Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Canada's Census

Here is information from Statistics Canada about how they manage ethnic origins. Canada has a census every five years. It's interesting to see how another country counts its citizens. -Susan

Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Ethnic Origin Reference Guide, 2006 Census

Definitions and explanations of variable concepts

Ethnic origin refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of the respondent's ancestors. An ancestor is someone from whom a person is descended and is usually more distant than a grandparent. In the census, respondents are asked to specify as many ethnic origins as applicable and up to six ethnic origins are retained.

Ethnic origin refers to a person's 'roots' and should not be confused with his or her citizenship, nationality, language or place of birth. For example, a person who has Canadian citizenship, speaks Panjabi (Punjabi) and was born in the United States may be of Guyanese ethnic origin. Nevertheless, ethnic origin responses in the census are a reflection of each respondent's perception of their ethnic ancestry, and, consequently, the measurement of ethnicity is affected by changes in the social environment in which the question is asked and changes in the respondent's understanding or views about the topic.

Awareness of family background or length of time since immigration can affect responses to the ethnic origin question as well. Ethnic origin data paint a picture of Canada's multicultural communities. Governments, community groups, ethnic and cultural organizations, school boards, hospitals, and researchers use ethnicity data to assess how people of differing backgrounds have integrated into life in Canada. The Department of Canadian Heritage uses information on ethnic origin to administer programs under the Multiculturalism Act.


The census has collected data on the ethnic origins of Canadians since 1901, reflecting a long-standing, continuing and widespread demand for information about ethnocultural characteristics of the Canadian population.

2006 Census data on ethnic origin were obtained from Question 17 on the 2006 Census Form 2B questionnaire, which was used to enumerate a 20% sample of all private households in Canada. For persons living in private households on Indian reserves, Indian settlements and in remote areas, data were collected using the 2006 Census Form 2D questionnaire.

The 2006 ethnic origin question asked: 'What were the ethnic or cultural origins of this person's ancestors?' A note provided above the question stated that 'The census has collected information on the ancestral origins of the population for over 100 years to capture the composition of Canada's diverse population.' Below the question, a second note indicated that 'An ancestor is usually more distant than a grandparent.'

The 2006 Census 2B ethnic origin question provided 26 examples: 'For example, Canadian, English, French, Chinese, Italian, German, Scottish, East Indian, Irish, Cree, Mi'kmaq (Micmac), Métis, Inuit (Eskimo), Ukrainian, Dutch, Filipino, Polish, Portuguese, Jewish, Greek, Jamaican, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Chilean, Salvadorean, Somali, etc.'  On the 2D Census questionnaire, the ethnic origin question was the same as that on the 2B form, although the 2D form provided only 11 examples, starting with Canadian Aboriginal groups. The examples on the 2D form, in order of appearance, were: 'Cree, Ojibway, Mi'kmaq (Micmac), Dene, Blackfoot, Inuit, Métis, Canadian, French, English, German, etc.'

It is not possible to list all the ethnic or cultural origins on the census questionnaires and examples are provided only as a guide as to how to answer the question. The list of examples is based on Statistics Canada's long established methodology. For the most part, the 2B examples are based on the most frequent single origins reported in the 2001 Census and are arranged in order of size as reported in 2001, beginning with the largest group. Examples are also included which represent Canada's Aboriginal peoples (e.g., Cree, Mi'kmaq [Micmac], Métis and Inuit). The last four examples (Lebanese, Chilean, Salvadorean and Somali) are included so that an example is provided for each world region, ensuring that recently arrived groups in Canada, who might not be the most numerous, are also represented in the list of examples.

Additional instructions on how to complete the 2006 ethnic origin question were provided to respondents in the 2006 Census 2B Guide:
  • This question refers to the ethnic or cultural origin or origins of a person's ancestors. An ancestor is someone from whom a person is descended and is usually more distant than a grandparent. Other than Aboriginal persons, most people can trace their origins to their ancestors who first came to this continent. Ancestry should not be confused with citizenship or nationality.
  • For all persons, report the specific ethnic or cultural origin(s) of their ancestors, not the language they spoke. For example, report 'Haitian' rather than 'French', or 'Austrian' rather than 'German.'
  • For persons of East Indian or South Asian origin, report a specific origin or origins. Do not report 'Indian.' For example, report 'East Indian from India,' 'East Indian from Guyana,' or indicate the specific group, such as 'Punjabi' or 'Tamil.'
  • For persons with Aboriginal ancestors, report a specific origin or origins. For example, report 'Cree,' 'Mi'kmaq,' 'Ojibway,' 'North American Indian,' 'Métis.' Do not report 'Indian.'
Information on the historical comparability of the 2006 Census ethnic origin questions with those asked in earlier censuses is provided in the section of this document entitled Historical comparability.


The 2006 Census includes data for more than 200 ethnic groups reported by people living in Canada. Data are published which show total, single and multiple response counts for each ethnic or cultural group.

Tables accessible from the Data section of this document show the specific ethnic origin classifications created in 2006 Census standard and specialized data products. A comparison of ethnic origins collected in the 2006, 2001 and 1996 censuses is also available in Appendix C Comparison of ethnic origins disseminated in 2006, 2001 and 1996, 2006 Census Dictionary.

Ethnicity is a difficult concept to measure and there is no internationally recognized classification for this concept. In general, data for a group is published if the count is about 500 or higher.

A single ethnic origin response occurs when a respondent provides one ethnic origin only. For example, in 2006, about 568,510 people stated that their only ethnic origin was Scottish.
A multiple response occurs when a respondent provides two or more ethnic origins. For example, about 4,151,340 people in 2006 gave a response which included Scottish and one or more other ethnic origins.

Total responses are the sum of single and multiple responses for each ethnic origin. Total response counts indicate the number of persons who reported a specified ethnic origin, either as their only origin or in addition to one or more other ethnic groups. For example, in 2006, about 4,719,850 persons reported at least some Scottish ancestry. The sum of specific groups is not equal to total population due to multiple counts.


Historical Comparability

Over time, there have been differences in the question wording, format, examples and instructions of the ethnic origin question used in the census. The historical comparability of ethnic origin data has thus been affected by these factors, as well as by changes in data processing and the social environment at the time of the census.

The 2006 Census ethnic origin question asked 'What were the ethnic or cultural origins of this person's ancestors?' In contrast, in 2001, 1996 and 1991, the question asked 'To which ethnic or cultural group(s) did this person's ancestors belong?' The preamble to the question was also modified slightly for 2006 and a definition of 'ancestor' was placed directly on the questionnaire. Previously, the definition of ancestor had been included only in the census guide. Finally, the list of examples was updated to reflect the frequency of single responses reported in the 2001 Census and 'Salvadorean' was included as an example from Central America.

The format of the 2006 Census ethnic origin question, an open-ended question with four write-in spaces, was the same as that used in the 2001 and 1996 censuses. However, in 2006, the four write-in spaces were structured so that they were each comprised of 11 segmented boxes, rather than each consisting of just one unsegmented line. Nevertheless, although only 11 segmented boxes were indicated on the questionnaire, up to 80 characters were allowed on the database for each of the four write-in spaces. Cases where 80 characters could be received included questionnaires that came from the internet or computer-assisted telephone interviews and questionnaires which required manual key entry because a respondent did not stay within the 11 segmented boxes. As such, while the new limitations on write-in spaces may have encouraged some respondents to write shorter, more abbreviated responses in 2006, or to have used more lines to indicate a multiple response than they used in 2001, it is unlikely that data comparability was significantly affected by the change in format between 2001 and 2006.
Instructions provided alongside the census ethnic origin question have been altered over time to suit the changing collection needs. Since 1986, an instruction to specify as many ethnic groups as applicable has been included in the ethnic origin question.

Prior to the 1981 Census, only the respondent's paternal ancestry was to be reported. If multiple ethnic origins were provided, only one origin was captured, resulting in one ethnic origin per respondent. In 1981, multiple origins were allowed and a write-in space was added to the question, although respondents were not instructed to provide more than one origin. In 1986, respondents were permitted to write in up to three origins other than those shown in the mark-in circles. In 1991, they were permitted to write in up to two additional origins. In 2001 and 1996, four write-in boxes were provided on the questionnaire, and up to six ethnic origins were captured.

Finally, as a result of changing immigration patterns and increasing diversity in Canada, modifications are made to the specific ethnic groups and categories for which data are released each census. In general, the dissemination list for ethnic and cultural origins grows slightly each year. For 2006, the following 18 ethnic origins were released for the first time, having been included under other categories for the 2001 Census and previous censuses:  Amhara, Bantu, Chadian, Cornish, Dinka, Gabonese, Gambian, Harari, Manx, Montserratan, Nova Scotian, Ontarian, Peulh, Samoan, Singaporean, Tigrian, Zambian, and Zulu. For the 2006 Census ethnic origin classification and a comparison of ethnic origins released in 2006, 2001, and 1996, please refer to Appendix C Comparison of ethnic origins disseminated in 2006, 2001 and 1996, 2006 Census Dictionary.

Data Quality

Information from the census undergoes data quality verification to ensure that published data are of the highest quality possible. For the ethnic origin variable, this assessment was based on a review of response rates, imputation rates, and a comparison of 2006 counts to those obtained in previous censuses. The overall quality of the ethnic origin variable for the 2006 Census is high.

The 2006 non-response rate was 5.5%, compared to 5.6% in 2001. Non-response rates were slightly higher than the national rate in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, the prairie provinces, and the Yukon Territory, while non-responses rates were lower in Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

Imputation refers to the process where data quality is improved by verifying the logical consistency of responses and replacing any inconsistent or missing responses with acceptable values. Two types of imputation were applied to the ethnic origin data, namely deterministic imputation and donor imputation. Deterministic imputation is the process by which a unique value is assigned to a missing or invalid response through either relationships among personal characteristics, or, in the case of children with no responses to the ethnic origin question, by using the ethnic origin(s) of their parent(s) to fill in the missing data. Donor imputation is performed by identifying individuals in the same geographical area that have similar, but complete and consistent characteristics and then copying the values of randomly selected individuals to fill in the missing or erroneous data among the 'failed edit' individuals.
In 2006, the total imputation rate from both deterministic imputation and donor imputation was 5.9%. Deterministic imputation was used in slightly less than half of these cases, while donor imputation was used in slightly more than half of them.

GOP and Racists

Lawrence Wilkerson, Former Colin Powell Aide, Blasts Sununu, GOP, As 'Full Of Racists'

Colin Powell's former chief of staff condemned the Republican Party on Friday night, telling MSNBC's Ed Schultz, "My party is full of racists."

Retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson made the comment in response to Mitt Romney campaign surrogate John Sununu's suggestion on Thursday that Powell's endorsement of President Barack Obama's re-election was motivated by race. Wilkerson, who served as Powell's chief of staff when the general was secretary of state during the first George W. Bush term, told Schultz that he respected Sununu "as a Republican, as a member of my party," but did not "have any respect for the integrity of the position that [Sununu] seemed to codify."

When asked by Schultz what, if anything, the remark said about the attitudes of the Republican Party, Wilkerson said:
My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people -- not all of them, but most of them -- who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that's despicable.
The retired colonel also said that "to say that Colin Powell would endorse President Obama because of his skin color is like saying Mother Theresa worked for profit."

Powell, a Republican, endorsed Obama for the second time on Thursday morning -- he also backed the president in 2008 -- saying on CBS' "This Morning" that he was "more comfortable with President Obama and his administration" than with Romney on a host of issues.

Sununu, no stranger to incendiary rhetoric this election cycle, reacted to the endorsement on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," saying that "when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama."

Obama himself dismissed Sununu's suggestion on Friday, telling radio host Michael Smerconish:
Any suggestion that Gen. Powell would make such a profound statement in such an important election based on anything but what he thought was what's going to be best for America doesn't make much sense.

Sununu backed off his remarks shortly after his CNN appearance, issuing a statement that said Powell is a friend and, “I respect the endorsement decision he made, and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies."
Source: Huff Post

Monday, October 29, 2012

Race a Factor in Amputations

Risk Factors for Amputations (From diabetes)

Although amputations are rare, certain factors can increase a diabetic's risks, such as the following:
Being male. Rates of amputations for men are double that of women.
Your race. African-Americans are nearly twice as likely as other races to develop infections that can lead to amputation.
Being age 65 or older. People in this age group have the majority of diabetes-related amputations.
Source: Diabetic Connect

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Poll Shows Prejudice Against Blacks

My election prediction is that if President Obama wins, writers and media will call him America's first black two-term President. If he loses, he will be America's first multiracial one-term President. What do YOU think?

Racial Views: Poll Shows Majority Harbor Prejudice Against Blacks

WASHINGTON — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.
Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some people's more favorable views of blacks.
Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

"As much as we'd hope the impact of race would decline over time ... it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago," said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey.

Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison.The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Experts on race said they were not surprised by the findings. "We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked," said Jelani Cobb, professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. "When we've seen progress, we've also seen backlash."

Obama has tread cautiously on the subject of race, but many African-Americans have talked openly about perceived antagonism toward them since Obama took office. As evidence, they point to events involving police brutality or cite bumper stickers, cartoons and protest posters that mock the president as a lion or a monkey, or lynch him in effigy.

"Part of it is growing polarization within American society," said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. "The last Democrat in the White House said we had to have a national discussion about race. There's been total silence around issues of race with this president. But, as you see, whether there is silence, or an elevation of the discussion of race, you still have polarization. It will take more generations, I suspect, before we eliminate these deep feelings."

Overall, the survey found that by virtue of racial prejudice, Obama could lose 5 percentage points off his share of the popular vote in his Nov. 6 contest against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But Obama also stands to benefit from a 3 percentage point gain due to pro-black sentiment, researchers said. Overall, that means an estimated net loss of 2 percentage points due to anti-black attitudes.

The poll finds that racial prejudice is not limited to one group of partisans. Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties. That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent).
Obama faced a similar situation in 2008, the survey then found.

The AP developed the surveys to measure sensitive racial views in several ways and repeated those studies several times between 2008 and 2012.

The explicit racism measures asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about black and Hispanic people. In addition, the surveys asked how well respondents thought certain words, such as "friendly," "hardworking," "violent" and "lazy," described blacks, whites and Hispanics.

The same respondents were also administered a survey designed to measure implicit racism, in which a photo of a black, Hispanic or white male flashed on the screen before a neutral image of a Chinese character. The respondents were then asked to rate their feelings toward the Chinese character. Previous research has shown that people transfer their feelings about the photo onto the character, allowing researchers to measure racist feelings even if a respondent does not acknowledge them.

Results from those questions were analyzed with poll takers' ages, partisan beliefs, views on Obama and Romney and other factors, which allowed researchers to predict the likelihood that people would vote for either Obama or Romney. Those models were then used to estimate the net impact of each factor on the candidates' support.

All the surveys were conducted online. Other research has shown that poll takers are more likely to share unpopular attitudes when they are filling out a survey using a computer rather than speaking with an interviewer. Respondents were randomly selected from a nationally representative panel maintained by GfK Custom Research.

Overall results from each survey have a margin of sampling error of approximately plus or minus 4 percentage points. The most recent poll, measuring anti-black views, was conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 11.

Andra Gillespie, an Emory University political scientist who studies race-neutrality among black politicians, contrasted the situation to that faced by the first black mayors elected in major U.S. cities, the closest parallel to Obama's first-black situation. Those mayors, she said, typically won about 20 percent of the white vote in their first races, but when seeking reelection they enjoyed greater white support presumably because "the whites who stayed in the cities ... became more comfortable with a black executive.""President Obama's election clearly didn't change those who appear to be sort of hard-wired folks with racial resentment," she said.
Negative racial attitudes can manifest in policy, noted Alan Jenkins, an assistant solicitor general during the Clinton administration and now executive director of the Opportunity Agenda think tank.

"That has very real circumstances in the way people are treated by police, the way kids are treated by teachers, the way home seekers are treated by landlords and real estate agents," Jenkins said.

Hakeem Jeffries, a New York state assemblyman and candidate for a congressional seat being vacated by a fellow black Democrat, called it troubling that more progress on racial attitudes had not been made. Jeffries has fought a New York City police program of "stop and frisk" that has affected mostly blacks and Latinos but which supporters contend is not racially focused.

"I do remain cautiously optimistic that the future of America bends toward the side of increased racial tolerance," Jeffries said. "We've come a long way, but clearly these results demonstrate there's a long way to go."

AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fatal Interpretation Part III: The New Racial Technology

Fatal Interpretation Part III: The New Racial Technology

Now comes Chapter 7, “Pharmacoethnicity,” and now we’re getting somewhere in territory I am quite familiar with, the Human Genome Project, DNA, and pharmacoeconomics. In a rant titled “The Unfulfilled Promise,” Dorothy Roberts states “Today, most drugs are developed for the whole population based on a ‘one size fits all approach. But there is a wide variation in the safety and efficacy of drugs among the individuals who take them.” Yes! I’m with her!

But then we’re back to her distain for race-based pharmaceuticals. I’m not going to bother quoting Roberts when you can read the book for yourselves, but I have often wondered why I am given the same dosage of an antibiotic as a black male twice my size or an Asian teenager. A passage in the book about whether or not the likelihood of certain diseases occurs in multiracial people is ridiculous because we just don’t know.  

The fact remains are that there have been many diseases that have shown prevalence in one race, including sickle cell anemia, Tay Sachs Disease, asthma, high blood pressure, and skin cancer. We are not on the brink of truly personalized medicine if people like Dorothy Roberts continue to shun any race/medicine connection. We really don’t know if this thing called “race” contributes to health risks in certain populations or not. This debate has gone on for literally hundreds of years.

I fondly remember sitting with F. James Davis, author of Who is Black? for hours when he came to visit me. That was in the early 90s, and we were batting the same arguments back and forth! It was mutually enjoyable, not divisive.

Chapter 8 “Color-Coded Pills” is where the rubber meets the road. Enter BiDil, that first race-specific drug. Roberts slams BiDil in every way she can, but she can’t truly dismiss it. BiDil is prescribed for blacks with heart failure. It is very common for a drug to be repackaged as benefitting something else when its patent is about to expire, which is what happened with BiDil. The FDA approved it. It’s actually the combination of two drugs. I don’t think the specific clinical trials were handled correctly for BiDil, and a longer study with more races and ethnicities should have been done. That does not mean that BiDil should be shelved. It means more investigation is needed.

News Flash: The pharmaceutical companies are in business to make money. They repackage and reintroduce new uses for drugs every day. Although a drug patent usually lasts for 20 years, by the time it hits the market after clinical trials, it can actually be only 8 to 12 years before the exclusivity is lost and generics can be made at a much lower cost. In other words, once the patent expires, other companies can produce the drug, introducing competition and lowering the price of the drug.

If the original drug company can join the same drug with another drug or find a new usage for the same drug, it’s a win for them; it means a new patent and more profit, which is exactly what happened with BiDil. The economics of pharmaceuticals is fascinating. Another example is antibiotics. We have been told over and over to stop demanding antibiotics from our doctors because people are becoming immune to them and soon they won’t work at all. The obvious question is why don’t the pharmaceutical companies develop new antibiotics? Because they are not money makers. Antibiotics are dosed short-term, a week to ten days usually. The big pharmas can make much more profit from making long-term drugs for chronic ailments. Money is what this is really about, not race.

There is nothing new there, yet Roberts states, “As should now be clear, there is no scientific proof that BiDil works differently in black people.” No, Ms. Roberts, it’s not clear at all. BiDil might save lives of African Americans. We just don’t know for sure. Meanwhile, Roberts states that insurance companies refused to cover the cost of what was now two generic drugs, but put together, which is possible. Yet if my doctor tells me that one brand drug has replaced two generics and that particular drug is not covered on the formulary for my health insurance, it’s up to me to decide if I wish to pay out of pocket for it.

Roberts also goes into only a few other drugs that fight certain diseases found to help certain races. It’s not a very inclusive list. Roberts also states that pharmaceuticals will not eliminate the social conditions and barriers to medical care that create health inequities in the first place. Wow, I didn’t realize pharmaceuticals were supposed to do that.

It simply is better to have demographic subsets for a lot of things in a clinical trial, depending on the drug being tested. If no racial differences appear, great! But what if race is not looked at and it turns out Asians, for example, do react to that drug differently?

Roberts gets to Chapter 9, “Race and the New Biocitizen.” Stay with me. Yes, there are companies that offer to analyze your whole genome sequence and those that offer a portion of your DNA to be tested. At this point in time, I agree that it’s not 100 percent accurate—it’s too soon—and many companies are getting into it for the money. Also, the health world is more comfortable with genetics than with “race.” I like Roberts explanation of mutations of the BRC1 and BRC2 genes associated with higher risks of breast and ovarian cancer because—she didn’t plan it—but  she gives perfect examples of exactly why multiracial women need to be proactive in this area.

This author completely loses me in her discussion about genetic testing for pregnant women. She goes into her personal story, which took place in 2000 when she was pregnant with her fourth child at age 44. Having amniocentesis usually is recommended if the mother is over the age of 35. She doesn’t say she actually had amnio, but lets us know she participated in a clinical trial investigating the potential for a blood test and ultrasound to detect in the first trimester of pregnancy because of the risk of Down syndrome and other chromosomal defects. So she apparently goes through all of this so she can get a free ultrasound and complains that no one explained to her why she was getting genetic testing in the first place. What?! And she didn’t ask? Why wasn’t she proactive for her unborn child? We really are very different people.

I was over 35 when I was pregnant with my second child. I chose to have CVS (chorionic villus sampling) done after thoroughly investigating what was known about it then. The genetics specialist explained in total detail what he was going to do and why. We even joked about the baby having the first case of Sickle Sachs (Sickle Cell and Tay- Sachs) because of the black/Jewish combination. Bad joke, I know.

After the testing, my insurance company refused to pay because they said it was “experimental.” No, I was not buying that. I pulled out all my research, showed them why it was no longer experimental and that amniocentesis would have cost them more and I would have had to wait much longer to have it done. They paid for the test entirely.   

Chapter 10 is “Tracing Racial Roots.” The chapter is devoted to showing how flawed racial science is going to do us all in. After all, she tells us that although biracial, she “formed my own moral allegiance to black people based on a sense of common struggle against racial oppression.” Too much personal information. Oh wait, in the same paragraph, she also alludes to people getting benefit from “mixed ancestry.”

Then comes the history lesson of how everyone comes from African ancestry anyway. More personal examples and I’m not sure why this is even necessary or in the book at all. She uses all the right words from the anthropology gurus, but you can read it for yourself. I am not even going to comment on the crazy statements in the Am I Jewish? and Authenticating Native American Blood sections. In Consumer Beware!  Roberts warns us not to fall for DNA test kits being sold. That makes sense and I agree at this point in time.

Dorothy Roberts shows in Making Racial Claims that blacks know how to play the game of getting race-based scholarships and entitlement to affirmative action. At least I think that’s what she’s trying to say, but then this: “Whites defined enslaved Africans as a biological race. Blacks in America have historically resisted this racial ideology by defining themselves as a political group.” Really? A political group? Then she brings up her own multiracial heritage again and reminds us, “But as a young girl, I chose a heritage rooted in the struggle of black people around the world to defeat racism and demand treatment as equal human beings.” Why does Dorothy Roberts spend so much time and effort deconstructing race only to choose one? Why does she get to pick something that is not biological? Why multiracial people who want to embrace their entire heritage are touting this book as “life-changing” is just beyond me. Look for the final review in Part IV next week.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Students more likely to identify as multiracial

Students more likely to identify as multiracial

Erika Roach ’13 identifies herself as “Blasian,” while Marcus Montanez-Leaks ’13 says he’s “Blexican.”

These terms and others used to describe mixed race individuals are becoming more common in conversation and student groups focused on mixed race issues have begun popping up on campus, a trend mirroring the rise in applications.

Mixed race applicants to Stanford are “one of the fastest growing groups,” according to Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw.

During the 2011-12 academic year, 11.6 percent of undergraduates identified their racial/ethnic category as “two or more races,” up from 8.4 percent the previous year. 2010-11 was the first year the University began collecting data on mixed race individuals.

In 2011, the Department of Education started requiring universities to collect more information about applicants’ race and ethnicity. Many college applications, including the Common Application that Stanford uses, now allow students to check multiple boxes when it comes to describing their racial and ethnic identities.

“Students [telling] us exactly what their racial background is … not a mandatory request. It is optional,” Shaw said. He added that the ability to self-identify accurately is a crucial part of the college admissions process.

For students who identify with more than one heritage, the ability to check all that apply on the racial background section of college admissions proves crucial to establishing their identity.
“When we were younger, a lot of times we were torn,” Roach, who is Puerto Rican on her father’s side and Filipino on her mother’s side, said. “Which box do you check when you identify with both sides? People were telling you that you’d have to choose between your heritage.”

The new boxes and check marks on the Common Application didn’t come without criticism. A 2011 New York Times article raised concerns that these increased options may enable students to cheat admissions and favor the race they believe will boost their admission chances, assuming the college uses affirmative action in admissions decisions.
Michele Elam, English professor and author of a 2011 book on mixed race, The Souls of Mixed Folk: Race, Politics and Aesthetics in the New Millennium, argues that diversity remains an important consideration among many others in college admissions, but does not believe that students are simply “cynically trying to game the system by checking as many boxes as possible.”

“A lot of young high school students when doing college admissions are just coming of age politically and racially,” Elam said. “Some may not have thought of themselves as having a distinct mixed identity before being asked to check multiple boxes.”

For Montanez-Leaks, whose mother is Mexican and father is African American, race is a matter of pride.“It’s my identity,” he said. “It’s part of who I am.”

Elam also said the more specific application boxes help to promote diversity on campus. Without the option to identify race, or races as the case may be, on college applications, colleges could not document statistics or ensure a truly diverse student body with regard to race and ethnicity.

Montanez-Leaks and Roach serve as presidents of The Multiracial Identified Community at Stanford (MICS), which Montanez-Leaks said “provides a space where you can completely be yourself.” Likewise, Roach feels at liberty to explore her identity through multiple lenses.
“I think race is very much who I am, “Roach said. “I identify with black issues. I identify with Filipino issues. I identify with Asian issues. I don’t ever let other people try to define me by my race. I am proud to represent both of my races and I feel they are very much a part of me.”
For Roach, the community and the option to mark both races with which she identifies allow her to present herself in accordance with her self-image.

“I marked both boxes because that’s who I am,” Roach said.  “I always knew how I identified, it was very convenient on the application to have those options.”

While college applications and University statistics are quickly catching up, Elam says the process is far from over. Progress is admirable, but mixed race is still a “category in the making.”
Source: The Stanford Daiily

Republicans and Hispanic Voters

Jeb Bush chides Republicans to stop 'acting stupid' with Hispanic voters

- The Miami Herald – August 29, 2012

With Mitt Romney trailing Barack Obama badly among Hispanic voters in the polls, Republicans paraded out their top Hispanic political celebrities Tuesday and tapped the financial and influential heft of former Gov. Jeb Bush to help suture the gap.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Republican National Convention, Bush repeated his frequent warning that the party must change its tone, an admonition he has frequently raised about the party’s hardline position on immigration.

“The future of our party is to reach out consistently to have a tone that is open and hospitable to people who share values,’’ he said, adding “the conservative cause would be the governing philosophy as far as the eye could see … and that’s doable if we just stop acting stupid.”

Bush was joined by two Latino governors in an event organized by the Hispanic Leadership Network, a newly formed advocacy group associated with the American Action Network. The group will finance issue ads and promote what it calls a “center-right” agenda.

Bush’s youngest son, Jeb Bush Jr, announced the emergence of SunPac, a Coral Gables–based organization that targets young Hispanics in Florida to support their issues and get involved in politics.

And the prime time television schedule included two of the convention’s five Hispanics headliners: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz. The others, Gov. Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, will follow Wednesday. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney on Thursday.

The top draw for Republicans showcasing their Hispanic bonafides: Rubio.Rubio, echoing the Romney-ticket line, said the campaign wants to reach out to Hispanics in the way it appeals to other groups. But first, he said, they must make progress on immigration.“While that may not be the No. 1 issue in the Hispanic community, it is a gateway issue,” he told the Hispanic Leadership Network on Tuesday.

The goal of the high-profile push, said Jennifer Korn, director of the Hispanic Leadership Network, is to ignite the enthusiasm of the grass roots. “It’s an invitation to Hispanics to join the fold,’’ she said.

It’s a tall order for Republicans. GOP support among Hispanics had dwindled since former President George W. Bush was in the White House. When he was reelected in 2004, Bush garnered 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to some exit polls. Sen. John McCain got 31 percent in 2008, while the latest poll numbers show Mitt Romney with less than 30 percent.
Republican strategist Karl Rove warned this week that the Republican Party can’t do to Hispanics what it did with African Americans “or we might find ourselves at a point where we get 5 percent and we consider ourselves fortunate,’’ he said at a pre-convention panel discussion on Monday.

Democrats have spent $6.6 million on Hispanic-focused ads so far, according to Democratic media watchers, while Romney and the GOP have spent less than $1 million. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chairman of the Democratic National Convention, mocked the Republican Party’s Hispanic outreach.“You can’t just trot out a brown face or a person with a Spanish surname,’’ he said.

There are 50 million Hispanics in the United States, representing about 16 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 Census. By 2030, there will be an estimated 78 million, or 22 percent of the population. Florida is home to more than 4.2 million Hispanics, who compose 23 percent of the state’s population.

Jeb Bush described what he called the “secret weapon” — the merging of cultures through families and marriage. He talked about his experience when he was a 17-year-old volunteer in Mexico and first saw his wife, Columba, and “fell in knock-down, crazy love.”

He pointed to his son, whose wife is a Canadian of Iraqi descent, and noted that when their 10-month-old daughter fills out her U.S. Census form “it will have so many hyphens that she’ll say ‘not applicable.’

She is “what the future looks like,’’ he said.

New Mexico Gov.Martinez told the panel that the concerns of Hispanic voters are “no different” than that of other voters. “The problem is’’ Republicans too often assume they won’t win their vote, so they don’t visit those voters.

“I went to areas that Republicans running for state office never went,’’ she said. “I didn’t know how I was going to be received, but I didn’t change my message either. If they liked my message, great.”

Nevada Gov. Sandoval echoed a theme long embraced by Bush and reminded the activists that their focus has to be “all about education.”
Source: Miami Herald staff writer Marc Caputo and the News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Disney defends mixed-race princess

Ya gotta love Disney, but they could call her a multiracial princess!-Susan

Disney defends mixed-race princess



By Derrik J Lang
The Walt Disney Co. is defending its newest princess following a backlash over her Hispanic-influenced ethnicity.

A new character named Sofia will star in the TV movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess airing Nov. 18 on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior. Hispanic advocacy groups questioned whether the fair-skinned, blue-eyed young princess is an accurate representation of the Hispanic population and wondered why Disney isn't doing more to promote its first princess with Hispanic-inspired roots.

Sofia the First co-executive producer Craig Gerber said in a Facebook post Friday that Sofia is "a mixed-heritage princess in a fairytale world." Gerber said Sofia's mother and birth father hail from kingdoms inspired by Spain and Scandinavia, and Sofia was born and raised in a make-believe kingdom patterned after the British Isles.
Source: 3 News and AP

Read more:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Biracial identity: Trying to fit in

Biracial identity: trying to fit in

You’re Hispanic, right?

No? Well, are you Middle Eastern?

No? Then what are you?

Oh, that’s so interesting!

The above is just a sample of the prodding questions that sometimes come with biracial or multiracial identity.

Biracial identity has been catapulted to the forefront of American culture with the political rise of Barack Obama to president of the United States.

The president was born to a Kenyan father and an American mother and considers himself African-American. He has acknowledged the difficulties of growing up biracial. He was often teased and, to make matters worse, he had a distanced relationship with his father.
The issues that existed for the president pertaining to racial identity and social acceptance exist for many Americans.

There are more than 7 million people in the United States who identify as two or more races, with more than 180,000 of those are right here in North Carolina, and those numbers are on the rise. There are about 850 students at UNC who identify as more than one race.

It is important to be aware and sensitive to not only general racial difference, but also to the distinctions that exist for students of multiracial backgrounds. There are many situations that can present real challenges for biracial or multiracial college students.

As every prospective UNC student fills out his or her college application, he or she will also have to identify themselves racially. This information is used to record the demographic characteristics of students at UNC.

This can present a real quandary for biracial students. How does one make such a choice? To choose one race and not the other is to deny one half of your racial ancestry and essentially one of your parents.

There might be historical implications, especially for those who identify as half-black. A remnant of the Jim Crow South was the “one drop” rule, which stated that if one had a drop of black blood he or she was considered black.

Choosing “two or more races” or “other” doesn’t suffice as a racial identifier either. Students should be allowed to pick something more than the current generic option of the “two or more races” identifier. After all, students should have the option to be proudly Latina and African-American at the same time, or to boast both Asian and white ancestry simultaneously. In different forms, biracial or multiracial individuals are often confronted with the age-old question, “What are you?”

This might not seem like a big deal to people who visually appear to be a member of only one race. But for those whose appearance is racially ambiguous, this question can be offensive or even troubling. Multiracial individuals can feel isolated by their mixed ancestry or feel as if they do not belong to either group.

Biracial identity is a fascinating subject, but we must remember to remain sensitive to the various nuances that exist for people who identify as two or more races.
Source: By Averi Harper

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Black (not multiracial) President - Says NY Times

Our Black (not multiracial) President - Says NY Times

For President, a Complex Calculus of Race and Politics

When President Obama greets African-Americans who broke barriers, he almost invariably uses the same line.“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you,” he said to Ruby Bridges Hall, who was the first black child to integrate an elementary school in the South. The president repeated the message to a group of Tuskegee airmen, the first black aviators in the United States military; the Memphis sanitation workers the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed in his final speech; and others who came to pay tribute to Mr. Obama and found him saluting them instead. 

The line is gracious, but brief and guarded. Mr. Obama rarely dwells on race with his visitors or nearly anyone else. In interviews with dozens of black advisers, friends, donors and allies, few said they had ever heard Mr. Obama muse on the experience of being the first black president of the United States, a role in which every day he renders what was once extraordinary almost ordinary. 

But his seeming ease belies the anxiety and emotion that advisers say he brings to his historic position: pride in what he has accomplished, determination to acquit himself well and intense frustration. Mr. Obama is balancing two deeply held impulses: a belief in universal politics not based on race and an embrace of black life and its challenges. 

Vigilant about not creating racial flash points, the president is private and wary on the subject, and his aides carefully orchestrate White House appearances by black luminaries and displays of black culture. Those close to Mr. Obama say he grows irritated at being misunderstood — not just by opponents who insinuate that he caters to African-Americans, but also by black lawmakers and intellectuals who fault him for not making his presidency an all-out assault on racial disparity. 

“Tragically, it seems the president feels boxed in by his blackness,” the radio and television host Tavis Smiley wrote in an e-mail. “It has, at times, been painful to watch this particular president’s calibrated, cautious and sometimes callous treatment of his most loyal constituency,” he continued, adding that “African-Americans will have lost ground in the Obama era.” 

Such criticism leaves the president feeling resentful and betrayed, aides said, by those he believes should be his allies. The accusations are “an assault on his being,” said David Axelrod, his chief strategist — not to mention a discomfiting twist in a re-election fight in which the turnout of black voters, who express overwhelming loyalty to the president but also some disappointment, could sway the result. 

But like an actor originating a role on Broadway, Mr. Obama has been performing a part that no one else has ever played, and close observers say they can see him becoming as assured on race in public as he is in private conversation. In 2009, the new president’s statement on the arrest of a black Harvard professor by a white police officer set off days of negative headlines; in 2012, he gave a commanding but tender lament over the killing of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin, by a white man. 

“As he’s gotten more comfortable being president, he’s gotten more comfortable being him,” said Brian Mathis, an Obama fund-raiser. 

Asked when they could sense that shift, several advisers and friends mentioned the waning hours of Mr. Obama’s birthday party in the summer of 2011. As the hour grew late, many of the white guests left, and the music grew “blacker and blacker,” as the comedian Chris Rock later told an audience. Watching African-American entertainers and sports stars do the Dougie to celebrate a black president in a house built by slaves, Mr. Rock said, “I felt like I died and went to black heaven.” 

The president, guests recalled, seemed free of calibration or inhibition. He danced with relative abandon, other guests ribbing him about his moves, everyone swaying to Stevie Wonder under a portrait of George Washington. 

Trying to Avoid a Wedge
In the White House, Mr. Obama has relied on a long-term strategy on race and politics that he has been refining throughout his career.As far back as 1995, former colleagues at the University of Chicago remember him talking about moving away from the old politics of grievance and using common economic interests to bind diverse coalitions. “He argued that if political action and political speeches are tailored solely to white audiences, minorities will withdraw, just as whites often recoil when political action and speeches are targeted to racial minority audiences,” recalled William Julius Wilson, now a sociologist at Harvard. 

Mr. Wilson had turned the world of social policy on its head by arguing that class was becoming more determinative than race in America and pointing out that race-specific remedies were less politically feasible than economic policies that benefited a broad range of people. The young politician absorbed Mr. Wilson’s ideas, which matched his own experience as a community organizer and a person whose own life did not fit neat racial categories. 

Mr. Obama now presides over a White House that constantly projects cross-racial unity. When discussing in interviews what image the Obamas want to project, aides use one word more than any other: “inclusive.” Concerts of Motown and civil-rights-era songs have been stocked with musicians of many races, and in introducing them, the president emphasizes how the melodies brought disparate Americans together. Though the Memphis sanitation workers were involved in a shattering moment of the civil rights struggle — Dr. King was assassinated after going to support their strike — they were invited to the White House for a labor event, not a race-oriented one. 

Many of the president’s most critical domestic policy decisions have disproportionately benefited African-Americans: stimulus money that kept public sector workers employed, education grants to help underperforming schools and a health care overhaul that will cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans. But he invariably frames those as policies intended to help Americans of all backgrounds. 

“If you really want to get something done, you can’t put it in a way that will kill it before it gets going,” Mr. Obama said in one meeting, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton. “We have to deal with the specific problems of different groups — blacks, women, gays and lesbians, immigrants — in a way that doesn’t allow people to put these wedges in,” Mr. Sharpton recalled the president saying in another. 

That approach, along with the memories of the toxic campaign battles over Mr. Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., has resulted in a White House that often appears to tiptoe around race. 

Debra Lee, the chairman and chief executive of Black Entertainment Television, requested interviews with the Obamas in 2009, but press aides told her that they did not want the first couple on BET in the first six months of the administration, she said in an interview. (They appeared later.) 

“There was all this caution and concern because we were in the midst of a great American experiment,” one former aide said. Another aide remembered palpable nervousness about the artwork the Obamas chose for their private quarters in the White House, including some with race-specific messages. 

In private, White House aides frequently dissect the racial dynamics of the presidency, asking whether Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, would have yelled “You lie!” at a white president during an address to Congress or what Tea Party posters saying “Take Back Our Country” really mean. Michelle Obama, often called the glue in her husband’s relationship with black voters, sometimes remarks publicly or privately about the pressures of being the first black first lady. 

Her husband is more circumspect, particularly on the question of whether some of his opposition is fueled by race. Aides say the president is well aware that some voters say they will never be comfortable with him, as well as the occasional flashes of racism on the campaign trail, such as the “Put the White Back in the White House” T-shirt spotted at a recent Mitt Romney rally. But they also say he is disciplined about not reacting because doing so could easily backfire. 

“The president knows that some people may choose to be divided by differences — race, gender, religion — but his focus is on bringing people together,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser, wrote in an e-mail. 

Even when Newt Gingrich called him a “food stamp president” during the Republican primaries, the most the president did was shoot confidants a meaningful look — “the way he will cock his head, an exaggerated smile, like ‘I’m not saying but I’m saying,’ ” one campaign adviser said.
To blacks who accuse him of not being aggressive on race, Mr. Obama has a reply: “I’m not the president of black America,” he has said. “I’m the president of the United States of America.” 

That statement “makes me want to vomit,” Cornel West, an activist and Union Theological Seminary professor, said in an interview. “Did you say that to the business round table?” he asked rhetorically. “Do you say that to Aipac?” he said, referring to a pro-Israel lobbying group.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, with whom the president has a contentious relationship, have echoed the charges that Mr. Obama is insufficiently attentive to African-Americans, even threatening at times to sandbag his agenda. 

Even some of Mr. Obama’s black supporters privately express the same anxiety, in more muted form. At the first meeting of his top campaign donors last year, some black donors were dismayed when officials handed out cards with talking points on the administration’s achievements for various groups — women, Jews, gays and lesbians — and there was no card for African-Americans. 

The accusation that Mr. Obama does not care about black suffering appears to carry little weight with the African-American public, and yet it tears at the president, say aides, friends and supporters. 

After a 2010 speech at the National Urban League, he approached Mr. West. “He just came at me tooth and nail,” Mr. West said. “Are you saying I’m not a progressive?” Mr. West recalled the president asking. 

Mellody Hobson, an Obama fund-raiser, explained why the accusation was painful.
“You expect your family to give you the benefit of the doubt,” she said. 

Out to Change Stereotypes
Shortly before his 2009 inauguration, Barack Obama took his family to see the Lincoln Memorial. “First African-American president, better be good,” a 10-year-old Malia Obama told her father, who repeated the story later, a rare acknowledgment of the symbolic shadow he casts. 

For all of Mr. Obama’s caution, he is on a mission: to change stereotypes of African-Americans, aides and friends say. Six years ago, he told his wife and a roomful of aides that he wanted to run for the White House to change children’s perceptions of what was possible. He had other ambitions for the presidency, of course, but he was also embarking on an experiment in which the Obamas would put themselves and their children on the line to help erase centuries of negative views. 

While Mr. Obama resists being the president of black America, he does want to change black America, aides say — to break apart long-held beliefs about what African-Americans can and cannot do. The president, who appointed Lisa P. Jackson and Charles F. Bolden Jr. as the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA, wants to encourage black achievement in science and engineering, even urging black ministers to preach about the need to study those subjects. 

Mr. Obama knows that the next presidential candidate of color may be judged by his own performance, added Charles J. Ogletree, a Harvard law professor. And Mr. Obama’s desire to win re-election in part because he is the first black president is “so implicit it’s just like breathing,” one White House adviser said. 

On rare occasions, Mr. Obama allows others a glimpse of the history, expectations and hope he carries with him. At the funeral of the civil rights leader Dorothy Height in 2010, he wept openly. Again and again, those close to him say, Mr. Obama is moved by the grace with which other blacks who broke the color barrier behaved under pressure. 

When Ruby Bridges Hall went to see the famous Norman Rockwell portrait of her marching into school, which Mr. Obama had hung just outside the Oval Office, the president opened up a bit. The painting shows a 6-year-old Ms. Hall in an immaculate white dress walking calmly into school, a hurled tomato and a racial slur on the wall behind her. 

The president asked Ms. Hall, now 58, how she summoned up such courage at that age and said he sometimes found his daughters staring at the portrait. “I really think they see themselves in this little girl,” he said, according to an interview with Ms. Hall. 

“Doing the work we do, it gets really lonely,” Ms. Hall said. “I felt like we understood each other because we belong to the same club.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Genetics Blamed for School Transfer

California Boy, Ordered To Transfer Schools For Carrying Cystic Fibrosis Gene

Colman Chadam, an 11-year-old California boy, has been ordered to transfer from his current school to another one miles away because of his genetic makeup. Now, his parents are taking the issue to court.

Colman carries the genetic mutations for cystic fibrosis, a noncontagious but incurable and life-threatening disease. Despite the gene's presence, the Jordan Middle School student in Palo Alto doesn't actually have the disease and doesn't exhibit the typical symptoms of thick mucus that can clog and infect the lungs.

Cystic fibrosis is inherited from both parents and while not contagious, can pose a threat if two people with the disease are in close contact. In an effort to protect other students at the school who do have the disease, officials declared that Colman would have to transfer out to prevent cross contamination.

"I was sad but at the same time I was mad because I understood that I hadn't done anything wrong," Colman told TODAY. "It feels like I'm being bullied in a way that is not right."
Colman's parents argue that their son's doctor has confirmed that the boy doesn't have the disease, and therefore isn't a risk to other students. They disclosed his condition on a medical form for the school at the beginning of the year as a precautionary measure, but never expected their son to be barred from the school, as his genetic makeup had not been an issue in the past at other schools with students who have cystic fibrosis.

"They made this decision without seeing one medical record on my son," mother Jennifer Chadam told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Honestly if I felt Colman was a risk to others, I would move him. I don't want anyone to get sick."

Palo Alto Associate Superintendent Charles Young told NBC News that officials made the request to move Colman based on consultations with medical experts who said a transfer would be the "zero risk option."

While the district's attorney Lenore Silverman told the Chronicle that school officials are "not willing to risk a potentially life-threatening illness among kids," Dr. Dennis Nielson says a child is "at absolutely no risk to the children that have classic cystic fibrosis" if he or she has a normal sweat test -- which is the case for Colman. Nielson is the University of California, San Francisco's chief of pediatric pulmonary medicine and head of its Cystic Fibrosis Clinic.

Colman's condition echoes situations experienced by students across the country with allergies. A U.K. study last year found that adolescents who have a nut allergy tend to feel isolated, stigmatized or left out of activities.

Those findings are anecdotally supported by stories like one out of Edgewater, Fla., where parents in the Volusia County School District rallied behind a movement to remove a 6-year-old girl from the classroom last year. Homeschooling the child, they said, would reduce frustrations other families experience for having to comply with special rules to ensure the girl's wellbeing.

Colman is currently being homeschooled pending a court hearing next week.

Source: Huff Post

Multiracial Identification

Perceived discrimination, group identification, and life satisfaction among multiracial people: A test of the rejection-identification model.


Department of Psychology.


Like other racial minority groups, multiracial people face discrimination as a function of their racial identity, and this discrimination represents a threat to psychological well-being. Following the Rejection-Identification Model (RIM; Branscombe, Schmitt, & Harvey, 1999), we argue that perceived discrimination will encourage multiracial people to identify more strongly with other multiracials, and that multiracial identification, in turn, fosters psychological well-being. Thus, multiracial identification is conceptualized as a coping response that reduces the overall costs of discrimination on well-being. This study is the first to test the RIM in a sample of multiracial people. Multiracial participants' perceptions of discrimination were negatively related to life satisfaction. Consistent with the RIM, perceived discrimination was positively related to three aspects of multiracial group identification: stereotyping the self as similar to other multiracial people, perceiving people within the multiracial category as more homogenous, and expressing solidarity with the multiracial category. Self-stereotyping was the only aspect of group identification that mediated a positive relationship between perceived discrimination and life satisfaction, suggesting that multiracial identification's protective properties rest in the fact that it provides an collective identity where one "fits." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Source: PubMed

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Multiracial Book Review

George Crum and the Saratoga Chip

Who wouldn’t love a story about how potato chips were invented? And how cool is it that the inventor was multiracial like me? George Crum grew up in the 1800s. He was both Native American and African American. Besides both being multiracial, I relate to George because he had lots of different interests like hunting, fishing and cooking. There was a lot of prejudice in the 1800s. But George didn’t let that stop him from doing great things. George was a really good cook and got a job cooking at a fancy restaurant with very picky customers. When you read the story you’ll see how one of those picky customers made George invent potato chips almost by accident! Later George opened his own awesome restaurant where he made great food and made sure all people were treated equally. 
I am glad Gaylia Taylor wrote this book. I think it’s awesome to know all the great things that have been done by multiracial people, from being President of the United States to inventing one of my favorite snacks! I also like how this story shows that sometimes good things can come from our mistakes. To go along with this great story are really colorful and fun illustrations by an awesome artist named Frank Morrison. 
The book is for 3rd and 4th graders, but it won lots of awards and I bet younger and older kids will like it too. There is even some information about the Census in the author’s note that my Mom was interested in.
Stay tuned for more book reviews from the awesome stack of books that Lee and Low Books sent me to tell you all about!

                                                Like George, Karson has many interests!                          
President, Project RACE Kids

Fatal Interpretation Part II

Fatal Interpretation Part II: The New Racial Science

In Chapter 3, of Fatal Invention “Redefining Race in Genetic Terms,” author Dorothy Roberts begins with a contentious, secret meeting in Maryland regarding the Human Genome. She almost makes the case for “some” researchers seeing race as a statistical grouping based on genetic similarity, which is basically what the census bureau has done. Then she heads toward ancestry. She agrees that people are born with ancestry that comes from their parents but are assigned a race. I agree with that too; however, she seems to do an about-face and writes, “If there are no pure races, we should not conceive of people with mixed ancestry as being a combination of two or more pure races.”

Wait one minute. Now she is delving into the “pure” and “mixed” revelation that some of us warned about 20 years ago. I think Roberts gives much too much credence to racial purity. She is really all over the place. Is race a construct of some kind? Does race exist? Is purity the way to judge multiracial people? Whatever she is trying to get across, she certainly takes many detours along the way.  

Roberts gives credence to her ilk by stating “It appears to be a common belief that genomic and biomedical researchers should be left alone to investigate race objectively at the molecular level, while sociologists and their ilk should stick to understanding how race functions in society.” I don’t think this is a common belief at all, and I understand what she’s saying, but considering she is not a biomedical researcher, what’s her basis for this book?

Then she’s back to geography, writing that “geographic ancestry does not solve the problem of race.”  So, what solves it? Your guess is as good as mine at this point. In one paragraph she states, “Race must be a political category.” Really? More back and forth. This author is starting to bug me. We should believe this just because she says it?

I don’t blame multiracial people—or monoracial people—for wanting to believe no biological differences exist between races. I want to believe it! But it’s still just a premise, a possibility. I have no idea if it’s true or not, but for Roberts to get the multiracial community to buy into such a premise, seems like something we want her to confirm instead of something we truly think about, research on our own, and don’t blindly believe people promoting this or any one book. Please, people, think for yourselves, do your own research and stay open about this issue.

Chapter 4 is titled “Medical Stereotyping.” This is where Dorothy Roberts and I part company. She goes all the way back to Tuskegee, which was a totally unfortunate tragedy. Roberts then jumps to Jewish people and Tay-Sachs disease, then Chinese and Mexican immigrants. She calls some diseases “concocted.”

On the way to I’m not sure where, Roberts places blame on doctors and medical schools for even suggesting that there may be the tiniest difference in diagnosing anything if you take race into account. I have talked to hundreds of physicians and they aren’t sure what to think, but they know that something makes patients react differently to things like prescription drugs and anesthesia.

Aha, there it is on page 98! She barely introduces us to Cardiologist Jay Cohn, who invented BiDil, touted as the first race-based drug. Then just as quick, Roberts stops that story and oddly goes into cystic fibrosis and how ONE black child had the disease that overwhelmingly afflicts white people and therefore there is no cause for race-based medicine. Not so fast Ms. Roberts.

Chapter 5 is titled “The Allure of Race in Biomedical Research” and deals mostly with clinical research. She goes into OMB Directive 15 for federal reporting of race and ethnicity, which everyone in this field should certainly know about by now. It feels like filler material to me.

Roberts tries to debunk high allergic asthma prevalence in Puerto Rican and African American children, sickle cell disease in blacks, and other health disparities. Then she makes the statement that “Black poor people experience a more intense poverty than white poor people.” Does that mean race exists on some level? Does she not see the intense poverty that people of all races suffer?

Chapter 6, “Embodying Race,” is pretty unimpressive until a one-liner stopped me, “Racism doesn’t affect just those who experience it—it also affects their children while still in the womb.”  Wow, minority women have stress in childbearing that results in stress on their unborn children. I can tell you as a white woman, we all have stress in childbearing!  Then she jumps on Directive 15 again. Nothing is really accomplished there, so we jump into policy. Now Roberts and I are getting a bit closer, but Roberts gives it a short two and a half pages and it’s done.

Has Roberts really shown us the new racial science in this section? No, but just wait for part III!