What Is Your Race? For Millions Of Americans, A Shifting Answer

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-06-09 15:01Z by Steven

What Is Your Race? For Millions Of Americans, A Shifting Answer

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio
2014-06-09

Gene Demby, Lead Blogger

Race is a much more elastic concept than we tend to acknowledge. American history has seen lots of immigrant groups that were the targets of suspicion and even racial violence — Jews, the Irish, Germans — gradually subsumed into the big, amorphous category of whiteness. The trajectory of that shift has been a little different for each of those groups — and notably, was informed by the fact that they were not black — but that’s been the general template of immigrant assimilation. For much of our history, the process of becoming American has meant becoming white. (Word to Nell Irvin Painter.)

A lot of people wonder if the same might eventually happen to Latinos, who sit at the center of contemporary conversations and anxieties around immigration. The New York Times’ Nate Cohn beat that drum last month after coming across some preliminary research from the Census bureau. The researchers were given access to anonymous Census records from the same households for the most recent two surveys in 2000 and 2010.

Before we go further, it’s helpful to remember how racial identity was queried in the most recent Census. Respondents first declare whether they are Hispanic — which was not counted as a race on the 2010 form — and in the next question, they were asked to give a race. For people who did check Hispanic on the Census, they would also then check the box for white, black or Asian. Respondents could and did write in “some other race,” (More on the Census category for “Hispanic” in a later post.)…

…The researchers did find a whole lot of people shifting from Hispanic and “some other race” in 2000 to Hispanic and white in 2010. But as they pointed out to me, a “similar” number of respondents went in the opposite direction, — from Hispanic and white to Hispanic and “some other race.”

“We think it’s interesting that the moves are parallel and in opposite directions,” said Carolyn Liebler, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota who is working on the study. “Our idea of assimilation is that people would be moving in one direction in terms of identification. But it’s not really a story that allows for the idea that people would move in the other direction. So a lot of stories that sociologists have told about how these things have worked are really not suited to what our research is finding.”

Sonia Rastogi, a statistician with the Census Bureau, agreed. “The larger point that everyone is sort of missing is that we’re sort of seeing these inflows [into one racial category] and outflows of quite similar magnitude,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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Millions of Americans changed their racial or ethnic identity from one census to the next

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-05-23 12:39Z by Steven

 

Millions of Americans changed their racial or ethnic identity from one census to the next

Pew Research Center
2014-05-05

D’Vera Cohn, Senior Writer Social & Demographic Trends Project

Millions of Americans counted in the 2000 census changed their race or Hispanic-origin categories when they filled out their 2010 census forms, according to new research presented at the annual Population Association of America meeting last week. Hispanics, Americans of mixed race, American Indians and Pacific Islanders were among those most likely to check different boxes from one census to the next.

The researchers, who included university and government population scientists, analyzed census forms for 168 million Americans, and found that more than 10 million of them checked different race or Hispanic-origin boxes in the 2010 census than they had in the 2000 count. Smaller-scale studies have shown that people sometimes change the way they describe their race or Hispanic identity, but the new research is the first to use data from the census of all Americans to look at how these selections may vary on a wide scale.

“Do Americans change their race? Yes, millions do,” said study co-author Carolyn A. Liebler, a University of Minnesota sociologist who worked with Census Bureau researchers. “And this varies by group.”…

…Previous research on people’s racial self-identification has found that they may change categories for many reasons, said demographer Sharon Lee of the University of Victoria in Canada, at the population conference. The question mode—whether people are asked in person, on a paper form, on the phone or online—makes a difference. Some people may change their category after they find out they had an ancestor of a different race, she said. Or they may decide there are benefits (such as priority in college admissions) to including themselves in a certain group.

Some category-changers were children in 2000 whose race was filled in by their parents, but by 2010 were old enough to choose for themselves, which may account for some of the change. Children in some groups in 2000—for example, white and black—were especially likely to be recorded in a different category in 2010, Liebler said. (Although she did not mention President Barack Obama, he chose to check only “black” on his 2010 census form, even though his mother was white and father black.)…

Read the entire article here.

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More Americans consider themselves multiracial

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2013-06-13 22:52Z by Steven

More Americans consider themselves multiracial

The Los Angeles Times
2013-06-12

Emily Alpert

The number of mixed or multiracial people in the United States jumped 6.6% between 2010 and 2012, according to the Census Bureau. Their ranks will only continue to grow, experts say.

The number of Americans who consider themselves multiracial has grown faster than any other racial group nationwide, new Census Bureau data reveal, a sign of slow but momentous shifts in the way that Americans think about race.

Mixed or multiracial people are still just a small slice of the American public, but their numbers jumped 6.6% between 2010 and 2012 — four times as fast as the national population, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Experts say their ranks will only continue to swell.

…Mingling of races “has been with us forever in this country, and it has been erased and denied,” said G. Reginald Daniel, professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara. Today, “that has begun to unravel. That is what you’re seeing with these figures.”…

…For African Americans, in particular, the “one drop rule” that historically defined blackness is relaxing. Sixteen years ago, when golfer Tiger Woods dubbed himself “Cablinasian” — Caucasian, black, American Indian and Asian — critics said Woods was denying his black heritage, said New York University associate professor of sociology Ann Morning

…”For mixed Latinos there’s no answer,” said Thomas Lopez, director of Latinas and Latinos of Mixed Ancestry, a project of the nonprofit Multiracial Americans of Southern California. When the Census Bureau ran an experiment three years ago giving people a chance to claim Hispanic along with at least one other race, 6.8% did so…

…”Americans are becoming more nuanced in their understanding of race,” said Carolyn Liebler, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota. “But I don’t think race is becoming less important in our society.”

Read the entire article here.

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As the mixed-race population grows, the stigma of the past fades

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-05-02 04:19Z by Steven

As the mixed-race population grows, the stigma of the past fades

jcOnline.com (Journal and Courier)
Lafayette – West Lafayette, Indiana
2011-05-01

Taya Flores

Gerald and Susan Thomas experienced a hurtful racial climate in Greater Lafayette when they dated during the 1970s.

A drive-by verbal assault in Lafayette early in their marriage is one Gerald still remembers today.

He said the couple was driving in a convertible when some white men called out a racial insult. “Those type of things happen. Fortunately, now I think it’s more subtle,” he said. “It’s still there, but it’s much more subtle than it was in the past.”…

…There can also be discrimination from people who might not approve of a person’s interracial parentage, said Carolyn Liebler, a University of Minnesota sociology professor who studies ethnicity.

That is more common among older generations.

Initially, Robinson’s maternal grandparents did not approve of her parents’ interracial relationship.

“I know my grandparents (mom’s parents) didn’t approve of my mom and dad being together, but once my (older) sister was born they accepted the fact,” she said.

Some black-white biracials can penetrate the color line because they have white relatives. These relatives broaden the biracial’s social connections and improve their access to resources such as good schools or employment networks, Liebler said.

These biracials tend to be better off than their minority counterparts but worse off than whites, according to Liebler…

For example, the percentage of black-white biracials who reported fair to poor health (13.4 percent) was closer to whites than blacks who had relatively poorer health.

However, the percentage for white-Asians (7.8 percent) was closer to Asians. But Asians had relatively better health than whites, according to a sociology study published online in the February edition of the journal Demography.

The research was conducted by Rice University sociologists Jenifer Bratter and Bridget Gorman. They used a seven-year (2001-2007) sample from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national health survey, to examine differences in health as reported by participants.

Many social inequalities, such as poverty or health disparities, are passed down from generation to generation. Factors besides race, such as parents’ occupation and family wealth, childhood upbringing and education, also play a role in a person’s success, Liebler said. But racial stereotypes and discrimination have historically caused differences in these socioeconomic factors even among biracial people.

“This is not turning the world upside down. It’s just sort of adding a nuance,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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More Minnesotans say they’re multiracial in 2010 Census

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2011-04-18 04:36Z by Steven

More Minnesotans say they’re multiracial in 2010 Census

TwinCities.com: Pioneer Press
2011-04-17

Richard Chin and MaryJo Webster

Maybe it’s hip to be mixed.

That could be one explanation for Minnesota’s 51 percent increase over the past decade in the number of people who say they are multiracial, substantially higher than the national increase.

According to the recent U.S. census, about 125,000 people in Minnesota identified themselves as being of two or more races, up from about 83,000 in the previous census.

Almost all of that increase took place in the metro-area suburbs and outstate, where the number of multiracial people jumped more than 75 percent.

About 2.4 percent of Minnesota’s population is multiracial, about the same as the nation as a whole.

But multiracial people represent a larger part of the state’s minority population than of the U.S. population. Almost one of six nonwhite people in the state are multiracial, compared with about one in 10 nationwide.

University of Minnesota sociologist Carolyn Liebler, an expert in racial identity, said she thinks three things are driving the increase:

  • More children are from interracial marriages, with parents in those marriages increasingly likely to identify their offspring as multiracial.
  • Immigration has increased, with people born in another country who have a mixed background more likely to say they come from two or more races.
  • More people are deciding to label themselves multiracial because they face increasing acceptance and opportunity to make that choice.

Mixed-race people are nothing new. Most American blacks, for example, have some white ancestry.

But throughout much of American history, mixed-race people were forced legally and socially to identify with just one race…

Read the entire article here.

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Columns: Racial lines no longer just black and white

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2011-02-23 02:09Z by Steven

Columns: Racial lines no longer just black and white

The Minnesota Daily
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul
2011-02-21

Lolla Mohammed Nur

Clear-cut racial categories restrict how multiracial Americans identify themselves.

Based on her appearance, you wouldn’t easily be able to guess University of Minnesota sophomore Mary Taylor‘s racial or ethnic heritage. But if you ask the communications studies major what her ethnicity is, she’d tell you she is three-quarters white, 12.5 percent black and 12.5 percent Native American—a heritage she makes sure to represent when filling out surveys.

The current generation of college students encompasses the largest group of mixed-race people to come of age in the U.S., according to a recent New York Times series on multiracial identity.

Although young Americans increasingly identify themselves as multiracial, they often feel that their fluid identities are restricted when asked to self-identify on paper.

Under new requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education, which will take effect this year, multiracial non-Hispanic students who choose multiple races on surveys will be placed in a “two or more races” category. The justification for this is to offer students of mixed heritage more options to self-identify, and some say it demonstrates the U.S.’s greater appreciation of the fluidity of racial identity.

However, many sociologists fear it will lump all multiracial groups into one category, ignoring the different life experiences and the varying levels of discrimination that members of various multiracial subgroups face.

“It’s like the ‘other’ category or the ‘multiracial’ category because everyone get’s glommed together and you can’t even interpret it,” said sociology faculty member Carolyn Liebler. “It’s a battle whenever you’re trying to compile information about people’s race. On the one hand, institutions want to know who you are, they want you to self-identify … but on the other hand, the entities that want to create statistics would really prefer if you could give a simple answer.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Ties on the fringes of identity

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Science, United States on 2011-01-10 00:07Z by Steven

Ties on the fringes of identity

Social Science Research
Volume 33, Issue 4 (December 2004)
Pages 702-723
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2003.10.002

Carolyn A. Liebler, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Minnesota

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, and that structural aspects of the community (group size, inequality, and 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 and 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 and racial ties within the family.

Article Outline

1. Introduction
2. Identity and thickness of ties
3. Hypotheses
4. Data and sample selection
5. Dependent variables
6. Focal independent variables
7. Control variables
8. Drawbacks to using census data to study identity
9. Results
10. Discussion
11. Conclusion
Appendix A. Descriptive statistics for entire sample
References

Read or purchase the article here.

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Passing and Performance in the 21st Century: Black-White Biracial Americans and Passing as Black

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Papers/Presentations, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2010-09-26 00:10Z by Steven

Passing and Performance in the 21st Century: Black-White Biracial Americans and Passing as Black

American Sociological Association
Annual Meeting 2010
Regular Session: Multi-Racial Classification/Identity
Atlanta Marriott Marquis
Monday, 2010-08-16, 16:30-18:10 EDT (Local Time)
35 pages

Session Organizer: Rebecca C. King-O’Riain, Senior Lecturer of Sociology, National University of Ireland-Maynooth 
Presider: Carolyn A. Liebler, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota

Nikki Khanna Sherwin, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont

Drawing on interview data with black-white biracial adults, I examine the considerable agency most have in asserting their racial identities to others. Extending research on “identity work,” I explore the strategies they use to perform race, and the individual and structural-level factors that limit the accessibility and/or effectiveness of some strategies. I further find that how these biracial respondents identify is often contextual – most identify as biracial, but in some contexts, they “pass” as monoracial. Scholars argue that “passing” may be a relic of the past, yet I find that “passing” still occurs today and quite frequently. Most notably, I find a striking reverse pattern of “passing” today – while “passing” during the Jim Crow era involved “passing” as white, I find that these respondents more often report “passing” as black today. Motivations for “passing” are explored, with an emphasis on “passing” as black.

Read the entire paper here.

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When the Options Are Open: Racial Identification of Part-American Indian Children in Census 2000

Posted in Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2010-08-17 22:07Z by Steven

When the Options Are Open: Racial Identification of Part-American Indian Children in Census 2000 

Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association
Atlanta Hilton Hotel
Atlanta, Georgia
2003-08-16
23 pages

Carolyn A. Liebler, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Minnesota

I will use data on part-American Indian children in the 2000 Census 1 percent- PUMS data (expected March 2003) to assess my hypotheses that thick racial ties within the family constrain racial identification, and that structural aspects of the community (group size, inequality, and racial heterogeneity) affect racial identification when racial ties are thin within the family. I use the case of American Indians because their high levels of intermarriage and 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 similar analyses using 1990 data, signifying that racial identification among people with mixed-heritage is affected by the social world beyond individual psychology and racial ties within the family. However, additional analyses using Census 2000 data are necessary because people of mixed heritage could mark multiple races (or a single race) in 2000. This freedom of choice in racial identification opens the door for new insights into patterns in and reasons behind racial identification among mixed-race people.

Read the entire paper here.

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Understanding Identity Differences among Biracial Siblings

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2010-08-14 17:51Z by Steven

Understanding Identity Differences among Biracial Siblings

American Sociological Association
Annual Meeting 2010
Regular Session: Multi-Racial Classification/Identity
Atlanta Marriott Marquis
Monday, 2010-08-16, 16:30-18:10 EDT (Local Time)

Session Organizer: Rebecca C. King-O’Riain, Senior Lecturer of Sociology, National University of Ireland-Maynooth 
Presider: Carolyn A. Liebler, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota

Melissa R. Herman, Assistant Professor, Sociology
Dartmouth University

This paper examines identity differences among a sample of 256 biracial siblings. We find that gender, age, and ancestry have modest relationships with identity, but that phenotype, racial context, language use, and social psychological factors have stronger relationships.

For more information, click here.

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