Friday, November 30, 2012

Civil Wrongs

This could be a good thing for the multiracial community. The Department of Education now refuses to address the civil rights of multiracial students unless they identify as only one race. They also advise schools to reassign "Hispanic" to any child who checks Hispanic and a race. We'll be watching.


Head of Education Dept.'s Civil Rights Office to Step Down

Russlynn Ali, the hard-charging head of the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights, is stepping down from the post. Her last day is tomorrow.

Ali shared news of her departure during a conference call yesterday with folks in the civil rights community, the same day the Education Department released a four-year review of the work of OCR, which was nicely detailed by Nirvi Shah over at the Rules for Engagement blog.

Nothing official on her departure—or her replacement—has come from the Ed. Dept. yet.
The big question now is whether the very aggressive stance of OCR will stay intact or wane some after Ali is gone.

Ali, who headed Education Trust West in California where she championed causes such as requiring a college-level curriculum for all high school students in Los Angeles Unified, ramped up OCR's work on school discipline, harassment, and bullying, and opened up new areas of inquiry into students' access to charter schools and graduation rates at community colleges.

Instructional programs for English-language learners received lots of scrutiny under Ali, who partnered frequently with U.S. Department of Justice civil rights officials to bring even more pressure for change in school districts. OCR forced a number of changes for ELLs in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, and the state of Arizona. OCR has also stepped up its reviews of practices in districts where civil rights advocates have complained that ELLs and their non-English-speaking parents are not providing adequate communications.

Over at Schooled in Sports, Bryan Toporek breaks down OCR's work on Title IX under Ali's leadership.
For folks in districts, an inquiry from OCR is a dreaded occurrence, and, in the view of some, it became even more so in the nearly four years Ali has been in charge. To counter those fears, Ali told me in a conversation late last year, she'd made providing technical assistance to districts more of a priority of OCR than it had been in previous administrations.Now it will be interesting to see who will be her successor.

Photo: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, left, and Russlynn Ali, head of the Department of Education's office for civil rights, attend a board meeting of the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2011. (Reed Saxon/AP-File)
Source: Education Week

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Census Bureau Loses Multiracial Population--Again!

Census Bureau Alert-Current Population Survey: 2011 — The tables include detailed statistics about five-year age groups by sex, the 55-and-older population, the Hispanic population, the black population and the Asian population. The tables provide a wide range of social, economic and housing characteristics, such as marital status, educational attainment, nativity, employment status, occupation, poverty and housing tenure. The Current Population Survey, which has been conducted since 1940, is sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the primary source of the nation's labor force statistics and provides understanding of labor market conditions.

Race and Ancestry Important in Medicine

We agree that ancestry and racial information are BOTH important to the personal medical history, especially for the multiracial population.

Ancestry, not just race, is important to personal medical history

Doctors often ask patients to list their race -- white, Latino, African American, Asian, Native American -- to help them provide better healthcare. They do this because loads of medical research shows that the incidence of certain diseases and treatment success can vary somewhat from race to race.
But the more important question may be: What is your genetic ancestry?

Asthma genetic ancestry race A study released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the accuracy of a lung function test and how race and ancestry played a role in the test's accuracy. A lung function test measures damage to the lungs caused by asthma or other disease. However, the definition of "normal" lung function is known to vary substantially by race. For example, doctors have long known that vital lung capacity (the maximum amount of air that can be expelled after maximum inhalation) is 6% to 12% lower in blacks compared with whites and Native Americans.

Researchers looked at data from more than 3,000 patients that included their lung function test results, standard information on race and additional information on genetic ancestry that was obtained through genotyping. The study found that standard race categories don't capture the extent of ancestral diversity and, thus, may limit the amount of information available to a doctor in making a diagnosis or ordering treatment. Instead, many people have a rich and diverse genetic background that does not lend itself to a simple classification, such as "white" or "Asian."

For example, when using genetic ancestry data, the study showed a strong link between African ancestry and lung function measurement in both men and women. According to the findings, for 6.4% of people in the United States who identify themselves as African American, the actual percentage of African ancestry would be 15% higher or lower than average -- a difference that would result in an incorrect estimation of lung function test, and possibly, mistakes about the severity of lung disease. About 2.1 million self-identified African Americans have asthma. But based on the study conclusions, the severity of the asthma would be misclassified in about 4% of those patients.

"When we force patients into an individual box, such as 'African American' or 'Caucasian,' we're missing a lot of genetic information," senior author of the study Dr. Esteban G. Burchard, of UC San Francisco, said in a news release. "This study provides new evidence that genetic ancestry correlates to physiological measures. With it, we're one step closer to personalized medicine."

On a more practical level, the study points to the need for improvements in measuring lung function in some people. In an editorial accompanying the paper, authors noted: "Refinements are needed for poorly represented or misrepresented populations and for persons of mixed ancestry, who represent an increasing proportion of the U.S. population."
-- Shari Roan
SOURCE: LA Times July 7, 2010

Monday, November 26, 2012

Births from multiracial families jump

Births from multiracial families jump

By Kim Tae-jong

Births from multiracial marriages sharply increased last year at a far higher level than among Koreans, figures showed Wednesday.

According to Statistics Korea, 22,014 babies were born to such families last year, up 1,702 or 8.4 percent from the previous year. The rate is much higher than the 0.2 percent increase for Korean couples.

But their contribution may shrink in the future as divorces for this demographic have continuously risen and there has been a relatively big decline in interracial marriages.

Statistics Korea said 14,450 mixed marriage couples split up last year, a rise of 0.9 percent from the previous year, accounting for 12.6 percent of all marriage breakups in Korea.

The average married life before divorce stood at 4.9 years, much shorter than divorces between Korean couples, which occurred after 14.4 years.

The increase in the number of divorces is largely attributed to the fact that many married migrants, the majority of them Asian women, frequently struggle to adjust to the differences in language and way of living as well as fighting social prejudice against them.

The jump has been also coupled with a decline in interracial marriages.

Marriages of such couples decreased to 30,695 in 2011, down 12 percent from the previous year. They stood at 35,098 in 2010, 33,862 in 2009 and 36,629 in 2008.

Officials attributed the decline to stronger restrictions imposed on commercial marriage brokers in countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia.

As a result, the ratio of interracial marriage to all unions decreased to 9.3 percent, compared to 10.8 percent in 2010, 10.9 percent in 2009 and 11.2 percent in 2008.

According to the survey, Chinese women accounted for the largest portion of such marriages at 30.3 percent, followed by Vietnamese at 25.2 percent and Korean women married to foreign men at 20.9 percent.

Among males, Korean men married to foreign women accounted for 72.9 percent, followed by Chinese men at 8.5 percent and Japanese men at 5.6 percent.

By region, Gyeonggi Province and Seoul had the largest number of interracial marriages last year, which stood at 7,329 and 6,644.

The average age of men at their first marriage stood at 36.1 while that of women was 26.6. The age difference decreased to 9.5 last year, from 10.3 from the previous year.
Source: Korea Times/

We Share the Same Blood: I am Your Grandchild!

It’s a sad realization, but there are a few multiracial or biracial children who do not have a relationship with their grandparents and only because of one glaring reason – The child is biracial! Some grandparents cannot accept the fact that their own child has entered into relations with another who is of a different racial make-up than theirs.

I wonder how many grandparents who choose not to have a relationship with their biracial grandchildren realize the emotional effect they pose on these children, and for what good reason. Isn’t life far too short for this sort of nonsense?

Come on grandma and grandpa – It’s been 45 years since interracial marriages became legal in states. By now you’d think that most of us would come to terms with the fact that during this 21st century America we will see more and more interracial families among us. Isn’t it the right of any man or woman to have the freedom to marry whoever they want to? Isn’t this a person’s given right to live happily ever after with any person that they choose to regardless of their race?

I know that some people will have a problem with me bringing religion into this conversation, but I think a good question to ask is how God would tell us to handle this issue. I don’t think that he would approve of grandparents ill-treating their own flesh and blood – grandchildren, do you?

Grandparents, your biracial grandchildren are not:
  • Bastard children – since their parents are married
  • Mentally and physical inferior to your race – let this myth die
  • Second rated citizens – many are beautiful and talented
  • To be looked at as Minority citizens, but Biracial and/or Multiracial – They do not have to choose one race over the other if they do not want to
  • Prisoners of the Jim Crow “one drop rule” – help them denounce it!

Biracial children have the right to be recognized as be biracial. Their racial identity of who they are will be important so that they can be happy citizens in our society who can and will grow up proud, armoring self-pride/confidence as they resist the messages of racism from others. It’s too bad they can’t count on you!

Biracial children should be taught that they will encounter people who will ill-treat them, so they should be able to count on the support of their very own grandparents as they journey through the unavoidable racism of others. Racism permeates their lives as it is. The biracial child should be able to look to their very own family as a source of support and love. It is the families of the biracial child who help strengthen them, and help them deal with racial myths and unnecessary hatred and conflicts.

Grandparents, your biracial grandchild has the right to racial equality. Why wouldn’t he/she have that right? Don’t you think it silly for them not to have racial equality solely based on their racial identity? Are you willing to help your biracial child confront and deal with the struggles of racism? If not, why not? Do you understand the implications of social and racial inequalities that mixed-race children are faced with when people further hurt and isolate them?

Stop for a moment and examine your own life grandma/grandpa:
  • Are you seen as loving fair people, or Are you wearing a mask and hiding your true feelings of hate and vile?
  • Can you really hate/mistreat your very own blood – your grandchild?
  • Do you choose your friends and associates based on the color of their skin?
I think there is work to be done in this area, and grandparents can play a huge part in first steps by accepting and embracing their grandchildren with the love and support they need and deserve to survive peacefully in this society. Will you do your part grandparents? If not, it’s time for you to come to your senses and recognize the error of your ways. Life is too short to miss out on the fun times that can be enjoyed with your beautiful biracial grandchildren.

Grandparents — it’s time to get past this issue. Love your grandchildren regardless of their racial-makeup – Wake up!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Where's the Diversity?

Diversifying the allied health care workforce is vital in providing quality health care for all Americans
What do Martha Stewart house paint and the allied health workforce have in common? Give up? Both come in any shade of white you can imagine. Of course, the controversial diva of decorating also offers 4,000 or so other choices, whereas the color palette for allied health professionals is currently much more limited. In fact, statistics indicate that minorities comprise only about 10% of allied health care professionals in this increasingly diverse country.

At the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. population was 13% minority (African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian/Pacific Islander). Today, these individuals comprise one-quarter of our nation's population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050 it is likely that more than one-third of our residents will identify themselves as minority. With this kind of increase, one would expect to see a similar rise echoed in the health care workforce across the U.S. This, disappointingly, is not the case.

The lack of diversity certainly is not due to a lack of available positions. The Allied and Auxiliary Health Care Workforce Project from the Center for the Health Professions at University of California, San Francisco, reports that allied health workers make up an estimated 60% of the U.S. health care workforce, totaling more than 11 million workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists pharmacy technicians, laboratory technologists, physician assistants, physical therapists and occupational therapists as some of this decade's fastest-growing occupations. In fact, out of the list of the top 30 fastest growing jobs in the U.S. from 2000-2010, more than half are expected to be allied health jobs. Unfortunately, the supply of allied health care workers isn't expected to keep up with this rise in demand. The American Hospital Association (AHA) estimates vacancy rates of 21% for pharmacists, 18% for radiological technologists and 12% for laboratory technologists.

The Importance of Diversity


Having a poor representation of minorities in the allied health care profession poses many problems. It has become painfully obvious that in this culturally rich country, minorities do not receive the same level of health care as their white counterparts. Research from the Institute of Medicine, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund suggests that there are differences in treatment and health care outcomes based on race and ethnicity. These disparities are caused by many factors, such as differences in socioeconomic status (education level and income), differences in the health behaviors of those seeking care and adhering to treatments, the lack of multicultural tools and sensitivity in part of the health care provider, language barriers, payment and coverage, outright discrimination and stereotyping by health care practitioners, and the lack of diversity in the health care workforce.

The recognition that we have a problem in this area has prompted the federal government to issue the bold goal of eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities in this country. As addressed in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy People 2010 initiative, the mission is to achieve health care parity by the end of the decade. Specific emphasis will be placed on ensuring cultural competency among health care providers.

With a more diverse population of health care providers, many issues of health care disparity might be resolved. By increasing the representation of minorities in the health care workforce, more underserved populations could receive health care. A culturally diverse health care workforce can more effectively care for a diverse population, as many people prefer to discuss their health care concerns with someone from a similar background.

"Most of the major public health issues today disproportionately affect minorities," says Terry Brown, RD/LD, vice president of the North Texas Chapter of the National Organization for Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition. "Who could better understand their plight than someone from their racial/ethnic group? We want to speak to people who understand us culturally and face some of the same challenges we do."

By creating a more culturally diverse health care team, better patient communication and treatment will occur along with the bonus that non-minority health care workers will become more aware and sensitive to ethnically diverse patients. In "up close and personal" professions, like physical therapy and occupational therapy, cultural sensitivity becomes even more important in patient care. "When mastering activities of daily living like meal preparation, bathing, etc., you need to have an appreciation of the values and beliefs of a population," says Janie Scott, the director of the Practice Department and Ethics for the American Occupational Therapy Association.


How Do We Get There From Here?

Most everyone agrees that we need a more culturally diverse population walking the halls of America's hospitals and clinics, but how do we get them there? This is the question that has puzzled allied health organizations for years. Many professional organizations faced up to the issue of workplace diversity about 20 years ago, formally waging war against the underrepresentation of minorities in their professions.
Johnette Meadows, PT, MS, who served as director of the Department of Minority and International Affairs in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for 14 years, reports that the APTA recognized the need to address this issue about 15 years ago. Since then, the APTA has worked to embed cultural diversity into its goals, objectives and vision. "We are involved with promoting cultural diversity in workshops at schools, in our Web page, and during recruitment and speaker's bureaus," says Meadows.

"We market people of color. We want to show that our membership is diverse. We want advocates and speakers of all races to represent our organization," Meadows continues. "The APTA is proud of their accomplishments, which not only promote cultural competency to its professionals, but also attempts to recruit a diverse enrollment at the local level."

Despite the APTA's ongoing efforts to increase diversity, they currently report that 90.8% of their members are white, 4.2% Asian, 1.9% Hispanic, 1.5% African American, 0.5% American Indian/Alaskan Native and 1.1% other. Physical therapy has traditionally been considered a female field, with 65% of its members female.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has also long recognized that their membership is far too homogenous, with only 13.6% male, 2.5% African American, 1.7% Hispanic, 4.8% Asian/Pacific Islander, and .2% American Indian/Alaskan Native/Hawaiian Native. According to Terry Brown, RD/LD, "The lack of visibility of dietetics to young minority people and the academic disadvantaged is one of the principle reasons for underrepresentation of minorities." She also credits poor rates of cultural diversity among dietitians to contributing factors such as few minority role models, low pay in the profession, lack of access to a dietetics program, discrimination, poor recruitment, lack of knowledge to the field of dietetics, and lack of financial resources for a program.

In an attempt to improve diversity, the ADA has promoted a diversity committee, mentoring contract, action award, promotion grant, resource list, and ADA networking groups, such as the National Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition, the Chinese American Dietetic Association and the Hispanic Dietetic Association.

Jeannette Jordan, a Charleston, S.C.-based registered dietitian and spokesperson for the ADA, serves as a nutrition consultant for the Reach 2010 Project, which is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to decrease disparities in African Americans with diabetes. Jordan believes that lack of knowledge regarding the opportunities that exist in the field, apprehension about acceptance into the profession, the difficulty of being accepted into an internship affect minority participation in the profession of dietetics.

In the mid-1980s, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) began establishing multicultural initiatives that focused on student recruitment from a cross section of the population. "When our profession started in World War I, it was primarily white middle class women who wanted to help soldiers. This captured the hearts of women at the time. Services were provided in private hospitals, in a confined community," says Janie Scott, of the AOTA. With noncompetitive salaries, the profession became a convenient one for suburbanite mothers who wanted to move in and out of their profession.

The AOTA looked at ethnicity in their membership in 2002. Out of 33,003 members, 20% did not list ethnic origin. Of those who did list their ethnicity, 1.9% were African American, .2% American Indian, 3.3% Asian, .3% Asian American, 1.5% Hispanic/Latino/ Latina, .2% Multiracial, .8% other and 71.9% white. With a growing diverse patient base, the AOTA wants to enlist a more diverse membership and boost support groups such as the Black Occupational Therapy Caucus and the Native American Occupational Therapy Group.


Educating the Future

The problem of poor diversity in health care professions has its roots in the higher education system. For many reasons, minorities are not enrolling in allied health programs, as is evidenced in the 10th Report by the Center for Health Workforce Studies, which shows a decline in the number of minorities applying to all health professions education programs.

Despite ardent measures to attract a diverse population, at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock the enrollment is estimated at 8% minority. Yet at Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Houston, enrollment is typically only about 10% white. Since 1949, Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has educated approximately 35% of the nation's black pharmacists. Schools that have been designated as special purpose institutions serving minorities, such as Texas Southern University of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, don't appear to have troubles attracting diverse students in search of allied health careers to campus.

The University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Missouri-Kansas City recognized that they needed to increase the participation of minority students in health professions and put together a groundbreaking package to do something about it. The Health Professions Pipeway Initiative, a multi-institutional, multidisciplinary strategy, hopes to lead the way to greater diversity in health professions.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Disadvantaged Assistance and the University of Kansas Medical Center, this program targets high school seniors and college undergraduates. Offered throughout the year at satellite centers on university campuses, the program hosts many opportunities, such as counseling, field trips, academic enrichment, tutorials, health career clubs and seminars. At no cost to the student, an eight-week Health Science Enrichment Institute Summer Program is provided for disadvantaged or minority students and offers them preparation for admission to a health professions school. The enrichment program focuses on reading, communication, mathematics, biology, chemistry and test-taking skills, which may not be developed in disadvantaged students.

Many other organizations are addressing the health care diversity crisis. The Institute of Medicine has identified strategies to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the nations' health care workforce, which includes modifying admissions practice and criteria, placing greater emphasis on cross-cultural skills and competencies in heath professions training and accreditation procedures, and increasing the number of minority faculty. In South Carolina, the South Carolina Hospital Association and South Carolina Technical College System announced a $476,000 grant through the federal Workforce Investment Act to assist students seeking a career in health care.


Setting Examples

One of the programs shining the brightest light on the path of cultural diversity in health care is the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), which has established goals of increasing the number and quality of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds into health profession schools. By achieving these goals, we might better meet the expanding health care needs of an underserved population while developing a more competitive applicant pool to build diversity into health professions. In 1999, the Bureau of Health Professions awarded 112 HCOP grants for a total of $28.2 million to 59 undergraduate institutions and community colleges, 50 health professional schools and health science centers, and three public and nonprofit organizations. Of these 112 grants, 29 grants were awarded to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The HCOP has made a significant impact on careers. Over the past 20 years, the HCOP has nurtured the entrance and graduation of thousands of minority and disadvantaged students into health professions school. Between 1980-1999, an average of 8,500 students participated in HCOP each year. In addition, thousands of students received counseling or other services.

Now the HCOP focuses on increasing education and social and cultural competence early on in the educational pipeline. Major emphasis is placed on developing partnerships with community-based organizations that promote education and cultural diversity. They reach out to students in lower grade levels to attract more into heath professions.

Often health professional programs admit students in their junior year of college, which may be too late to attract the interest of minority students who are simply underrepresented in college to begin with. Organizations like the AHA have developed a Commission on Workforce for Hospitals and Health Systems, which encourages hospital leaders to build a thriving workforce by reaching out to students in grades K-12 with the help of local colleges and universities.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in conjunction with the Health Professions Partnership Initiative, awarded six grants to increase minority participation in health professions. A requirement of this grant is that efforts focus on middle and high school curricula.


A Question of Class

Chances are, however, that plenty of minority kids will still go to disadvantaged schools that aren't targeted for recruitment or aid, causing them to miss the opportunity to discover careers in health professions. Even the kids that consider an education in a health field may lack the math and science skills, not to mention the financial resources, needed to enter an allied health program.

Michael Castillo, now president of the Latino Midwest Medical Student Association, attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. Castillo reported that at Berkeley the initial enrollment of 180 minority students in his class wound up with only three graduating with a degree.

When talking about the issues of cultural diversity in the health care education setting, Michael Castillo says, "This isn't an issue of color. It has to do with socioeconomic class. The minority students who attend college are from affluent backgrounds; the black child from Beverly Hills doesn't share the same experience as the white person in Harlem."

 Even for college-bound minorities, the allied health professions may not appear glamorous or financially rewarding enough to be worth the cost in sweat and dollars. "There is a hefty cost associated with entering an allied health field. It's much cheaper to become a computer programmer," says Janie Scott of the AOTA.

But the wave of the future may be in the hands of those working the health care beat. Health professionals on the home front can make a difference in diversifying the health care force. As they create opportunities to educate children about their profession, mentor minority children in the community and attend career days at local schools, they can make a difference by boosting the number of minorities entering their profession.

Providing high-quality, sensitive care to all cultures probably speaks the best recommendation to the impressionable patient and their families. It sends the message that these careers offer opportunities for all ethnicities. And the more culturally diverse the health care team becomes, the more role models are sent out into the community. By creating a diverse profession that provides health care services to an equally diverse population across our country, the caregiver opens his or her eyes to the unique values and backgrounds of every patient.

 Соруright © 2012 Springer Publishing Company

Friday, November 23, 2012

American Voters Are Getting All Mixed up

Leighton Woodhouse

Finally, a journalist who gets it! -Susan

American Voters Are Getting All Mixed up

As anybody with a TV, radio or newspaper subscription can affirm, the big story coming out of the 2012 election is the long feared/eagerly awaited arrival of the Latino vote as a national political force capable of deciding a presidential contest. Latinos accounted for a record ten percent of the electorate this year, and something north of 70 percent of them cast their ballots for Obama. Meanwhile, fewer Latinos than ever before voted for the Republican candidate.

With the Latino segment of the electorate poised to continue expanding for many election cycles to come, leaders of both parties are tripping over each other to position themselves on immigration reform, and even in blood red states like Texas, GOP strategists are warning of imminent doom for their party if Republicans fail to break their cycle of addiction to racism, xenophobia and pandering to border-guarding lunatics.

The story is both accurate to a point and incomplete, as conventional wisdom is wont to be. Tavis Smiley, for instance, has highlighted the grating irony of black voters being left out of the punditocracy's post-election anointing of the "new governing coalition," following the second presidential election in a row in which African Americans broke records turning out to support Barack Obama. And when it comes to speculating about long-term electoral prospects, there's another demographic category of Americans that's getting glossed over in this mechanical extrapolation of the present into the future. Interestingly, it's the one that Obama himself belongs to: multiracial Americans.

That's not to say that mixed-race voters were a big electoral force in this election or any other national election in history. Nor is "mixed race" really much of a coherent ethnic identity in the first place (then again, neither arguably is "Latino" or "Asian"). As a demographic category, however, it's going to be a significant factor for both parties to grapple with in future elections. It's simply inevitable: About fifteen percent of new marriages nationally in 2010 were interracial, according to a Pew study published earlier this year. That's more than double the proportion of the 1980s.

Those couples are having kids, and those kids are growing up to become voters. Moreover, according to the study, quaint taboos against interracial coupling are pretty close to completely breaking down, with nearly two-thirds of Americans fine with the idea, so we can expect the phenomenon to continue and accelerate going forward: more multiracial couples, more mixed race kids. And in politics, as they say, demography is destiny.

Among the states in which interracial marriages are above twenty percent are, not surprisingly, deep blue states like California and Hawaii. But some of the most conservative states in the country are also on the 20 percent-plus list, including Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma. Texas and Kansas aren't far behind. Also above average are new and perennial swing states like Colorado, Virgina and Florida. The highest rates of interracial marriage skew west, where three of the four states with the fastest-growing populations in the country are located (or four of the four, depending on whether you consider Texas a Western or a Southern state).

The bottom line is that mixed-race matrimony is a national phenomenon that cuts across the red-blue divide. As the children of those couples come into voting age, there will be more and more Americans in every part of the country who don't fit into the tidy racial boxes that form the basis of the long-term electoral prognostications being offered up by the dozens in the aftermath of Obama's re-election.

Will mixed race voters help the Republicans or the Democrats? That's a murkier question than you might assume, since Pew's data shows sharper differences in terms of income and education between various mixed-marriage demographic sub-groups (the parents of those voters-to-be) than between mixed couples and non-mixed couples as a whole; there's little in the way of a uniform set of characteristics of interracial households to grasp onto.

But it's also the wrong question. The political effect of mixed race voters on future elections will probably be one of obfuscation rather than of party advantage, comparable to the effect of the growing prevalence of independent voters on partisan contests. Multiracial Americans will make simple questions about single issues more complicated, and facile assumptions about voter sympathies more tenuous. Where does a half-Mexican, half-black woman from Texas come down on immigration reform? What does a quarter Chinese, quarter Filipino, half-Jewish male from Florida think about affirmative action? What does either voter think about expanding charter schools, gay marriage, abortion rights, cutting Medicare, or raising taxes on the rich? These questions are difficult enough today, as racial sub-groups become more diversified by class. As the mixed race population of Americans expands and renders ethnic identities less categorical, more subjective, and more abstract, those once-easy categories will lose even more of their value as predictors of political behavior. They may even start to lose some of their personal relevance in the lives of multiracial Americans themselves.

My girlfriend and I are both of mixed racial heritage. I'm half Japanese and half Anglo. She's half Salvadoran and half Jewish. If and when we have children, they'll be a quarter Asian, a quarter Latino and half white, with the white side split WASP/Jewish. When our kids become 18 and fill out their first voter registration forms, the only ethnic category that will make any sense for them to check off is "Multiracial." Today, checking off that box feels pretty close to checking off "Other" or "None of the above" on a questionnaire on any given topic; it's a throwaway category for misfits that has little if any analytical value to the researchers who review the data, but that has to be in there to get the respondent to the next section. When enough Americans start checking off that box, however, it's going to be impossible to ignore -- and difficult to integrate into existing statistical models. Like "Other," "Multiracial" isn't an actual, distinctive population with a common culture and history that you can add into the mix as another subgroup to track; it's just a heuristic catch-all term for everyone who doesn't fit into the conventional taxonomy. Once it becomes statistically meaningful -- perhaps meaningful enough to impact election forecasts -- pollsters and demographers will have to scrap the mechanical models they're working with and start devising more fluid and subjective analytical approaches that reflect the fluidity and subjectivity of increasingly porous ethnic and racial categories.

That's not to suggest that the age of the generation that follows the Millenials will be some sort of post-racial paradise. Countries like Brazil have had broad racially mixed populations for generations; that hasn't lessened their citizens' propensity for bigotry (though it has shaped their racism differently than that of Americans).

However, it is to suggest that the crude schematics political analysts use to lump voters together, make
educated guesses at their preferences, and forecast their behavior will start to butt up against the complicated reality of race in 21st-century American society, and those analysts will have to adapt their models to better fit the lived experience of voters. That might not change the electoral fortunes of either major party, but maybe it will help force our dumbed-down political process to live up to the nuance and complexity of a changing American electorate.

Follow Leighton Woodhouse on Twitter: 
SOURCE: Huff Post

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Why Some Native Americans Can Laugh About Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Project RACE Kids Book Review: The Can Man

My second book review from Lee and Low is The Can Man by Laura E. Williams. I really liked this book. My Mom liked it too, even though it made her cry a little. 
The story is about a multiracial boy named Tim who looks about my age and a homeless man who collects cans in Tim’s neighborhood. Everyone calls the man “the can man”. But Tim’s parents know his real name because he used to live in their building. This made me think about the big storm we just had in New Jersey. Sandy was our worst storm in more than 100 years. Lots of people in my town and teachers from my school are homeless because of the storm. 
Reading this story and thinking about people I know who lost their houses makes me think about homeless people. They are just like everyone else.
Another thing I like about the story is that Tim is multiracial but they don’t make a big deal about it. You can see that he has a black dad and an Asian mom from the illustrations by Craig Orback. But the story doesn’t even mention it. I think it's because it’s not important what race he is. That is not what makes him Tim. The author knows about that because she was born in South Korea and adopted by an American family. It’s nice having a multiracial character when the story isn’t about being multiracial. 
This is also a great book for Thanksgiving time. It’s about learning to be thankful for what we have and to help others who have less. With the super storm happening and Thanksgiving coming this is a perfect time for kids to read this book. 

Karson says the best part of evacuating for Superstorm Sandy was trick or treating with his cousins.
-Karson Baldwin, President, Project RACE Kids

Monday, November 19, 2012

College Apps Force Multiracial Teens to Color Outside Lines

By Steffie Drucker and Josh Kalamotousakis Kennedy

The college process is filled with questions. First, students must ask themselves what type of school they want to attend and narrow down schools to only a short list of places to apply. The process can be confusing enough since schools ask for different essays, transcripts or letters of recommendation.
Unfortunately, there’s one question students are asked that should be simple to answer but isn’t always: to identify their race and ethnicity.

For some students, identifying themselves is hard because they don’t fit into a single box. And they’re not alone—according to 2010 census data, more than 9 million people in the U.S. identify themselves as being two or more races, up from about 6.8 million in 2000.

Matthew Ibrahim, a senior at Niles North who considers himself Assyrian because his family’s roots are in the Middle East, falls into this category.

“I don’t feel like I fit into a box,” he says. Ibrahim usually checks white since that’s his skin color or Asian since the Middle East is technically in Asia. But, he says, “It makes me feel dishonest.”

Though there’s an option to identify himself as “other,” Ibrahim never chooses that box. “I feel like it’s a slam against myself, like saying, ‘I don’t know what I am, so you can guess,’ ” he says. “It feeds the notion that Assyrians don’t exist and don’t need their own box.”

While some students feel there’s no box that accurately describes how they identify themselves, others say they have too many boxes that might identify them and don’t know which one to pick. On many college applications, there isn’t a box that says “multicultural,” leaving students to feel like they have to take sides to fit a narrow definition of who they really are.

Sally Rubenstone, a former college admissions officer, author of “Panicked Parents Guide to College Admissions” and a senior advisor at the college process advice site, sympathizes with multiracial students who say they’re torn between checking different boxes. “Kids are becoming more and more mixed,” she says. “Not everyone identifies with one race or another.”
Kennedy senior John Gonzalez, who identifies himself as Mexican and white, feels that being multiracial is to his advantage since each race has its perks. “I know that if I put down Mexican, I’ll have a better chance getting into some schools than if I would say I’m (only) white.”

Rubenstone does believe that being multiracial has its advantages—though not for the same reason as Gonzalez. “Colleges like (the diversity brought by mixed race and ethnicity students) because they can get a Puerto Rican kid and a Greek kid in one student,” she says. “It makes the student (body) a bit more interesting.”

While being multiracial or multicultural can lend itself to a broader perspective of the world around a student, it sometimes can also be associated with negative stereotypes that make students feel like they have less options instead of more.

Naperville Central senior Gabriel Carrier says his situation is complicated by stereotypes associated with one of his “halves.” Part French and part Chinese, Carrier is applying to mainly Ivy League schools and has felt the pressure more than others because he’s part Asian. Though he identified on applications as Asian for his “safety schools,” for more rigorous universities he has been identifying as Caucasian since he believes there are “slightly lower expectations across the board” for Caucasians.

Rubenstone agrees. “There is discrimination against Asians—particularly Koreans, Indians and Chinese,” she says. “Ivy League colleges could fill a whole class with qualified Asian students … but colleges want to maintain diversity.”

Rather than choosing not to identify his race or choosing “other,” Carrier leans toward marking Caucasian on his applications, but Rubenstone warns against this because it’s not always a foolproof method for highlighting the side you want to show.

“Admissions folks can usually sniff out who (is Asian) based on their name, their parents’ names or where their parents went to school,” she says. “When a student is clearly Asian based on other information in the application and yet the student has skipped the race question, perhaps on a subliminal level the admissions person is thinking, ‘This person isn’t proud of who they are.’ It can make them seem a tad duplicitous.”

Carrier, whose father went to college in Canada and whose mother didn’t attend college and uses her Chinese maiden name, says his parents told him to put down whatever race helped his chances. “I’m not technically lying to colleges,” he says of checking off the Caucasian box. “That’s just the side I want to present more.”

No matter a student’s situation, identifying oneself is ultimately up to the individual. “I’m still a believer in ‘honesty is the best policy,’ ” Rubenstone says. “I’m a big believer in kids being who they are. When it comes to one’s racial or ethnic background, you should pick the group that you honestly feel you belong to.”



10 most common race combinations in the U.S. for the more than 9 million people who identify as being two or more races
1. White + Black or African American 20.4%
2. White + Some other race 19.3%
3. White + Asian 18%
4. White + American Indian and Alaska Native 15.9%
5. Black or African American + Some other race 3.5%
6. Black or African American + American Indian and Alaska Native 3%
7. Asian + Some other race 2.6%
8. Black or African American + Asian 2.1%
9. White + Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1.9%
10. Asian + Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1.8%
Source: 2010 U.S. Census data

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Charlie Webster: Sorry for 'black people' claim

By: Kevin Robillard
November 16, 2012 07:52 AM EST

Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster has apologized for alleging widespread voter
fraud by mysterious groups of black people in rural parts of the state.

“It was my intention to talk not about race but about perceived voting irregularities,” Webster said in a statement, according to the Portland Press Herald. “However, my comments were made without proof of wrongdoing, and they had the unintended consequence of casting aspersions on an entire group of Americans. For that, I am
truly sorry.”

Earlier this week, Webster told a local television station that “In some parts of rural
Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anyone who’s black.”

Maine’s Democratic Party chairman called the comments “racist,” and the state’s
NAACP chapters called them “offensive and insulting.”

Webster, a longtime opponent of same-day voter registration, said he was going to investigate the alleged fraud by sending thank-you notes to voters who registered on Election Day. If the notes were returned, he would know the addresses were falsified.
In his statement Thursday, he said he was dropping the plan to investigate.

Webster’s apology amounted to a sudden reversal. As late as Thursday afternoon,
he was still defending his comments in an interview with Talking Points Memo.

“There’s nothing about me that would be discriminatory,” he said. “I know black
people. I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy. He’s a great friend of mine. Nobody would ever accuse me of suggesting anything.”

But Webster had started taking criticism from members of his own party. Lance
Dutson, a Maine Republican operative who has previously worked for Sen. Susan
Collins, called for the chairman’s resignation.

“Webster’s statements should be cause for immediate resignation,” Dutson wrote on Twitter. “Any GOP who values future of the party should demand the same.”

Webster’s term as state chairman ends Dec. 1. He has said he is not running for reelection.

Source:  © 2012 POLITICO LLC

Friday, November 16, 2012

American Householders are Getting Older, Census Bureau Reports

On September 9th of this year, National Grandparents Day, Project RACE launched a new division of our organization for the many proud grandparents of multiracial children. Yesterday, as we named the President of Project RACE Grandparents, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that nearly 1 in 10 children live with a grandparent. - Kelly


 The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the percentage of households headed by older adults has grown significantly over the last half century. The share of householders age 75 and older grew from 6 percent in 1960 to 10 percent in 2012.

In 1960, 32 percent of all households in the country were headed by 30- to 44-year-olds. However, by 2012, the percentage of these households had fallen to 26 percent, after peaking at 34 percent in 1990. The share of households headed by older adults expanded as the number of 45- to 64-year-old householders shrank in the 1980s and 1990s but began growing again in 2000. These households now make up 39 percent of households in 2012.

These statistics come from America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, a series of tables from the 2012 Current Population Survey. The tables provide a look at the socio-economic characteristics of families and households at the national level. A series of 13 graphs showing historical trends are also available with these estimates.

“These changes are related to baby boomers, that large segment of the American population born between 1946 and 1964,” said Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch. “As they moved through young adulthood to middle age, and now into older adulthood, we can see an accordion-like effect on the age groups as they expand and shrink.”

A large proportion of older householders live alone. In 2012, more than half of householders 75 and older lived alone, compared with almost a quarter of householders under age 30.  The largest concentration of households with five or more people was among the 30 to 44 age group. These householders were likely to be living with their children who were younger than 18.

Other highlights:

  •     The median age at first marriage in 2012 was 28.6 for men and 26.6 for women.
  •     The share of all U.S. households headed by a white non-Hispanic adult fell to about two-thirds (69 percent) in 2012, down from three-quarters (75 percent) in 2000.
  •     The share of households headed by 55- to 64-year-olds rose over the last two decades, from 13 percent in 1990 to 19 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, the share headed by adults who were younger than 30 fell from 16 percent to 13 percent.
  •     The percentage of children in 2012 living with two parents, regardless of their marital status, differs by race and Hispanic origin. Eighty-five percent of single-race Asian children lived with two parents compared with 77 percent of single-race white non-Hispanic children, 66 percent of Hispanic children and 38 percent of single-race black children.
  •     Of the 73.8 million children in the United States in 2012, approximately 7.1 million (9.7 percent) lived with a grandparent.

The latest Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey was conducted in February, March and April of 2012 for a nationwide sample of about 100,000 addresses. Statistics from surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For more information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, see Appendix G at <>.

 Source:                            US Census Bureau

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Project RACE Grandparents!

We are delighted to introduce our membership to Freda Brown, President of our newest division, Project RACE Grandparents! “I am excited to become a part of the great work that Project RACE is doing on behalf of multiracial people,” Freda said.  “I am richly blessed to have three very talented, beautiful and kind multiracial grandchildren and am proud of their heritage and thankful for their individuality.” 
Freda lives in New Hope, Minnesota and actually enjoys the cold weather there. In addition to multiracial advocacy, her interests include arts and crafts, reading, and nature walks. She also loves playing computer games, which helps make her a pretty fun Grandma. But her favorite pastime is visiting her grandkids… naturally!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ethnic Studies Could Return

Ethnic Studies Could Return to Tucson in Desegregation Plan

Mexican-American studies is poised for a comeback in Tucson. After a years-long, tumultuous fight that came to a head earlier this year when local school officials pulled the plug on the program, a leading civil rights group today announced that the ethnic studies courses will not only return to the school district, but could be expanded.

This turn of events stems from a much broader plan to settle a nearly four-decades-old desegregation lawsuit against Tucson Unified that must still be approved by the federal judge overseeing the case. The lawsuit involves both plaintiffs who are Latino and African American. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, which represents Latino students, along with representatives of African-American students who are also plaintiffs in the suit, joined the Tucson school district and the U.S. Department of Justice in filing the desegregation plan.

A court-appointed special master, Willis Hawley, oversaw the plan's development. This is the second time in the lawsuit's history that a final settlement has been attempted. An earlier effort was appealed by the plaintiffs.

The new plan—intended to bring "unitary status" to Tucson Unified—involves numerous, highly prescribed components related to student assignment, transportation, enhancing the racial and ethnic diversity of its workforce, access to rigorous curriculum and programs, family and community engagement, dropout prevention, and discipline practices.

In a call with reporters on Monday, MALDEF lawyer Nancy Ramirez particularly highlighted the plan's restoration of the popular, yet politically charged Mexican-American studies program. In the draft settlement, the district would not only bring the program back to its high schools, but it would have to expand the course offerings to middle schools by 2014 and propose plans to bring "culturally relevant curricula" to students in the earlier grades.

"This is a critical strategy for closing the achievement gap for Latino students," Ms. Ramirez said.

It was not even a year ago that the Tucson school board shuttered the popular Mexican-American studies program because they argued it was their only choice to avoid losing nearly $15 million in state funding for the 60,000-student district. Arizona's state schools chief, John Huppenthal, had threatened to withhold the funds because he said the courses violated a new state law that prohibits public schools from offering courses that are designed for a particular ethnic group, advocate ethnic solidarity, or promote resentment toward a race or group of people.

Tom Horne, the Arizona attorney general—a former state schools chief and one of the most vocal opponents to Tucson's Mexican-American studies program—has until later this month to formally object to the plan.

Also Monday, researchers at the University of Arizona released a new study that found a "consistent and positive" relationship between students' participation in the Mexican-American studies program and his or her academic performance. The study was done at the request of the court's special master.