Top Five Multiracial Issues: The Multiracial Advocacy Blog
Last week I had a long, involved conference call with the Branch Chiefs for Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry for the U.S. Census Bureau. Below are the top five issues we spoke about regarding the multiracial population:
5. The charter for separate racial and ethnic groups has ended. There will be a new National Advisory Committee made up of academics and scientists, not advocates.
4. They claim to have held 800 focus groups for the 2020 Census, although they could not identify how many of those groups included multiracial people.
3. They will consider all wording and agree that “in combination people” does not work. They did not comprehend how asking multiracial people what race they most identify with most is insulting.
2. They actually like our recommended model of a question with the following wording in the instructions: If you are multiracial, you may select two or more races.
1. The top “revelation” is that the 2020 Census will most likely do away with Hispanic as an ethnicity and put in the race category. This is called a “combined format.” Suddenly racial! Actually the question will most likely be “What is your race or origin?” We do not know how this will affect data for the “two or more races” category, but they said that in their sampling, the multiracial population increased. They gave no further information on their sample groups for the future.
One of the biggest surprises is that the U.S. Census Bureau wants to use more write-ins, even though people write-in “alien,” and “Texan,” for example. They claim allowing write-ins will clarify identities. I asked them if that is true, why don’t they put “Some other race or origin” in the two or more group when people write in multiracial, biracial, mixed, or two or more races? We lose numbers, and most of the time they don’t clarify anything. It just doesn’t work that way. Oops.
These are not cast in stone and we will continue to monitor the samplings and recommendations of the Census Bureau. The bureau will not help with other agency groups in Washington, but Project RACE will continue to pursue talks with the other agencies. –Susan Graham for Project RACE. More to come on this very soon.