data or tabulated persons by race. See: Kim M. Williams, Mark One or More Civil Rights in Multiracial America

Who Identifies with Multiple Races? [page/slide 9]

  • Age differences are great. In 2008, 5% of those under 10 were identified with two or more races; fewer than 1% for those over age 64 did so.
  • Race differences are substantial. In 2008, 52% of the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population identified with a second race; 45% of American Indians did so. For whites, it was only 3%
  • Educational Attainment differences in identifying with multiple races were small.
  • Geographic Differences in Identifying with Two or More Races are Large. In 2008, 21% of the residents of Honolulu and 10% in Anchorage identified with 2 or more races. In Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, Portland, Maine and Sarasota, Florida; fewer than 1% identified with 2 or more races.

Measuring Race Will Be Increasingly Challenging [page/slide 26]

  • A substantial increase in interracial marriages implies that the multiple race population is growing rapidly
  • There is widespread consensus that race is a social construct. Perhaps, many people wish to construct their own racial identity.
  • Question order and question wording effects are very large

Read the entire presentation here.

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Color outside the lines

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-01-05 05:17Z by Steven

Color outside the lines

Columbia Missourian

Sara Fernández Cendon

The boundaries between traditional racial categories shift as more people identify themselves as multiracial. The term adds another dimension to the complex issue of race in America.

Some say Tiger Woods started it all.

After winning the Masters Tournament in 1997, the golf star described himself as “Cablinasian” — as in Caucasian, black, American Indian and Asian.

Colin Powell, a light-skinned black man, quickly dismissed Wood’s invention.

“In America, which I love from the depths of my heart and soul, when you look like me, you’re black,” Powell said.

Woods says “Cablinasian” honors his multiracial heritage. In 1997 he told Oprah Winfrey that being identified solely as an African-American bothered him. But others, who agree with Colin Powell, believe Woods will always be thought of as black and treated as such.

The Woods-Powell disagreement illustrates the deep rift between those who believe that race is a biological category and those who believe it is a political one. As more mixed-race couples join Woods’ camp by identifying their children as “multiracial,” or even “white,” civil rights groups worry about the loss of historical racial categories.

Critics of the multiracial label believe the American racial landscape is still dominated by the “one-drop” rule, which held that a person with just one black ancestor was still black. Their argument is that you don’t need much “color” to be a “person of color.” Discrimination affects people of color, they say, regardless of how light their skin might be or how they identify themselves racially…


David Brunsma

White people have made disparaging racial comments around him expecting to get a nod in return. But fair-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed David Brunsma has no tolerance for “whiteness” because “white” to him is synonymous with privilege. He says he gets questions like, “What are the best neighborhoods in town, if you know what I mean …” His response: “No, I really don’t know what you mean.”

Half-Puerto Rican and half-Caucasian, Brunsma does not think of himself as biracial, but he does consider “Hispanic” to be a racial category…


Susan Graham and Project RACE

You can’t blame Ryan Graham for not wanting to check “other” on questionnaires requesting racial information. “It makes me feel like a freak or a space alien,” he testified during a U.S. House hearing on multiracial identification back in 1997, when he was 12 years old.

Ryan’s mother, Susan Graham, is the executive director of Project RACE, an advocacy organization for multiracial individuals. She, too, testified before the House on behalf of a separate multiracial category in census forms.

In her testimony, Graham berated the “all that apply” compromise announced by the Office of Management and Budget just days before the hearing.

“My children and millions of children like them merely become ‘check all that apply’ kids or ‘check more than one box’ children or ‘more than one race’ persons. They will be known as ‘multiple check offs’ or ‘half and halfers,’” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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