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Mixed-Race in America

An intimate look into the growing population of mixed-race Americans.

Carolyn Donaldson

on 26 February 2011

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Transcript of Mixed-Race in America

Mixed-Race in America Essential Question:
How should mixed-race Americans define themselves in American's current framework of race? My childhood: Junior Exhibition: The Prevalence of Mixed-Race: (Tauber) (Tauber) (Tauber) (Tauber) The 2000 Census About 7 million, which was 2.4% of America's population, chose to mark this new option (Washington). 2010 Currently, about 5% of the total population of mixed-race Americans are under the age of four, which is the largest proportion of multiracial Americans (Strom). In 2009, nearly 9% of all American marriages were interracial marriages (Park). 14.6% of new marriages were interracial marriages (McCallum). This doubles the percentage from 30 years ago (Park). Definition of Race: (Tauber) (Tauber) Nationwide, 1 in 16 people under the age of 18 are now mixed-race. In 2008, 22% of new marriages in Western America were interracial marriages (McCallum). In 2008, 13% of new marriages in the South were interracial marriages. This compares to 11% of all new marriages in the Midwest (McCallum). Nationwide, 1 in every 16 Americans under the age of eighteen is mixed-race (Spencer). Portland Pacific Northwest 1 in 6 Americans under the age of eighteen are mixed-race (Spencer). Multiple Heritage Family Resource Center Sara Sheets By Carolyn Donaldson White
American Indian
Asian Indian
Native Hawaiian
Other Asian (please list)
Other Pacific Islander (please list)

("Population Census Bureau") Categories of Race on the 2010 US Census:
Check all that apply. http://multi-racial-family.tripod.com/contact.htm But are these connections generalizations? Race is a manmade social construction ("OPB"). The Oxford American Dictionary defines race as "the major devisions of humankind that are separated by distinct physical characteristics". (Park) Trends between skin color and shape of facial features were decided as the factors that determined race. Distinct categories of race began to form by using the stereotypes and common features. For instane, dark brown skin, large facial features and dark curly hair were characteristics associated with African Americans, even though many people who consider themselves black do not have all of these characteristics (Spencer). lyrics.wikia.com bballcity.com sudanforum.net news.bbc.co.uk Most traits are inherited independently. This means that the genes that determine hair type and color have no influence on skin color, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, athletic ability or forms of intelligence ("OPB"). Although this has been proven scientifically, race is still thought of as a true dividing force. The 2010 Census showed that the mixed-race population has grown by 33% in the past ten years ("Oregonian"). 110,000 Oregonians chose to identify with more than one race on the 2010 Census. This means that the mixed-race population is now larger than the populations of African Americans and Native Americans combined. The confinments of America's current definition of race have cause confusion for many mixed-race Americans today (Gaskins). Although the lines that separate each race from the next can sometimes blur, the social need to define one's race becomes a necessity in order to avoid the isolation that rejecting race can cause. Methods of Determining Racial Identity: Singular Identity Multiracial Identity Racism towards minorities often affected many mixed-race individuals because of their outward appearances (Washington). The one-drop rule was formed because of this. Steve Bumbaugh, a 43 year-old mixed-race foundation director in Los Angeles reasoned, "It's not as if I'd have been able to drink out of the white and colored water fountains during Jim Crow. And I most assuredly would have beenn a slave. As far as I'm concerned, that makes me black" (Washington). Many mixed-race Japanese Americans reasoned their choice for a singular racial identity based on the Japanese internment camps. Although this choice of racial definition is often successful and fulfilling, there have been questions whether it is healthy to oppress other sources of heritage (Thompson). Psychologists are now exploring the benefits of a multiracial identity because by including all races in ones racial identity, there is no sense of denial or exclusion of ones natural identity that was given to them (Rockquemore 120-121). By viewing racial identity on a spectrum, it leaves room to individually assess ones connection to all sources of heritage. A singular identity is often benifical because it makes it easier to fit in within America's current definition of race. Conflicts can also arise with this choice of racial identity because the idea of being mixed-race is a new concept for the country. But no matter if an individual chooses a singular or a multiracial racial identity, the confidence of this choice can be jepodized by how society reacts to their decision. Validations impacts the lasting ability for the result of a person's racial identity. Even though racial identity is easier to cope with when it is socially accepted, the most important person that needs to feel comfortable and confident with accepting it is ones self (Rockquemore 9-11). Discussion: How much of a responsibility is it for the community to be supportive of a person's chosen racial identity?
Wht could each individual do to create a more supportive environment for mixed-race people? Conclusion: The truth of the matter is that there isn't one way a mixed-race person should learn to define themselves. Although it would be ideal for every mixed-race individual to declare their racial identity by their own definition of race and on their own terms, America has not progressed to this point. Although it will take time for our country to progress to this point of sensitivity, drawing awareness will help build community support systems that crucial. Questions?
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